Askme plans $100-mn global expansion; to hire 500

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New Delhi, Jun 28: Online firm Askme is looking to make an initial investment of USD 100 million to fund its domestic and overseas expansion plans and increase its headcount to around 2,500 people over the next 12 months.

"With the kind of plans that we have made, Askme will be making an initial investment of USD 100 million within a year. We currently have around 2,000 employees, and to support expansion we will be hiring around 500 or more in a year or so across technology and sales," Askme Group Chief Marketing Officer Manav Sethi told PTI.

Askme plans $100-mn global expansion

The company is expanding business in e-commerce space and company listings both in India and abroad. Askme has signed deals with journalist Vir Sanghvi, Chef Vikas Khanna, food experts Rocky and Mayur for food reviews at restaurants.

People can watch such online reviews in video and at the same time will have an option to buy or book services. It has signed contract with film actress Twinkle Khanna for developing interior designing vertical at Askme, Sethi said.

"We have started a campaign on our YouTube, Facebook page and other such digital platforms which talk about which is Rocky and Mayur's favourite restaurant and you can do one more thing that you can send your own curated list of the same. We are very cautious of the upcoming trends," he said.

The company offers e-commerce services through its own subsidiary Askmebazaar.com and has integrated services of other platform like Amazon, Jabong and others. Askme is scaling up its online grocery shopping. The company acquired BestAtLowest.com to build it grocery category about 50 days back for USD 10 million.

"We acquired BestAtlowest.com and integrated it with Askme, where in Noida, Greater Noida and East Delhi you can order grocery. Now we get thousand orders a day with an average selling price of about Rs 1,200. We are going to scale this in entire India now. The scaler would happen in phases like in four quarters," Sethi said.

He said that Askme has 12 million SMEs listed on its platform and out of that 12 thousand pay Rs 7,000 a year for premium listing. On Askmebazaar, the company has about 7 lakh products being sold through 30 thousand merchants.

"By July, we are aiming about a million orders a month starting July end and if I can sustain that on an annualised basis then we can be placed among the top 4 or 5 e-commerce players in the industry," Sethi said.

Askme has launched business in Malaysia under brand name FindIt that now covers 700 categories over 450 cities in the country.

"We are now going to launch FindIt like platform but with Askme brand name within next 9 to 12 months in Kuwait, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Nigeria," Sethi added.

PTI

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