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The success story of B2B Startup: Udaan
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Udaan is one of the uprising startup companies gradually gaining popularity with business owners and merchants. This article explains how the company started and its impact currently.

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Index

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Udaan?
  3. The founders and Origin of the company:
  4. Funding
  5. Business Model of Udaan
  6. Competitors of Udaan
  7. Effect of the pandemic on Udaan

 

Introduction

Udaan is a three-year-old startup company and continuously on the rise in terms of popularity and size. 

Udaan was started by three ex-Flipkart employees Vaibhav, Amod, and Sujeet. As expected, the website and platform of Udaan became immensely popular with all the traders and people in the business.

This shows that all three founders dedicated time and hard work towards Udaan. 

These three founders had one goal in mind, to create a platform or a product that revolutionized the business industry and helped all the small-time merchants. This platform gave freedom to a large number of people. 

 

What is Udaan? 

Udaan (1) is a platform that targets the back-end of a market. This is the part or process that takes place behind the scenes in an exchange or an e-commerce website. 

For example, a customer accessing Flipkart and purchasing an item can just see the order and its shipment. But, behind all this, a vast process is involved. The merchant offering or selling that product has to go collect the product and deliver it to a Flipkart storehouse. This is just a part of it. Hence, Udaan tried to make this process more comfortable and even succeeded at it. 

A large, disorganized and fragmented market gives rise to a disruption in the business industry. 

Now, Udaan created while keeping one thing in mind; to make the difficult and complicated parts of trading simple, safe, and convenient. 

Business to Business(B2B) commerce is now on the rise. When managed efficiently in terms of logistics, sales, and marketing, this industry might even reach or has the potential to become a $1 Trillion industry in the coming years. 

Note: According to a report or statement released by Walmart, Indian’s B2B commerce industry has the potential to grow to $700 Billion in the next five years. 

Hence, Udaan is a B2B trade platform that gathers and brings all the manufacturers, traders, wholesalers, and retailers to a single platform. This makes the whole B2B process a whole lot easier in India. Now, all the manufacturers can present their product on this platform, and interested traders have the freedom to select and buy it. Retailers and wholesalers also have the same freedom to advertise and buy a product. 

Udaan features a wide range of products like electronics, home and kitchen supplies, stationery, toys, and even fruits, vegetables, and other cooking items. 

Currently, Udaan has raised more than half a billion dollars in a new financing round. This is because even all the Kirana(groceries) stores and chemists started registering for the platform. 

Udaan also offers a credit system or credit line for its users. This means that even the sellers can avail it. 

According to Vaibhav Gupta, one of the co-founder, this helps all the small and micro businesses and its owners nation-wide.

As of 2020, a wide range of farmers, merchants, and shopkeeper owners are connected to Udaan. Now, the platform supports half of the merchants in the country and has set up a chain network all across the nation to fulfill the orders on its platform. 

According to another co-founder, Sujith Kumar, the startup is planning to use the fresh and flowing capital to expand its supply network and reach out to more merchants and retailers. 

Besides this, Udaan is also planning to scale up UdaanCapital. 

 

The Founders:

Udaan founders - Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar and Vaibhav Gupta
Udaan founders – Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar and Vaibhav Gupta

As mentioned above, Sujith Kumar worked at Flipkart before launching Udaan. 

Sujith Kumar mentioned that he tried hard to pass the UPSC exam multiple times. Hence, after that, he moved to the IT Capital of India, Bangalore. Here, he started working for the E-commerce giant Flipkart. 

According to Sujith, starting, and building a company from scratch was a huge challenge. The latter almost gave up on Udaan many times. Other founders, Vaibhav Gupta and Amod Malviya, also expressed their difficulties while building this website. 

But, as soon as the platform launched, exponential growth was seen, and the capital started to flow in. This further proves that Udaan had and still has great potential. 

