Kijiji India, the Indian site for Ebay Inc’s general classifieds business, will now be jointly owned by by the company and VC fund Matrix Partners, as per a release. The terms of agreement and details of the deal have not been disclosed, but suffice to say that Matrix is looking at Kijiji India as an early stage investment. The Avnish Bajaj connection is obvious – he’s the MD of Matrix Partners, and had sold Bazee.com to Ebay Inc. Bazee.com is now Ebay India. Bajaj says that the investment in Kijiji will be used to scale up its offerings, but I wonder why Ebay sold stake in Kijiji India.
Like most generic classifieds sites, Kijiji has been off our radar, and it’s been observed that the specialized classifieds sites are the way to go in India – there are separate sites for jobs listings, automobiles, matrimonials, real estate, among others. So the investment in Kijiji comes as quite a surprise…There are other general classifieds sites in India – Times Internet (Indiatimes) has ‘Yo List’, Consim (Bharatmatrimony) has Indialist, Sulekha has yellow pages, and Infomedia (recently acquired by Network18) has Hotfrog.in. Craigslist has an Indian section too.
Update: Deepa Thomas, spokesperson for Ebay India, told ContentSutra that Kijiji India was a small team earlier, sharing cross-functional resources from Ebay. Now they’ll be looking at scaling up. Ebay took a strategic call on funding – in APAC, they’ve decided to partner to grow, and Matrix comes in as an independent partner. Kijiji currently gets revenue from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) text-ads, and Thomas did not want to divulge how they intend to make money. Avnish Bajaj of Matrix Partners told Contentsutra that no one’s got the C2C classifieds segment right – there’s not been enough promotion of C2C classifieds so far, and that’s the opportunity for them. Kijiji will be building a management team.