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Panel Discussion on E Commerce

17 August 2009 21 Comments

The following are the panelists for the Panel D

KV: Kashyap Vadapalli, Director – Marketing & Ops, eBay India
Kashyap Vadapalli, is Director – Marketing & Operations at eBay India. In this role, he is responsible for leading teams that drive all the buy-side business channels at eBay India. A member of eBay’s International Marketing Leadership team, Kashyap is responsible for building the eBay India Brand, Pop Culture, Customer Acquisition, Engagement and Retention as well as PaisaPay. Prior to joining eBay India, Kashyap was at Google India where he led account teams responsible for revenue generation from US advertisers. Before Google, he was at Tata Interactive Systems – where he handled multiple roles, including – Head  – Marketing, Corporate Line of Business and Director – Sales & Business Development, USA.  Kashyap started his career with Cadbury India – he worked as a Sales Manager initially and then as Brand Manager. Kashyap is an electronics engineer from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and an MBA from IIM-Calcutta.

SS: Sarayu Srinivasan – Director – Intel Capital
Sarayu joined Intel Capital in 2006. Prior to Intel, she founded a technology consultancy focused on strategy, tech transfer, commercialization and valuation acceleration projects for early and growth stage science, technology & consumer businesses. Before her consultancy, Sarayu headed marketing for uReach Technologies, a converged communications service provider. Prior to uReach, Sarayu was a brand manager at the Pepsi-Cola company where she ran a $300MM business. Earlier, Sarayu conducted research at the Harvard Business School in the areas of Valuation, Finance, and Competition & Strategy. She authored case studies and papers, and contributed to the award winning textbook Business Analysis & Valuation Using Financial Statements. Sarayu also worked for Satyam Computers in India and the U.S. Sarayu serves on Intel India’s Social Entrepreneurship/CSR steering management committee. Outside of Intel, she serves on the Boards of Young Inventors International, Milldam Public Affairs, and the Advisory Board of Questionbox. As an analyst and author, she has published a range of academic and practitioner’s literature on business issues. Sarayu earned a BA in Architecture from Barnard College/Columbia University, an MBA from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees and held a research fellowship at Harvard Business School.

GB: Gautam Balijepalli, Principal – Ojas Ventures
Gautam has more than 12 years of experience in the technology sector in venture investing, business development and software development. Prior to Ojas, he was with the venture capital team at Nomura, Japan’s largest investment bank, based in London. During his time at Nomura, he has syndicated investments of around $60m. He led and managed investments in Compellent, Revivio (Symantec) and NetForensics, as part of a team. Prior to Nomura, he gained experience in Business Development at Sun Microsystems and had significant senior management exposure while working on marketing initiatives for Sun’s software products. Gautam has experience in creating sales & marketing strategies targeted at CIOs as well as consulting to them on strategic IT initiatives. He has also held roles in consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers (IBM) and software development at Infosys. Gautam has a Bachelor’s degree in Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and an MBA from London Business School.

RD: Rajiv Dingra – Founder & CEO of WAT Media Pvt Ltd.

The Transcript was prepared by Sadanand (Saddy)

RD: What are the panelist what opportunities in digital commerce?
KV: I’d like to put opportunities in the context of the broader internet environment. Total internet users = 50-80 m. Daily users = 40 m. broadband penetration increasing – single digits to close to 20%. All increasing numbers = opportunities in e-commerce in exchange of products goods and services. Product searches = people searching online = close to 90% of online people. This opens up various opportunities. Specific opportunities – time right for people with a unique idea or provide service digitally- right time. Offline retailers with user base to get online given behavior of people. Using their own site or ebay kind of thing. Opportunities in kinds of payments. Number of people on the internet is one tenth that of mobile. Transfer e-commerce to m-commerce scales business ten times. For digital commerce to be-commerce complete online and offline – logistics. Development in that also there is scope and is up for grabs.

SARAYU: Intel capital – VC arm of Intel 1998. They have made 60 investments here – Sharekhan, Subex etc. 51 mil 9 invests – Indiamart, Yatra etc. There are a lot of inefficiencies and opportunities to exploit in India. Driver with 2 cells chatting. Awareness at lowest level. Pay bills in queues and records on papers. Lot of things to solve using mobile example rural supply chain farmer etc. This is good news for India = opportunities. Bad news infrastructure, regulations. Computing and communication. Something that will make money with usage of technology. Indiamart solving huge inefficiencies, connecting SMEs who don’t have other voice in the world. Lot of hard work to go and target the SMEs esp in rural areas.

GB: Ojas – early stage venture fund. Invested in about 6 companies. Opportunities in e-commerce unlike western markets convenience and cheaper products. In India convenience won’t apply. Too closely packed – I can walk and buy groceries. Pick niche to provide products at cheaper rates. Flipkart – online bookstore, beautiful exp to user. If primary thing is convenience .But not sure people will use it. Cheaper than traditional retail = opportunity. Most successes in e-commerce= no delivery of goods. Coz logistics very nacent. In US specific logistic providers for e-commerce. Op in India. Research online and buy offline coz of touch and feel. India you don’t find too many services to compare and contrast products via retailers – missing in India. Payment infra is big opportunity but it has its own challenges.

What is opportunity in these above segments but still low growth?

GB: Lack of payment channels. Culturally – shopping is an entertainment exp. Going to mall on weekend. Substitute will take back seat. Also we don’t trust sellers even in retail. That behavior won’t change. Last few years, service not good enough . box of chocolates in inventories for failed delivery.

How do you deal with inefficiency service delivery?

