Hindu BusinessLine carried this interview of mine on online classifieds market. Online classifieds remains perhaps that most rewarding space thus far in the internet domain from an investment standpoint, on M&A (carwale, jobsahead), IPO (naukri, justdial) as well as continued companies getting to scale (matrimony, property, food). Surprisingly, it has not generated equivalent entrepreneurial interest, especially as some of the disruptions around location and mobility create new opportunities.

We have also been seeing a distinct evolution in classified products, around the following elements:

  • Quality of content – Traditionally, classified businesses have relied on the sellers putting up the content, without much support for authenticity of information. New classified businesses are innovating to improve quality of content
    – (a la Cartrade) – by building automation around content generation, through connectivity with ERP systems
    – (a la Zomato, Indiaproperty) – by making the content richer, including maps and audio visual content
    – (a la Bharatmatrimony) – by verifying 100% of the listings
  • Relevance of content – Traditionally, classified business have relied on search as a method of generating relevance of results. New classified businesses are using social graphs to
    – increase relevance by leveraging the social graph (a la Shine, Tripadvisor)
    – augment content from social graph to make content richer and relevant (a la Bharatmatrimony)
  • Actionability – Traditionally, users are left to their own device as far as responding to ads is concerned. New classified businesses are enabling immediate and always-on connect (a la justdial mobile/ premium)

Perhaps an area for entrepreneurs to dig in more purposefully.

Alok Mittal

Alok is a first generation entrepreneur, now in the venture capital business. Alok heads up venture operations for Canaan Partners in India, with focus on internet, technology and BPO space. Alok is also a founding member of Indian Angel Network - an organization comprising successful entrepreneurs looking to invest in seed stage businesses. Prior to this, Alok cofounded JobsAhead.com, a leading job portal which was acquired by Monster.com. Alok is an active charter member of TiE Delhi. Alok is a computer science graduate from IIT Delhi and, postgraduate from UC, Berkeley.

The views expressed on this site are personal views of Alok, and do not constitute an offical opinion of any company or organization.

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