Info Edge, the largest shareholder in Bizcrum Infotech, the holding firm of Bijnis, has written off its entire investment in the Indian startup, citing "principles of conservatism and prudence," in the latest drastic market correction in the fast-growing South Asian ecosystem grappling with the weakening global economy.
The publicly listed Indian investor had invested about $9.3 million in the New Delhi-headquartered startup, which has overall raised over $43 million to date and counts Sequoia India, Matrix Partners India, Waterbridge and Westbridge among its backers.
The Series B-stage startup, whose last funding round was disclosed in September 2021, aims to be the "operating system for factories," helping the plants procure supplies and also generate demand from buyers and other retailers alike.
Info Edge said it was writing off its investment in Bijnis following the "principles of conservatism and prudence and after due consideration of factors including continuing cash burn, limited availability of cash in proportion to unspecified liabilities with respect to buyback obligations (including liquidation preference) of the company towards investors under the shareholders agreement."
"However, we will continue to evaluate the position and work with the other shareholders to remedy the situation," it assured.
Rishabh Katiyar, principal at Info Edge Ventures, said in a statement to TechCrunch that the write-off in Bijnis was "a technical write-off due to the unspecified liabilities" that may materialise "owing to the buyback obligations in the existing shareholders’ agreement signed between the company and the investors."
This liability is contingent in nature and has been factored in based on the conservative accounting policies followed by the company in compliance with IndAS accounting standards. Therefore, this is not a reflection on the company’s financial performance, the market opportunity and the value proposition. Further, this liability would only materialize if the company is unable to provide an exit to the key investors via other exit mechanisms like third party sale, listing, among other mechanisms captured in the agreements by a specified date in future and all the key shareholders together choose to exercise the buyback right as an exit mechanism.
The announcement follows Info Edge disclosing on Friday a loss of $33.4 million in 4B Networks, another startup it wrote off recently. 4B Networks was founded by Housing.com's infamous founder Rahul Yadav and Info Edge owned a 57% stake in the newer startup.
The write-offs triggered an overall loss of $8.4 million for Info Edge in the financial year ending March 2023, a sharp departure from the $1.55 billion profit it had posted the year prior. As the Indian news and analysis website The Arc pointed out, this is the first net loss for Info Edge in six years.