[Funding Alert] B2B E-Commerce Platform For Kirana Stores Raises Series A Round
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MaxWholesale, a business to business (B2B) e-commerce platform provider for kirana stores, has raised $3 million in a Series A round led by IAN and Abu Dhabi’s Al Falaj Investment (AFI) Company, the start-up said on Tuesday. The funding round also saw the participation of existing investor Maple Capital.
Founded in 2016, the company provides a platform for small retailers to discover price and schemes on various fast moving consumer goods brands and source their inventory online.
Gurugram-based MaxWholesale said it would use the new funds to hire talent for its tech team and develop the platform’s capabilities further. It said it would also look to expand its reach to kirana stores in the coming months.
“It is a fragmented and cluttered industry which needs an infusion of technology,” Mohamad J Abdelghani, director of business development at AFI, said in a statement.
Cashing In On the Underserved
According to the company, even though India has more than 500 million internet users, over 97 per cent of the population still prefers to buy groceries offline.
The idea behind such a platform was to create a tech-led distribution platform that would reach the millions of unorganized small retail stores and bring them the capabilities of e-commerce by eliminating middlemen and reducing prices.
MaxWholesale now works with over 150 FMCG companies and uses algorithms to anticipate needs of merchants. The company manages inventory at its warehouses and has developed its own logistics arm for next-day delivery of orders.
“We felt that there was a dire need for technology in this sector and hence, we introduced data science into this field to make restocking more predictable and organised. With this approach, we are aiming to change the way in which the business is done at these stores,” said founder and chief executive officer Samarth Agrawal, adding that the company clocked a 20x jump in revenue last year.
In line with a broader push towards digital payments, it has also introduced its UPI-powered payment gateway for specific needs of its partner retailers and distributors to make a cashless supply chain.
“Kirana stores in India form the backbone of Indian retail by market share. The time is apt for the Kirana industry to have the same technology-led advantages as major retail chains,” said IAN co-founder Raman Roy.