Interview with Fabrice Grinda -Co CEO – Olx Inc

I had written an article on online classifieds and the industry in general , about a week or so ago and was delighted to note that one of the visitors who had left some feedback was Fabrice Grinda , the Co CEO of Olx Inc, one of the largest classifieds site network in existence today.

Fabrice was kind enough to accept a request for a brief email interview which is published below.

What according to you is classifieds?

Classifieds are a form of (usually text based) advertising that allows individuals and companies to solicit sales for products and services. They appear online and offline and can be free or paid for. Traditionally they have been print ads in newspapers, but are now moving online to specialized sites like Monster or general sites like OLX

Reasons which prompted you to set up a classifieds site?

I left my previous company, Zingy ( in November 2005. As I started looking for business ideas, I notice the tremendous value that Craigslist was bringing to consumers in the US market. It was bringing classifieds to the masses by allowing everyone to find roommates, baby sitters, couches, etc. for free. I also noticed that outside of the US the classifieds markets were still dominated by the newspapers who charged an arm and a leg to post.

It struck me that there was a tremendous opportunity to bring free classifieds to the rest of the world and thus provide a great public service to local communities. We took the basic concept from Craigslist – simple, local, free – and improved upon it and localized it for each country.

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Contentsutra reported, rather excitedly, about being tipped off regarding another classifieds website , soon to be launched. To quote them ” Yo! We were tipped off about yet another classifieds portal, this time from the Times Group, yo!”

I was slightly disappointed to note that Contentsutra got it wrong , not regarding the site itself but that the news in itself is close to 2-3 months old. If i remember correctly i heard about the site , and first visited it early April 2007 and have been off and on ever since to see how its getting along.

….And its not getting along. I am perpetually trying to gauge the overall strategy of the TOI group with respect to its online activities. They tend to appear more reactive than proactive. If one was to look at their recent launches – TJ after Naukri, Magicbricks after 99acres , Simply Marry after Jeevansathi….. seeing the pattern? Or is it simply that they are so large and slow that by the time from conception to implementation is just too long and others move ahead.

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