DotPe, the parent operator of Dot, an offline-to-online commerce and fintech platform, has raised about $8 million in an outsized seed funding round led by global payment gateway firm PayU and Fosun RZ Capital.
Sanjeev Bikhchandani-led internet company Info Edge’s recently launched venture capital fund Info Edge Venture Fund, Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal and Citrus Pay co-founder Amrish Rau participated in the round, according to a statement on Thursday.
Dot offers digital solutions to brick and mortar retail outlets, helping them increase sales and optimise business operations.
“We’ll be using the funds, one, for hiring great talent. We’re looking to hire great engineers and product managers. Second, we’ll be spending money on acquiring merchant partners and third, we’ll be educating customers to start using this product,” co-founder Shailaz Nag told TechCircle
Every solution offered to a merchant will be designed around a customised package, Nag explained.
“What we’re building here is a digital ecosystem for offline retail stores using Google, Facebook, Instagram, bank and payment apps, WhatsApp and helping these merchants to acquire and engage customers, increase revenue by re-selling, cross-selling and building an entire platform for digitizing their businesses,” Nag said.
Nag also explained the possibility of replacing offline stores’ hard copy bills with digital receipts. The digital copies will come equipped with a customer engagement feature to enable online refunds or exchanges for already bought products through a ubiquitous interface. For example, users can opt for purchase refunds and exchanges via WhatsApp as opposed to visiting the store again, he said.
Apart from such customer support capabilities, Dot’s services also help with product deliveries, online payments, and customised online marketing campaigns, Nag added.
Nag, a co-founder at PayU India, left the company in September last year, around the same when he conceptualised Dot, he said
The founding team consists of two other former PayU executives, Gyanesh Sharma and Anurag Gupta. Post PayU, IIT-D graduate Sharma headed technology at MakeMyTrip and ShopClues. Gupta was a company vice president at PayU.
Dot claims its digital transformation solutions target a market worth $1 trillion.
“Dot is a great fit to PayU’s larger vision of developing a fintech ecosystem in India and its aim to deliver a complete value proposition to our growing customers. We are creating alliances through investments in companies whose vision is aligned to ours. With this investment in Dot, we aim to play a pivotal role in helping offline merchants with their digitization journey,” Anirban Mukherjee, CEO at Naspers-owned PayU India said.
The startup also claims to have the first-mover advantage.
“The current digital experience of offline merchants is broken at many levels and the engagement with customers is non-existent. Dot will change that and consequently create immense value,” Tej Kapoor, an executive president at Fosun RZ Capital, said.
Dot has identified an important untapped market segment, according to Info Edge’s Bikhchandani. Dot marks the second investment by IEVF.
Earlier this week, Info Edge Venture Fund infused $3.5 million into Qyuki Digital Media, a digital entertainment content provider founded by musician AR Rahman and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.