The business to the Business problem had to be solved from the supply chain angle. As the internet and other online websites weren’t as common as now, not many merchants and dealers subscribed and registered to Udaan. But, the platform gained more users gradually. Now, even the merchants and dealers residing in villages have this app. The only other social platform required for this is WhatsApp. This is because the sellers and buyers need to communicate, and WhatsApp is the best way. 

Sujith Kumar explained the difference between Business to Business and Business to Customer (B2C) transactions. In a B2C sale, the main thing is the price of the products and their effects. But, in a B2B deal, something like supply chain, handling cash and solving catalog problems also matter. 

How the founders overcame many hurdles? 

The Udaan co-founder explained how they overcame a pile of problems and set the stage for this Bengaluru-based B2B transaction platform. According to one of the co-founders, this period was the toughest to handle and required a lot of patience. In 2016, the co-founders just observed and analyzed the business market for six months. After this, they reached out to many merchants, retailers, and manufacturers to discuss terms and negotiate. After a year, in 2017, the platform’s beta version was launched and made available for the public. 

 

Funding:

Soon after the platform was made public, Udaan raised funding of approximately $600 million led by companies like Tencent, Altimeter, Hillhouse, Citi Ventures, and GGV Capital. 

Currently, Udaan’s valuation is approximately $2.5 billion. After 2017, the company raised roughly a billion dollars. 

As mentioned above, the co-founder said these fundraisers should be directed towards expanding the platform’s reach and expanding its chain to reach more merchants and customers. 

Udaan achieved the coveted unicorn status in September last year. This is one of the few startups to cross a private valuation of one billion dollars soon after it was launched.

The Revenue model of Udaan

The revenue model of this startup company given in detail:

  • The primary revenue model of Udaan is through commission fees on transactions made by the merchants. It also charges for logistics. 
  • As known, financing working capital is extremely difficult for end retailers. This ends in them borrowing from local lenders whose interest rates are out of the world. 
  • This is where Udaan comes into play; the platform intends to be a working capital ‘loan’ for them. And the best part is, the interest rates are very reasonable. 
  • By following this scheme, Udaan’s loan book is filled, and the platform has approximately given out 170 to 200 crores as loans. They intend to take this up to 750 crores by the end of this fiscal year. 
  • Udaan is now gaining popularity in the B2B businesses, as none of the startups made this far into the market. 

The B2B marketplace segment counts platforms such as IndiaMart, ShopX, and many more. But, Udaan has successfully made a dent in the business sector and can end up becoming one of the largest companies in the B2B industry. 

 

Udaan’s ranking through the valuation report:

As mentioned above, this is one of the most successful startups in India. This Bengaluru-based firm is valued at $7.5 billion as if 2020. This makes it the fourth-most valued startup in India. The list of the four most valuable companies is given below. 

  • Paytm- $16 Billion 
  • OYO – $10 billion 
  • Byju’s – $8 billion 
  • Udaan – $7.5 billion 

But, according to a report, it is estimated that Udaan will reduce its losses to ₹375 crores in the Financial Year of 2021. Hence, this registers a profit before tax of Rs. 3,082 crore in the Financial Year of 2022.

It is reported that Udaan has given valuation by estimating cash flows and values of the next nine fiscal years. 

 

Udaan funding in terms of series:

  • Series A: The initial or Series A funding was initiated in November of 2016. The total amount raised was approximately ten million dollars. As predicted, the post-money valuation was about forty million dollars. The initial or series A investors of Udaan are Lightspeed Venture Partners.
  • Series B: After the success of the initial Series A investing, many companies started funding this startup. Udaan began to the Series B funding in February 2018. The total amount raised by a Udaan was approximately fifty million dollars. The post-money valuation was impeccable as it reached about 200 million dollars. This was the breakeven point of Udaan as they saw profits at a marginal rate. The series B funds were invested by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Yuri Miner, and Lightspeed India Partners.
  • Series C: The series C or the third round of funding took place in October 2019. By this time, the startup was hugely successful and accessible to business transactions and markets within the business. Hence, the number of investors went down. The total amount raised or invested in the Series C funding of Udaan is approximately 225 million dollars. The post-money valuation resulted in nearly one billion dollars. This was a record, and Udaan came to be known as one of India’s most successful startups. Lightspeed Venture Partners and DST Global invested the series C funding.
  • Series D: The series D funding round took place last year, that is, October of 2019. The total amount raised through Series D funding was approximately 600 million dollars. The post-money valuation hit the roof as the full money raised through post-money appraisal was about 2.7 billion dollars. This round saw many investors like GGV Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, Citi Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Tencent Holdings, Hillhouse, and Footpath Ventures.
  • Unattributed round: The unattributed round took place in March 2020. The amount raised approximately thirty million dollars and invested by Trust root Internet.

