In a strategic move Yahoo! Inc., along with Canaan Partners, a global early stage venture investor in innovative technology companies, is investing $8.65 million in BharatMatrimony.com Pvt. Ltd, a matrimony service provider with 7.5 million registered members. Both investors will be represented on the board of the company. Veda Corporate Advisors acted as a strategic advisor to the transaction.
Commenting on the development, Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, BharatMatrimony Group, said, “The global knowledge, partnerships and experience that both these investors bring will help us scale our business globally. The infused capital will be used to further sustain our leadership position in the matrimony sector. The investment will also be used to enhance our portfolio of services and take them to leadership positions in their respective sectors.”
Bharat Matrimony, in the last six months or so, has branched out to several fields like ClickJob.com, IndiaProperty.com, IndiaAutomobile.com, IndiaLsit.com, as well as a social venture named BharatBloodBank.com. The Group also plans to significantly expand its presence on ground and will also invest in the global personals space.
As part of its expansion plans, BharatMatrimony expects to double its headcount to 700 by the end of this year. The company also plans to increase the number of BharatMatrimony Centres, its offline initiative, from 38 to over 300 across the country by 2008.
BharatMatrimony has plans to open offices in UK and in key South East Asian markets to cater to the Indian Diaspora and to open up religion / country based matrimony portals.
Alok Mittal, Executive Director-India, Canaan Partners, said, “We are very excited to be an investor in BharatMatrimony. The company is very well positioned to grow rapidly and maintain its leadership in the Indian Internet landscape while continuing to be a highly valuable company from a social standpoint. The company’s services truly change the lives of millions of Indians around the world. India is one of the key markets for Canaan Partners and we are looking at creating lasting partnerships in the technology space and generating shareholder wealth over the coming years.”
When asked about when Canaan was expecting to break even, Mittal said, “Reaching break even point for such investments would generally be a matter of three to five years. But we are patient investors.”
Commenting on Yahoo!’s investment in BharatMatrimony, Susan Decker, Chief Financial Officer, Yahoo! Inc, said, “India is one of the fastest growing Internet markets and our investment in BharatMatrimony furthers Yahoo!’s plans to extend our leading position in the country.”
George Zacharias, Managing Director, Yahoo! India, said, “BharatMatrimony Group’s strength in matrimonial and other services complements the strong offerings we already provide in the Indian market across communications, search, and mobile. On completion of the investment, Yahoo! India and BharatMatrimony Group will cooperate through a business partnership.”
Both Zacharias and Mittal would represent their respective companies on the board of BharatMatrimony. However, neither party was prepared to divulge any details on the break up of the investments made by the companies.