Bootstrapping a $100 Million ARR SaaS Company: The Netcore Story (Part 3)

Media Coverage – 1

The story about the Netcore-Unbxd partnership was broken by Saritha Rai of Bloomberg. (Incidentally, Saritha had done a story for TIME magazine in February 2000 about my IndiaWorld’s sale to Sify for $115 million. IndiaWorld was also bootstrapped and profitable – a proficorn!) From the Bloomberg story (an ungated version is available at Business Standard):

Rajesh Jain, 54, a pioneer of India’s internet industry, is readying his second startup Netcore Cloud Pvt. for an initial public offer within the next year, fresh after a $100 million acquisition this month.

“We’ve had initial conversations with half-a-dozen bankers and the formal process will start in the next couple of months,” Jain said over a Zoom call discussing the acquisition and the IPO. “We are targeting an IPO within the next nine to 12 months.”

Mumbai-headquartered Netcore is a software-as-a-service, or SaaS, startup that specializes in offering customer communication and engagement solutions to businesses. It bought about a 90% stake in San Mateo, California-based e-commerce search-personalization company Unbxd Inc.

The acquisition would strengthen Netcore’s offerings to its roster of global customers such as Pizza Hut Inc., The Body Shop Inc. and Tommy Hilfiger Corp. The deal would also boost the company’s subscription revenues to $150 million annually within the next 18 months from about $100 million now, Jain said.

Economic Times wrote:

Netcore sells marketing automation software to ecommerce firms and D2C companies, a crop of internet businesses for whom quality of search is critical for purchasers to close transactions. The search optimization algorithms of Unbxd would help Netcore’s customers offer better discovery on their platforms. “Many of the ecommerce companies other than the large ones such as Amazon, search is a big gap, and this is what unbxd cracked very well. It solves a problem for customers. Secondly, there is a big cross-sell opportunity through this acquisition for the both of us,” Jain said.

Jain said the slew of acquisitions also reflect the market reality of the need for consolidation, given the profusion of marketing technology companies in the market. “There are 8-10,000 martech companies in the world, so consolidation has to happen. As martech becomes more and more critical, marketers have to work with fewer companies, because the integration costs would become very high across multiple products.”

VC Circle wrote:

Unbxd, rolled out by Pavan Sondur and Prashant Kumar in 2012,  offers search solutions to improve retention and conversions for ecommerce retailers and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in the US, UK and Australia.

Currently, the company claims to power 3.5% of all the US e-commerce on-site search queries spread across 150 customers.

Unbxd has a host of clientele including Mattress Firm, Express, Ashley Homestore, Home Shopping Network, Advance Auto Parts, The Children’s Place, Mitre10 and Kookai, among others.

The company was backed by investors like Nirvana Ventures, Chiratae Ventures, Eight Roads and Inventus Capital.

“The coming MarTech era will be defined by budget shifts from Adtech to MarTech as brands will focus more on unit economics and valuing existing customers. This will lead D2C/ecommerce brands to accelerate their spending towards delivering personalized customer experiences.

Unbxd’s AI/ML tech stack will empower our customers to track their shopper’s interactions with search and implement site-wide personalization, merchandising, along with shopper-focused recommendations,” said Kalpit Jain, Group CEO, Netcore Cloud.

“Netcore Cloud platform is growing rapidly at 40% YoY (with international markets growing 100% YoY ). We are positioned as the digital proxy in emerging markets. Added to that, this investment will enable us to get a strong foothold in the US and other developed markets as well,” said Nishant Jain, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of M&A, Netcore Cloud.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.