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Instamojo: From a payment firm to an established virtual e-commerce platform for sellers

Instamojo: From a payment firm to an established virtual e-commerce platform for sellers

Instamojo started its journey as a web-based payment gateway in 2012. It was founded by Sampad Swain (CEO) along with co-founders Aditya Sengupta, Akash Gehani and Harshad Sharma in Bangalore. Instamojo sells digital goods and collects payments online. Instamojo offers a payment gateway product. The company claims to provide services to 150,000+ businesses across India to collect payments online and over 1.2 million people have made transactions. 

Instamojo offers small and micro merchants a ready-made virtual platform upon which they can quickly set up an eCommerce business and accept digital payments. Merchants have ready access to a fully functional online store with in-built payments and shipping capabilities, marketing tools and other value-added services such as logistics and credit facilities.

Sampad Swain the current CEO and co-founder says that he got the idea of Instamojo when he started a newsletter containing video interviews of entrepreneurs. In 2016 it also partnered with ICICI bank for its services as they launched their new venture of UPI.

The company was selected in the fifth batch of 500 Startups in October 2012 and had received a huge amount of funding from angel investors like Rajan Anandan, VP & MD of Google, South East Asia & India and Sunil Kalra.

Instamojo secured 500000 dollars in 3 rounds from 8 investors of which the most recent one was the Series A funding on November 13, 2014. In this round of funding, Instamojo raised 2.6 million dollars funding and was led by Kalaari Capital, 500 startups, Blume ventures and others.

In a recent development, it has expanded its wings by entering the e-commerce space with the launch of a new platform that enables small businesses and D2C brands to come and work online. With this initiative, Instamojo will now enable DTC brands to launch their own independent online stores, empowered by the existing digital solutions offered by the company. Merchants can now build an online profile along with running and managing their online businesses. The company currently offers merchants digital solutions which include online payments, logistics, credit services, a free learning platform called mojoversity and more for businesses to gain visibility.

In early 2020 the company acquired another e-commerce enablement firm GetMeAShop (GMAS) which was backed by Times internet and closed its Pre-series C round of funding later that year.

In a statement with The Economic Times, CEO Sampad Swain, Instamojo said, “When we began Instamojo, the focus was on enabling digital payments through our pioneering product, the “payment link”. It was then in 2018 that we as a company came to the realisation that a model based on standalone payments will not survive and that we need to look for new avenues of growth via a diversified commerce platform. 

We needed a sustainable model with characteristics like brand affinity, cascading network effects, higher margins, etc., and this we found in e-commerce. We have already had the free online store feature since inception, and in early 2020, we acquired the Times group backed company GET ME A Shop (GMAS), a SAAS based model of starting online stores for businesses that are homegrown and aspirational in nature. Putting together the expertise of GMAS and our learning from serving millions of MSMEs, Instamojo is now venturing full-fledged into the space of e-commerce. We are aiming to redefine online store business, and possibly be one of the first to build a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) SaaS business for small businesses and DTC brands in India.”

This initiative will simplify the process of taking an offline business online to digital format and this platform is also suitable for the smallest of businesses and will offer merchants the following:

The tools to build and manage your own business website, and gain digital independency

Integrated services include digital payments, logistics, instant pay-outs, access to credit, marketing tools and CRM. The Do it for Me (DIFM) feature where Instamojo’s tech experts take charge of building a merchant’s website to provide a hassle-free experience.

In his statement, Swain also added, “To be able to tread onto the digital storefront path, merchants will require more than just setting up the online store. A digital storefront’s consistency is directly proportional to continued customer side engagement which is why it is the need of the hour to make available sustainable solutions for small businesses. 

Starting from payments, instant payouts to solve cash flow crunch, reseller network and marketing tools to cover aspects like discoverability, brand visibility and post-sales customer delight, Instamojo has created an entire ecosystem of not just starting a business online but also start transacting immediately. With our e-commerce offerings today, we aim to onboard 100k DTC brands at the end of this year.”

On June 28 it was reported that global payments giant Mastercard has said that it has invested an undisclosed amount in payments firm Instamojo, a move which will help digitise online stores and process their payments more seamlessly.

When asked about this the CEO Sampad Swain said, “While we started as a payments solution for the small business, we have broadened our purview since then and now we are focussed on the larger picture of providing the small businesses with a platform which helps them to start, manage and grow their business online. It is no longer restricted to just payment collection, but also about starting their own online store, collecting payments and shipping their products. Hence, creating an entire ecosystem of conducting business with ease for the small businesses. With players like Mastercard showing confidence in us, helps us broaden our horizon further.”

Moneycontrol also reported on June 8 that Instamojo launched a Shopify-like e-commerce platform helping with e-commerce software, branding, marketing, logistics and analytics.

About Pragnya Priyadarshani

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