1K Kirana Bazaar (1K), an offline to online neighbourhood store (kirana) network, has raised $7 million (Rs 52 crore) in a Series A funding to build a tech-enabled modern kirana chain for smaller towns.
The funding round was co-led by Info Edge Ventures and partners of New York based alternative investments firm Falcon Edge.
Rajesh Yabaji and Chanakya Hridaya, founders of logistics startup Blackbuck; TN Hari, head of HR, online grocer BigBasket and existing investor Kae Capital also participated in the round, according to a statement.
With the fresh funds, 1K wants to build partnerships with over 1000 kirana store partnerships in the next one year and serve more than a million consumers.
The company had raised around $1.5 million in prior rounds from Kae Capital and 1Crowd.
Founded in late 2018 by Kumar Sangeetesh, Sachin Sharma and Abhishek Halder, 1K helps kirana store owners acquire and retain consumers and improve sourcing efficiency.
It operates an asset-light model where in it forms franchise partnerships with kiranas who own and operate the stores while the company manages sourcing, inventory, pricing, sales and marketing for these stores.
For consumers, it enables product discovery from nearest kirana stores and offers discounts offers, product selection, and home delivery of groceries.
“With these funds, our efforts are to bring parity to products and experiences to meet the rising standards of living among Bharat’s new consumers. With our super-fast but organic growth, we are confident that we will be able to expand to more markets in northern India and bring about a positive change in the lives of millions of consumers,” Sangeetesh said.
Company claims to have a network of 150 stores currently, serving more than one lakh consumers.
A handful of Startups like 1K, Express Stores and heavily VC funded players like Udaan hope to capitalise on their niche sector focus by digitising smaller hyperlocal kirana stores through technology-led supply chain, in-store experience, customer engagement, branding tools and delivery services. On the other hand, Indian mom-and-pop stores have become the latest battleground for retail giants.
Walmart-owned Flipkart, US-based retail giant Amazon and Indian conglomerate Reliance are accelerating many efforts to consolidate India’s three crore kirana stores.