 

Competitors of Udaan:

Even though Udaan became a successful startup company in India. Many other companies also focus on B2B transactions and the B2B industry. Some of the competitors of Udaan are given below. 

  • Bizongo: Bizongo is a Business to Business e-commerce venture that packages products sold online. Bizongo also customizes the products and even has its own delivery services.
  • Priceza: Priceza is a popular shopping search engine and comparison platform. This gives a massive competition to Udaan as many merchants, retailers, and customers use this platform to compare and buy products. This company was started in 2010 and is headquartered in Bangkok.
  • Olist: Olist is a company that provides an online e-commerce site aggregation platform services designed to encourage and support direct sales on large e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Flipkart. Just as Udaan, this startup went public in 2015. Olist is headquartered in the IT capital of India, Bengaluru.
  • Ralali: Ralali is a retailer and supplier of industry requirements through an online platform. Merchants and industry managers or owners can buy the products through the Ralali site.

 

Effect of the pandemic on Udaan

Many workers and employees faced a tight situation as the epidemic took over the world. Even well-known companies started firing employees as they couldn’t afford to pay them. The most hit sector was the IT sector. Many startup companies hit rock bottom during the last three to four months. Many startups shut down their business and permanently closed the company due to the exponential losses due to Coronavirus. One of the startups which faced a tough time was Udaan. 

Udaan fired several of its employees who were working on a contractual basis for this company. 

According to the co-founders of Udaan, all the employees who were fired were provided with additional compensation of one month and would be taken back by the company when an opportunity comes up. 

The company also wrote a positive recommendation letter for all the fired employees to make it easier for them to find a new and better job. 

Fortunately, the associates who are covered under the medical insurance scheme shall be given medical benefits for an additional period of three months. 

Currently, the company’s non-essential business sector is wholly closed because of the lockdown. This sector is about to open soon as the lockdown restrictions are easing gradually. 

 

As mentioned above, the business to business market is currently on the rise and is expected to be worth approximately a Trillion dollars by the next two years. Hence, the co-founders of Udaan did the right job at the right time by starting a B2B retail startup company. Currently, Udaan is gaining popularity as most of the merchants and retailers use this platform to buy and sell. Even though after the impact of Coronavirus would be seen, the company is estimated to reach a ten billion dollars hit in the next two years. 

All the merchants and retailers are now switching to an online mode. Udaan enables a direct connection between buyers and sellers and allows one-on-one conversations to enable negotiations between the transacting parties. This personal chat feature is encrypted and very secure. 

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Pratap is an avid reader and he wishes to give back the community something in return. He is currently pursuing Engineering in the field of Computer Science in Bengaluru. He has a genuine passion for writing and spreading it to everyone. He has a thirst for knowledge and always seeking it out and aiming to be a better version of himself.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article have been curated for our audience and does not warrant a 100% accuracy. All the information mentioned in the article is subject to change according to the changing viewpoints. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] for any change or copyright issues.

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Pratap Simha
Pratap Simha
Pratap is an avid reader and he wishes to give back the community something in return. He is currently pursuing Engineering in the field of Computer Science in Bengaluru. He has a genuine passion for writing and spreading it to everyone. He has a thirst for knowledge and always seeking it out and aiming to be a better version of himself.

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