KV: Ebay – no inventory. But rules and regulations. Reputation of sellers and buyers. Meet certain quality levels. There has been learning. Possible feedback from people who have transacted with them. There are players who deliver well but key is to figure out if more and more people are bringing it out.

E-commerce not so serious earlier and now they are more serious? All above things problems that are there. What are the solutions to these challenges?

Does demand exist. Are all people ready for internet today? No, small fraction, but growing. Access increasing. Conversation and trust. Online comparison shopping. Online shopping also increasing. Value proposition of ebay is lots of goods. Hard to find goods. Safe easy goods. Deals – am I getting better price. Automatic coz overhead, showroom cost inventory is lower. Value proposition many ecommerce guys are exploring. More deals coming up. Opportunity in infrastructure. Payment methods challenge. Trust fundamental and keep working on. Net promoter score metric. How many people who re-commerce mend us after using us. Captures everything. Everything growing. Journey with challenges but everything in the right direction.

SARAYU: Very low pc penetration. Particularly suitable for non materialistic competition = tickets. Mobile phone important. Coz u can do everything on mobile. Highly segmented market. Affordability and access, regulatory methods, expense. Tremendous respect for entrepreneurs entering coz of huge challenges.

First of august onwards credit card to have pin numbers. Online more secured. International create net safe card. For international card it works everywhere.

Ebay has projected drop in online transactions after regulations.

KV: not be able to confirm drop. IRCTC uses multiple gateways. Data publicly available. Attempted and going through. Drop there. Should govt reduce laws to reduce friction or puts constraints. Should everything have done this? Yes, security. Others cards can’t be used. Offline transactions by credit card more so more fraud offline. International speeds are slow in India. Extremely high chances of drop off between transactions actions to bank. Trade off but will be plugged.

Who has onus of regulation?

KV: ebay chooses to interact with IMAI. Onus on merchants and banks. Cost of transactions cheaper online so they make money and have responsibility to communicate users at large. Not easy to use credit card nowadays. Now we have introduced an additional layer. But people will get used to it.

How do you look at e-commerce now? Circumspect?

SARAYU: Nowhere to go but up. Smart people that figure it out. Nothing goes to waste. Greenest culture we have going.

GB: Same kind optimism. Short run there will be a drop but long run will be good.

Alternative payments – mobile, E-wallets , m-wallets, cash cards etc. role of these in digital transactions in India.

KV: Not been possible in the current regulatory environment. Credit card used online – 6-9 m people. Visa and mastercard 50 million people. Is it easy to use debit card online coz lot many people use it. Make sure e-commerce accept as many payment methods as possible. Merchants should do that. Govt should free up these regulations. If you want growth remove barriers. Virtual cash on mobile phone and be able to use it online or offline.

Prepaid regulations by everything. Oncard details doesn’t affect them – m-commerce.

KV: Accept virtual money from m-commerce.

What opportunity in m-commerce?

SARAYU: ITC cash. Huge opportunity. Depends on ecosystem of who is accepting and adv of one over the other.

GB: Anything that will enable Indians to do things online will be great.

Online transactions when be single click. Will e-commerce be lucrative?

GB: Not sure about lucrative. But lot more people will use it.

B-BE model. Global hence which countries legal body applies.

SARAYU: Alibaba collecting SMEs in India and putting them online. It only takes one global buyer to come to website and not be able to buy once.

How do you make money?

SARAYU: Indiamart makes money in subscription and trust seal – business pays.

KV: Govt responsibility in initial discussions was very draconian. What u can sell cant etc. With more sellers that thing is getting eased out. In US seller and buyer to abide with the laws of the land. If people post something then in India you are responsible but in US you are intermediary and not resp. As govt eases things will be better.

Rediff won case against child porn search. Change in misuse of online.

Some services charge premium and some give discount. Why? Online tickets and IRCTC.

GB: most daily services you have to wait. Those services amenable for online. Products might be hard to find in Indian contest.

Pagalguy selling online forms for MBA.

SARAYU: Initially charge. At one point scale and hence no charge.

Book my show. Largest num of theaters. So barrier – to charge

Aren’t we allowing tele-commerce people to create a new parallel banking sector.

KV: EVERYTHING concerns. But in long run benefits. Are u going to scrap it or regulate it.

KV: Transaction is happening with credit card by bank but mobile is just an enabler. This might be right way? Or prepaid currency of mobile to make purchase.

Everything wants any transactions to go thru bank. Nobody knows who is responsibility if anything goes bad.

GB: if operator is enabler of fin then everything will pose restrict. Coz banks know how to do banking. I can change my operator.

Innovation in way people buy stuff. Social shopping concept online. Other thing is how to improve payment shopping. U can save cash by getting credits. Are innovators looking at these innovations?

SARAYU: As an investor how am I making money? Would like to see the company but need to see the exit.

What parameters that set u apart from imitations?

GB: simple business deliver prod to customer. But simple doesn’t mean easy. People want to sell everything online but there is no inventory or there is damage to products by the time u reach it. Stick to the niche.

What makes a great investment?

SARAYU: Don’t bother with operations. If u have great team ill invest. Facebook satisfies the contingency of telling people your status via phone.

What advice for getting into e-commerce?

KV: E-commerce growing in India and multiple opportunities. Find your niche and go after it. Developer platform to build apps for competitors. Complex – what kind of things can you build for buyers. Total infra area.

SARAYU: Don’t let history encumber you. Go out and do what you got to do.

GB: Pick your niche, go and execute.

Digital media adv will sell only if e-commerce grows selling products online.




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