B2B supply chain aggregator startup Last Mile Channel Enhancement (LMCE) has raised $1.5 Mn in a Pre Series A funding round led by Akash Prakash (CEO, Amansa Capital) at a valuation of $10 Mn for its platform Xpand. High net worth individuals like Madhu Jayakumar, Dipinder Sandhu and Shagun Khandelwal also participated in the round.
Delhi-based LMCE’s Xpand is a two-month-old B2B supply chain aggregator that connects companies with rural retailers, allowing them to access rural markets using existing infrastructure and without investment in stock, warehousing and logistics.
This means companies can foray into rural markets in a cost-effective and targeted manner. The startup’s clients include L’oreal, McVitie’s and Park Avenue. LMCE will use the freshly raised fund towards realising its aim of reaching 16 states, 30,000 villages and 3 lakh retailers by 2023.
“With Xpand, we are connecting retailers and companies on a single platform to solve their last-mile challenges. Simultaneously, we would empower & enable traditional Kiryana to leverage technology to streamline their operations and widen their portfolio. We have already made a substantial investment in the pre-incorporation stage towards technology & market prioritisation. The raised funds will help us further our goal of “speed to scale” and give thrust to our tech endeavours.” said Sanjay Kaul, LMCE’s founder and CEO.
Despite the arrival of big-box retail stores like Reliance Fresh, More and Big Bazaar more than two decades ago, Indian kirana or grocery stores have adapted and transformed themselves to provide customers with value for money, maintaining their relevance.
India has a grocery market that is worth more than $500 Bn, growing close to 60% annually, and everyone from Amazon to Walmart and Reliance Jio to the Tata group is vying for a piece of the action by developing and backing ‘Dukantech’ offerings.
“Government policy initiatives like doubling rural income, jandhan yojana, spending on housing, electrification, sanitation etc., has ensured strategic priority of industry and corporates towards the rural segment. Furthermore, mass digitization and newer aspirations have led to the consumer becoming more knowledgeable and seeking quality products,” said Arun Shah, Managing Director of Prime Securities, which was the investment banker for this transaction.
Yesterday, MS Dhoni-backed fintech startup Khatabook announced the discontinuation of its MyStore, its flagship bookkeeping app and digital online storefront for kiranas.