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Rural Commerce Startup Hesa Secures Funding To Add More Villages, Expand Offerings

Rural Commerce Startup Hesa Secures Funding To Add More Villages, Expand Offerings

Hesa will use funds to expand into new geographies, strengthen its tech infrastructure, and grow its offerings

The startup has a presence in three states of India, serving over 17 Lakh customers

Hesa’s founding team has decades of experience in the supply chain and rural sector

Rural commerce startup Hesa has raised $2.3 Mn in its Pre-Series A funding round led by Venture Catalysts. 

The round also saw participation from Venture Catalysts USA Chapter, Faad, IPV and WFC. 

Hesa will use the raised funds to expand into new geographies, strengthen its tech infrastructure, and grow its offerings.

Founded in 2020 by Vamsi Udayagiri and Hema Nandiraju, Hesa operates a B2B2C online marketplace. It helps businesses, banks, government, and NGOs connect with rural demographics. 

Basically, the startup, for example, chooses an X village (as per its website-a Hesa-powered village), where it employs a village entrepreneur (Hesaathis) who on behalf of the villagers logs on to Hesa marketplace to get all related services including banking, availing financial facilities, paying utility bills work done. 

Hesa’s website says, “Our Hesaathis, spread across villages, are connected digitally through Hesa’s Tech platform. Through Hesa, the rural entrepreneur at the village level, becomes a one stop aggregator for a wide portfolio of products and services including financial transactions and bill payments.”

Vamsi Udayagirim, who is acting as CEO at Hesa, holds 12 years of experience in supply chain and rural sector whilst Hema Nandiraju, who is acting as chief people officer at Hesa, has vast experience in managing rural events, training, and development. 

Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, president and cofounder at Venture Catalysts said, “ With the size of populace residing in rural areas, there is a growing need to erase the boundary between urban India and rural Bharat. Hesa is committed to serving these lesser-served markets through its superior, cutting-edge technological platform in a seamless manner.”

Hesa has a presence in three states of India, serving over 17 Lakh customers, as per the website.

Last year, Hesa secured $2 Mn in its seed funding round led by Venture Catalysts. Investors including Startup Accelerator and 9Unicorns also participated in the round 

During the same time frame, Hesa also received a grant of INR 4.5 Lakh from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to upskill women self-help groups in Odisha. 

The startup faces competition from the likes of Boonbox, eSamudaay, 1Bridge and Rozana in the rural commerce sector. 

As per a report, India’s ecommerce sector was estimated at $46.2 Bn in 2020. The sector is poised to grow to $350 Bn by 2030. 

Smaller cities have been increasingly consuming ecommerce services owing to increased affordability for both smartphones and internet data along with government initiatives to promote digital education. 

Lately, there has been a surge in the number of internet users in rural areas as compared to urban areas of India. A report states that the total number of internet users in India are estimated to be 592 Mn in 2022. Of this, rural internet users have grown by 45% while the growth rate for urban users is 28%.

Further, there is a huge untapped rural consumer base which has been luring many FMCG big shots and startups alike. Peer-to-peer rural commerce startup, Rozana and RubanBridge are examples to place here. Of which Rozana secured $2.5 Mn, and ruraltech enterprise startup RubanBridge secured $2.5 Mn funding.

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