Mumbai-based Unilever Ventures, the PE vertical of Unilever has led a Series B funding round in consumer-focussed SaaS and big data analytics startup, Peel-Works. This marks Unilever Ventures’ first investment in India.
The round also saw the participation of existing investors Inventus Capital Partners and IDG Ventures India. With this, Unilever Ventures will get a seat on the startup’s board.
Commenting on the investment, Olivier Garel, Head of Unilever Ventures said “There is a great opportunity to empower the large traditional trade in fast-growing markets leveraging technologies at the point-of-sale. Insights generated can be used by consumer packaged goods, e-commerce, FinTech or Cash & Carry players to develop innovative solutions, improve services and sales force performances. Peel-works is taking a lead in this and we are excited to partner with them in this journey”
As per reports, the newly-secured financing will enable Peel-Works to bolster its product and technology offerings, while also expanding its geographical reach. A portion of the fresh capital will be spent on hiring a new team.
Peel-Works: Leveraging Technology To Drive Sales Of India’s 10 Mn Grocery Stores
Founded in September 2010 in the cities of Delhi and Jaipur by Sachin Chhabra and Nidhi Ramachandran, Peel-Works is a startup that is working to connect local grocery stores with brands via technology that can manage sales force beyond distributors through SaaS and big data analytics.
In addition to helping retailers improve customer loyalty, the platform offers assistance in optimising store assortments and inventory levels, thereby bringing down operational costs. Through SaaS and big data analytics, Peel-Works helps brands and stores to better understand their shoppers.
The technologies developed by the startup also come in handy when financial technology players choose to lend capital to retailers. Shedding light on the company’s products and services, Peel-Works co-founder and CEO Sachin Chhabra said, “We build tech products, which helps gain insights from the distributor onwards –– distributor to retailer and retailer to shopper. It helps (brands) connect to their customers.”
Currently, the company’s 100-odd team is based out of Mumbai, while the product team sits in Pune. The company boasts a clientele across the spectrum of FMCG, pharma and entertainment, including HUL, Airtel, Tata Sky, Reckitt Benckiser, Bunger and Glaxo Smith Kline.
Speaking about the latest funding from Unilever Ventures and others, Chhabra stated, “The investment by Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, marks an important milestone for Peel-Works and brings a great validation of our model and vision. With their constant support and mentorship, we hope to create new benchmarks in building world-class SaaS products to serve our clients better.”
An Overview Of Unilever Ventures
Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private equity arm of Unilever. The firm currently invests in promising early-stage startups, with the aim of accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets and expertise.
The investment firm’s key focusses are personal care and digital transformation. At present, Unilever Ventures backs startups engaged in content creation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, ecommerce, Internet of Things, mobile marketing and video, in both developed and emerging markets.
The portfolio companies of Unilever Ventures include notably Clavis Insight, Percolate, Blis, Gousto, Instacart, Blow, Nutrafol, Sun Basket, Iluminage Beauty, Froosh, and Voltea. Recently, in the month of November, the firm invested $10 Mn (INR 65 Cr) into IDG Venture India Fund, which primarily invests in consumer-technology, innovation, and digital startups
As per a Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India (RAI) report, titled ‘Retail 2020: Retrospect, Reinvent, Rewrite’, the retail market is expected to nearly double in five years, touching $1 Tn by 2020 from $600 Bn as of today. When it comes to solving the inherent issues of supply chain and inventory-taking along with salesforce management, Peel-Works competes against startups like Stockin, ShopKirana, among others.
With the funding from Unilever Ventures and existing investors, the SaaS and big data analytics startup Peel-Works looks to strengthen its product portfolio, in order to expand its reach among the country’s 10 Mn neighbourhood grocery stores.
Update: May 9, 2018, 11:02 AM
Earlier, the story mentioned Amazon Internet Services Pvt. Ltd. (AISPL) as an investor in the startup Peel-Works. The story has now been corrected, as the new funding round was led only by the Unilever Ventures.