Last year, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was questioned by the Supreme Court why the process of e-auction could not be adopted by the cricket body like other public sector undertakings such as Coal India to sell Indian Premier League media rights, it had replied that cricket was not coal.
The BCCI bat, however, swung in a different direction this year. The board on Thursday sold media rights through an e-tender process on mjunction, India’s largest online business-to business platform.
“BCCI reached us through word of mouth. It received feedback from the Department of Telecom for whom we had conducted e-auction of telecom spectrum,” says mjunction Chief Executive Officer Vinaya Varma.
mjunction, or multiple junction as Varma puts it, which has facilitated sale of 14 million tonnes of steel, 300 million tonnes of coal and over 100,000 carats of uncut diamonds so far, will now be looking to allocate land for state governments on its platform. It is also studying the minerals sector to bring new products on-board.
The portal, which started as a joint venture between Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India Ltd for Rs 80 million in 2001, witnessed deals worth Rs 2,000 billion in FY18 on the platform, says Varma.
Last year, the Kolkata-based company was appointed by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) to build a platform for them to enable e-bidding and e-allocation of oil and gas fields. This move is expected to facilitate transparent allocation of natural resources and reduce the country’s oil import bill by $8 billion annually as these fields start producing oil in the next five years, according to the petroleum & natural gas ministry officials.
Claiming to be bigger than other e-commerce players such as Amazon and Flipkart in terms of gross merchandise value, mjunction says it became profitable since day one. “Unlike other e-commerce platforms which keep on scaling up and burning cash in the hope that they will become profitable in the future, we start small and once the vertical starts showing profitability, we scale up,” says Varma.
After expanding to all major Indian cities, West Asia, Australia and Singapore, the company has picked up businesses in Europe and will be setting up its first European office in the UK in FY19.
The firm hopes all businesses will soon adopt e-commerce for transactions. “Until now, if a steel buyer wanted to buy steel, he had to go to the mandi. But today they are looking at websites where they can get information in terms of availability, price, orders, online payments, and checking delivery status. This phenomenon is going to drive all industries in the future. And we will continue to develop secure technology infrastructure to facilitate that,” said Varma, who is targeting a 50 per cent top-line growth in FY19 for the company.