B2B social commerce platform Apnaklub has raised $3.5 Mn in a seed round from Sequoia Capital’s early-stage accelerator Surge. Besides Sequoia, Blume Ventures and White Board Capital have also invested in the seed round, bringing the total fundraise to $5 Mn.
Apnaklub is an agent-led B2B wholesale platform focussed on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) that digitally connects Indian retailers with wholesale partners. The startup said it would be utilising the funds to build a customer-focused engineering and product team, create a micro warehousing network, and localise content to deepen engagement with partners.
Founded by Manish Kumar and Shruti Apnaklub in 2020, the startup allows retailers and kirana stores to procure goods at wholesale rates, even when they cannot meet the minimum order quantity stipulated by distributors. Kirana stores are often constrained by working capital due to which they are not able to procure goods at optimal rates. The startup provides kirana stores with a broader range of products from the wholesalers with no minimum order limit.
Under the Apnaklub Partner Program, the startup trains and supports agents to create sustainable, wholesale hyperlocal businesses, while earning a commission on each order they fulfil. The startup plans to add other services such as pricing and market intelligence data for small and large brands alike.
“With Apnaklub, we are providing wholesalers across the country with an organised supply infrastructure and digital tools to cater to the hyper-local needs of shopkeepers and large families around them.This funding will enable us to expand across more rural areas in India as well as increase our range of services and products for our partner,” said cofounder Kumar.
Apnaklub is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies, announced in July 2021. In the rapidly growing B2B retail commerce space, it competes with the likes of Peel-Works, BigBasket’s B2B operations, Flipkart Wholesale, Jumbotail, Kirana King, ShopX and other retail supply chain startups.
A 2020 report by Accenture estimated that by this year, 13 Mn kirana shops (small neighbourhood shops) across India would account for 75% of the total retail industry. Currently, more than 95% of retail business is in the hands of traditional retailers, the report added. The digital transformation of just 10% of kirana stores could boost retail consumption by more than 5% and generate about 3.2 Mn new jobs.