Bengaluru-based curated marketplace QTrove has raised $51.57 Mn (INR 350 Cr) in funding from Springboard Ventures, an investment arm of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL).
The startup plans to use the funding for its next level of growth, to further intensify their marketing, customer acquisition efforts and vendor network through BCCL’s stable of print, television, radio and digital media.
Commenting on the fundraise, Vinamra Pandiya, Co-founder, QTrove said, “We are confident that our partnership with Springboard will redefine and transform the way natural, handmade, non-mass made products are consumed in India. We want to bring discovery, joy and serendipity back to shopping where products have their own unique identity and where consumers buy them for what they are and not because we are offering some discounts.”
Talking to Inc42, Pandiya shared, “We expect the company to reach out to 3-5 Mn customers in the next five years from the current 100K users.”
Further, the startup is not eyeing offline expansion yet but aims to increase its customer acquisition. With the focus on Tier I cities, the startup is also counting on Tier II cities and beyond as it already has customers coming from vernacular states.
This is where the partnership gets the meaning with BCCL having deeper reach in the country and thus, bringing the audience to QTrove.
Founded in late 2015 by Vinamra Pandiya, QTrove aims to offer handmade non-mass produced food, upcycled fashion, beauty, and bath items made from natural, organic and sustainable ingredients.
On the investment, Sam Subramanian, CEO – Brand Capital said, “Springboard is tremendously excited to partner with K.Ganesh and Vinamra on Qtrove. Qtrove will provide a unique marketplace for hundreds of thousands of artists and small businesses to gain a cost-less shop front and create millions of happy customers. Given India’s vast number of artisans, craftspeople and artists, we expect Qtrove to grow into the Etsy of India.”
QTrove offers over 6,000 products in more than 40 categories through over 600 sellers online with more than 103K deliveries.
The startup also managed to raise an initial amount of angel funding from GrowthStory’s platform in 2015.
K Ganesh, Founder of GrowthStory had earlier told Inc42, “I’m backing them as Qtrove resonates with GrowthSory’s founding principle – building tomorrow’s giants.”
For the company, the target audience, boiled down to the new age millennial consumer – someone in their late 20s to 45 years of age, with a good amount of spending income and someone who is well-travelled.
Qtrove counts Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues, Big Basket, Grofers among others as competition – on the simple principle that each of these platforms plays in the same ecommerce wheelhouse as the nascent startup.
But the startup also counts specialised marketplaces such as Jaypore (IndianMe), Love This Stuff, AfDay (defunct), ItsHandMade (defunct) among others. Internationally, platforms such as AhaLife offer the curated marketplace experience.
The Indian ecommerce industry has been on an upward growth trajectory and is expected to surpass the US to become the second largest ecommerce market in the world by 2034, according to an IBEF report.
In an ecommerce market poised to reach $200 Bn by 2026, the curated marketplaces like QTrove have a large unaddressed market to scale up their products.