Update: An ET report said that Quikr’s valuation was closer to $993 million, instead of $885 million. The discrepancy is because of the change in the Swedish Korna- USD exchange rate. A previous version of this article also said that Quikr’s revenue, including its subsidiaries, was Rs. 64 crore. Quikr clarified that the revenue figure doesn’t include revenue from Quikr’s subsidiaries. The copy has been updated to reflect this.
The unicorn status for a startup is usually a sign of having “made it”, but like most other things in entrepreneurship, it can be fleeting.
Quikr’s valuation has been marked down by 12% by one of its chief investors AB Kinnevik, which owns 18% of the company. As per a report in Mint, AB Kinnevik had valued its shares in Quikr at $180 million in December 2016, but assessed that they were worth only $159.2 million in December 2017. This means that, notionally, Quikr is now valued at $885 million, and is no longer a unicorn.
Quikr had become a unicorn in 2015 after it had raised money at a valuation greater than $1 billion (Rs. 6,500 crore). At the beginning of 2015, Quikr had been valued at just around $300 million, but had seen its valuation jump when it had raised another $150 million from Kinnevik AB and Tiger Global in April that year. To date, Quikr has raised $430 million from investors.
Apart from growing its original classifieds business, Quikr had used its funding to enter into several other verticals, including everything from Quikr Jobs to Quikr Homes, to something called Quikr Learner, which is meant to help people finding the college that’s right for them. Quikr had also emerged as one of the most prolific acquires in the Indian startup space — in the real estate vertical, it’s acquired CommonFloor, Grabhouse, and most recently, HDFC Realty; in the jobs space, it’s acquired Babajob and Hiree, and it’s also hired home services company Zimmber, beauty services startup Stayglad, and vehicle maintenance startup Stepni.
The trouble is that Quikr doesn’t seem to make much money — Quikr only made a revenue of Rs. 64 crore last year. It didn’t reveal its losses last year, but they were likely to have been significant — Quikr’s losses were Rs. 534 crore in FY16. With the company still losing nearly 9 rupees for every rupee it earns — it had the same loss-to-revenue ratio in 2015 — it’s not surprising that investors feel that its growth trajectory isn’t going according to plan.
And this is a story that’s been played out before in India’s unicorn club. At its peak, Snapdeal was valued at $6.5 billion, but after it was unable to contain its ballooning losses, investors balked at putting any more money into it, and during the negotiations for its sale to Flipkart last year, it was valued at just $1 billion. Quikr’s fall in valuation isn’t as dramatic, but it would do well to be careful — it might be acquiring users in the many verticals it operates in, but unless it starts earning some money, it might find that its investors aren’t being as generous as they were before.