Malaysian billionaire T Ananda Krishnan’s Astro Holdings, which owns 90% stake in Getit Infoservices, is reportedly exploring options to exit from AskMe, its hyper local businesses focused internet firm.
The actual reasons for the step are not yet disclosed. The report was first cited by VCCircle.
Recently, AskMe saw resignations from more than 650 employees amidst cash crunch and a monthly cash burn rate of more than $6 Mn. Most of the employees who were let go were in the annual salary bracket of INR 2.5 lakh-INR 6 lakh.
A few months ago, everything seemed right with AskMe. Its grocery business was growing with presence in 38 cities and Mumbai as the main hub having 23 centres. It has over 80,000 merchants on its ecommerce platform, while its local classifieds business Askme.com has 6 Mn small & medium enterprises (SMEs) on the platform. In September last year, it also claimed to hit a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $1 million daily.
As mentioned earlier by Kiran Murthi, CEO of AskmeBazaar, “Our hyper-local model, next-day delivery (NDD) and grocery are doing well and we’re scaling up the technology and the brand. The gross merchandise value of grocery and the next-day delivery space is large at around Rs 200 crore a month.”
To date, Astro has pumped in INR 800 crores in the company according to filings with Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It was also in discussions with Alibaba and Baidu to raise $200 Mn this fiscal at $1 Bn valuation.
However, as per reports, company’s major investors Helion Ventures and Astro are not taking further interest to ramp up its foothold in the country.
AskMe was acquired by Getit in 2013 from Network18.