B2B e-commerce companies in India have been growing at a rapid clip in the past three to four years. Unlike consumer internet counterparts which are soaking in losses, many B2B firms have been profitable, thanks to a clearer fit with market requirements.
For instance, SoftBank-backed OfBusiness’ scale went past Rs 7,000 crore in FY22 with Rs 201 crore in profit. Another player, Infra.Market’s profit also surged 6X with a topline of over Rs 6,200 crore.
Singapore-based industrial goods marketplace Moglix also grew at a similar pace in FY22 and its scale surged 2.9X. Its gross revenue flew to $306.9 million (around Rs 2,400 crore) in the last fiscal year from $105.2 million in FY21, according to the firm’s annual financial statements in Singapore.
Moglix provides B2B procurement of industrial supplies such as MRO, safety, electricals, lighting, cleaning & housekeeping, office stationery, power tools, and other industry essentials. Revenue from these verticals accounted for 99% of the total collection which shot up 2.9X to $303.08 million in the fiscal year ending March 2022.
The commission on online sales, support services, and information technology were other revenue drivers which collectively increased 84.5% to $3.82 million in FY22 from $2.07 million in FY21.
On the expense side, the cost of procurement of industry supplies formed 87.38% of the overall cost. In line with revenue growth, this cost ramped up 2.94X to $286.5 million in FY22 from $97.3 million in FY21.
Administrative expenses of the company which also include employee benefit expenses surged 81.3% to $26.1 million in FY22 while advertisement and selling expenses shot up by 2.83X to $9.4 million.
In the end, its overall cost jumped 2.8X to $327.9 million (around Rs 2,500 crore) in FY22.
Despite its 2.9X jump in scale in FY22, Moglix has managed to limit the surge in losses to 88.1% at $21.03 million (around Rs 160 crore) in FY22 from $11.18 million in FY21. On the ratios side, ROCE and EBITDA margin improved to -5.8% and -5.59%. On a unit level, Moglix spent Rs 1.07 to earn a rupee in FY22.
In January this year, Moglix raised a $250 million Series F round led by Alpha Wave, Tiger Global, and Ward Ferry Management at $2.6 billion. The company competes with OfBusiness, Infra.Market, Zetwerk, and Zilingo among others. While we covered OfBusiness and Infra.Market’s financial numbers in the beginning of the story, Zetwerk’s scale also neared Rs 5,200 crore during the same period.
With time, what is clearly emerging among these startups is strength in different market segments. Be it construction for some like Infra.Market, or durables for others, or even food commodities in other cases. With margins usually tight, the hunt is always to find profitable niches like funding support, sourcing advantages, or better logistics on ground can give an edge to the firm in the form of better margins.
In the case of Moglix, the firm has gone with perhaps the most ‘retail-focused offering for industrial tools, safety equipment, and more, allowing even single items of a variety of products to be brought directly from the platform. By getting on board relatively unknown or smaller brands, it possibly enhances its margins on such sales. But the approach will also require a higher advertising push, which will need to be balanced with the whole premise behind the idea of targeting smaller orders at scale for better margins.