From Mumbai’s Saki Naka to Bengaluru’s Rachenahalli, it took Quikr seven years to traverse 982.4 kms. In terms of ‘startup years’, it is the perfect time to emerge a unicorn. Think Flipkart. Think Snapdeal.
Founded in 2008 by Pranay Chulet, Quikr is today valued at $1 billion and is one of the leading cross-category classified platform in 1000 cities in India with 30 million unique users a month.
On Tuesday, the company threw open the gates of its sprawling four acre campus behind the hi-tech Manyata Park in Bengaluru to its 1200 (most of them new) employees. Earlier this year, Quikr had relocated to the city from Mumbai and was operating out of a modest office in the city centre at Shivajinagar.
Speaking to YourStory earlier in Mumbai, Pranay had said the move to Bengaluru was a strategic one as the company wanted to dip into the city’s exceptional tech talent pool.
The new campus boasts of three buildings, a central lawn area (which may be turned into a volleyball court, as Pranay informed), and a cafeteria. The main office is a three-storey open space looking into a central courtyard, or as in Quikr’s case, the shop floor.
“We wanted to retain the factory look and make the building more spacious, open, and connected. In fact, this space was earlier a garment factory,”
said Pranay, addressing a select few journalists at the new location. When asked what the damages were in terms of money spent on the new campus, Pranay said, “More than our estimate and less than what you think.”
The company, which has so far changed its logo design and location in its seven-year journey, believes change is good and easy. Perhaps, that is what kept its almost 1200 strong work force motivated to work out of a much smaller building, more like a long shed, adjacent to the main one while it was getting built. “We call it the train,” Pranay told us while taking us on a tour of the new facility. ‘The train’ was full and ready to chug along or so it seemed with all the work stations tightly packed.
“It has been tough on them these past few months as they’ve had to fight for elbow space here,” said Pranay.
A giant alphabet ‘Q’ on the floor of the main building ties up the whole space beautifully. A deck on the top floor almost resembles a DJ’s prime spot and from the excitement on Pranay’s face when he stands there (“this is the first time I am coming here,” he said) shows the endless possibilities it holds.
“Maybe, we can have a giant bell and those bygone era bugles to make announcements from here,” Pranay said thinking aloud. “For all you know maybe I can shoot a movie here,” he added.
Whatever be its use, one thing is clear no sales team would like to hold a meeting with the big boss there.
In 2014, Quikr raised about $150 million in two rounds, one led by Tiger Global ($60 million) and another by Kinnevik ($90 million). Since its inception, it has raised a total of $350 million from seven funding rounds. The other investors include Warburg Pincus, Matrix Partners India, Norwest Venture Partners, Nokia Growth Partners, Steadview Capital, Omidyar Network, and Ebay Inc.