Infollion Research Services Ltd - Moated Microcap with Differentiated business?

Infollion Research Services Ltd

The company was formed under the name “Infollion Research Services Private Limited” on September 9, 2009

Infollion research services is in the business of providing platform for contingent staffing.
What is contingent staffing? → Contingent staffing or Gig work is basically hiring the employees on temporary basis for which the work required
for the organisation is temporary in nature. The hiring is done on the contractual basis for a pre-determined amount of time.
Some of the examples which we see in daily life may be in Consultancy, Independent Contractors and freelancers in marketing, Hiring a project
based team, Hiring in hospitality (IRCTC ka Staff isn’t employed by IRCTC), Finance and accounting, Education, etc.

The amount of contract per project depends on the → 1. Remote or Hybrid work 2. Duration of the project (See the below Picture)

Understanding Gig economy
What is Gig Economy → in era of fast hiring (2021) to fast firing (2023) the company incurs cost to onboard employees such as signing bonus,
training cost, etc. and for firing giving severance getting Bad PR Etc.
Gig Economy comes to a save by providing contract-based solutions hiring only for temporary pre decided time period
Business Spent almost $4.4 Dollar on contingent labour and only 9% was through platform and majorly was through independent contractors
Now where does the platform come?

So platform enables the independent contractors as well as the company hiring the contractors to meet. It’s like fiverr. This part is termed as
human cloud
Human cloud Is one of the emerging part of the Gig economy. It has 2 Sub-Segments – B2B and B2C

  1. B2B - let’s say a big company needs help designing a new logo. They can go to a B2B Human Cloud platform and find a graphic design
    company or a freelance designer who can create the logo for them. It’s all about businesses helping each other out and getting work done
    efficiently.
  2. B2C - let’s say you need someone to help you clean your house or fix your bike. You can go to a B2C Human Cloud platform and find a
    cleaning service or a handyman who can help you out. It’s all about regular people finding help with everyday tasks or services they need.

The market for B2B Gig economy is very tiny in comparison to B2C, Reasons for the same are → B2C hiring is mostly for the unskilled work such
as fixing the rough, editing a video but B2B is for very Skilled work required in corporate
If I were to dissect the market for B2B gig Economy in Human Cloud major of the hiring is done through the online platform rather than through
independent contractor (80% Source → RHP), reason is the credibility of the hire
India is the Hub of “Gig – Economy” India’s Gig Sector is expected to expand up to 455 Billion almost 10% of the World market and is expected
to grow at CAGR of 17% - Niti Ayog June 22, 2022.

So Summarizing above → B2C Platform like Fiverr are the one who are facing stiff competition from Individual contractors reasoning → they are less specialised and hence the hiring for the same can be done through offline mode

now for B2B and that too for expert field requirements the hiring is done through platform (80%) i.e. 80 B2B hire is through online out of every 100 hire making platform the king in B2B Space in Gig Economy

But major of the above is due to IT outsourcing in India, but what makes company interesting is that the company is into Niche space “Expert
Network

Expert Network industry –
In simple terms, the expert network industry is like a special club where companies can find experts with specific knowledge or skills to help them
with important decisions or projects

Some of the industry using the Expert network are Consultancy in Deal due diligence, Pharma in Specific drug discovery, Investment companies
issuing buy and sale report (Company’s website) etc.

So what does the company do?
The company arranges contractual work arrangements for clients by identifying, screening, vetting, and matching work requirements based on
various parameters such as the nature, duration, objective, location, and pricing.

Just like we have delivery partners for Zomato and swiggy there’s Network partner here which will be getting paid on the basis of the
engagement which will be employed by the company the 52% of the revenue is the cost for the network partner considering that the company’s
main asset is human itself. They are paid fixed hourly rate for the engagements. This results in more engagement over the platform for new
requests. Meaning if there’s no work then there will be no payments too.
So this also becomes a risk on other hand → Rajasthan recently classified as the member of platform to be the employee of the company meaning
giving them all the benefits of the employee there are total 57k+ contractors whose cost could become fix for the company out of no where
The IPO of the company was for the purpose of Fresh Investment in US Geography and OFS was very minute part of the IPO may be 10%

The established market of US is very tough to crack as they (US and Europe Regions and even India) already has such kind of business there, but if they do the company is sitting on the
huge amount of opportunity this reminds me of the post 2000 IT Outsourcing era and what did the same for Indian IT Companies
Certainly the same is very dreamy statement but that is the power of mega trend too
The company is trading at 24 -25x Annualised earnings

Views are more than welcomed
Not invested, Stuyding

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Some recent developments…

9 monthly biz update INFOLLION_16012024132317_IntimationofbusinessupdatetillDEc2023.pdf (nseindia.com)

Incorporation of subsidiary INFOLLION_08022024114545_Outcomeofthemeeting08022024.pdf (nseindia.com)

  1. The proposal of incorporation of a Wholly Owned Foreign Subsidiary:
    The Board has considered and approved to incorporate/set up a Foreign Subsidiary, and to invest and
    hold 100% shares in the proposed subsidiary in the State of Delaware, United States (“Local Authority”)
    with a name and title as approved by the Local Authority

Working on work flow/processes

The Company intends and desires to avail technical services for technology advancement in the business operations of the Company from Simplifii labs Private Limited, an IT Service Company specialises in workflow automation, Low Code Platform, Business Applications, Data Driven Applications, etc.

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Challenges to name a few:

  1. Company intends to grow in US market (which is the main reason for going to SME IPO), However not easy to crack US market

    • Timezone difference makes it challenging for active engagement
    • Any possible extenstion of it like in-person engagement would be extremely impossible (assuming the cost involved, turn around time for F2F etc), So it must be restricted to engagements which they are sure of 100% remote consultation with experts.
    • Very mature market with very well established players and space is very crowded. Difficult to standout in the crowd.
  2. Extremely tied with economic activity (meaning cyclical), now the going is good - so enjoying. But during economic stagnation and/or recession, this business has to sit out for better days.

  3. No exclusivity either with experts or the client. Hence there is really no moat - except the data (skill set of expert and requirement for client) acquisition and mapping between expert and clients.

  4. Not sure, how they would be able to manage the inflation - i.e cost to experts and internal escalation of the cost - as it is very competitive market with no moat. So we should expect all the returns to normalize to around 15~20% in longer run - from current 40% (ROE and ROCE)

  5. Though the company has tried to expand to multiple pillars of growth for now - only Expert Calls seems to be contributing majorly for both the topline and bottomline.

  6. Any long duration engagement may mean that client can circumvent the company and have direct relation with the expert. Hence this would mean company focusing on short term duration project - which may also mean - not longer term visibility into revenue stream.

  7. Top few clients gobble up major portion of revenue stream for the company - which may indicate inability of a deeper and wider penetration by the company.