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Bhaichung Bhutia Backs Gangtok’s Social Commerce Startup NE Origins

Bhaichung Bhutia Backs Gangtok’s Social Commerce Startup NE Origins

NE Origins has not disclosed the transaction details

The startup has closed the round at a $2 Mn valuation

With this strategic investment, the Gangtok-based startup wants to build a strong online presence and improve the manufacturing and distribution network

Gangtok-based social commerce startup NE Origins has raised an undisclosed amount of Pre-Seed funding at a valuation of $2 Mn. The round saw participation from strategic angel investors including Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia. 

With this strategic investment, the social commerce startup wants to build a strong online presence and improve the manufacturing and distribution network for the products from seed to store, across India. 

“Our aim is to showcase the North East in a way it has never been done before. Our products are a unique insight into the diversity of the 200+ tribes across these 8 states,” Rewaj Chettri, founder of NE Origins said.

The latest round makes NE Origins one of the first ventures in Sikkim to ever raise funding, the startup claimed in a statement. Further, it has attributed this success to its selection in a special incubation program by ALSiSAR Impact. 

NE Origins wants to position itself as an online marketplace that sells products sourced from North East India. The startup initially began its journey to support local entrepreneurs who were facing a muted tourist season brought on by pandemic lockdowns. 

It claims to have onboarded hundreds of local businesses and producers to provide support across marketing, packaging, and distribution- building capacity.

“We see NE Origins as a powerful example of an impact-driven and scalable venture from the North East that highlights the positive effects of entrepreneurship in the region through its unique social commerce platform- Our mission with NE Origins is simple, to make the NorthEast a ‘producer economy’, and champion regional culture and diversity while providing countless livelihood opportunities,” Anuj Sharma, founder of Alsisar Impact, stated.

In the last few years, the Indian startup ecosystem has come a long way to have representation across the country. The overall number of recognised startups has reached 66,810 in FY22, as of March 28, 2022, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said recently. There is at least one recognised startup from every state and UT, the ministry added. 

Bhutia is optimistic that NE Origins will be able to help mainstream North East heritage, culture, and history through its community commerce. “I was drawn in by the larger vision they shared about NE Origins and the role it could play in the Indian ecosystem,” he added.

In the booming ecommerce segment, social commerce has paved the way for a new business model. The segment is expected to see 228 Mn consumers in India by the end of 2022, as per a report from Regon, WATConsult’s research division. 

Moreover, young consumers prefer Instagram and Facebook to shop online, while older consumers prefer Facebook and WhatsApp, the report added. 

Along with small-scale startups, deep-pocketed players are also venturing into the social commerce space. For example, Flipkart launched its social commerce platform Shopsy last year. 

At the same time, there are other players such as Meesho, Dealshare, and Udaan that are creating a buzz in the market. In March, another social commerce startup CityMall raised close to $75 Mn in its Series C round of funding led by its new investor Norwest Venture Partners. 

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