Unitus Seed Fund has announced an investment in Jiffstore, a Bangalore-based startup that is connecting local kirana stores to customers though a mobile app that offers online grocery ordering and home delivery. Jiffstore has been founded by Satish Basavaraj, Aswin Ram, Shameel Abdullah and Sandeep S, professionals with a cumulative experience of 20+ years in the field of mobile, internet and analytics. The company plans to use the new capital to further develop its technology platform and to significantly expand its customer base of small shops. Financials of the deal haven’t been disclosed but this is Unitus Seed Fund’s third m-commerce investment in 2014- following investments in mGaadi (m-commerce solution for ordering auto rickshaws) and Medypal (online marketplace for healthcare services).
Jiffstore was started in 2013 and the company is also a part of the accelerator program at TLabs. It is an m-commerce platforms that aims to affordably enable small shop owners to build trusted relationships and to increase sales with their customers. Using an iOS or Android app, consumers can browse store items, make orders, and optionally have them delivered. The shop owner uses an Android app to interact with customers, manage inventory and other functions. The user interface is simple and easy-to-use, making consumer and merchant adoption very quick. Jiffstore is experimenting with multiple business models including pay-as-you-go fees linked to the amount of revenue driven by their platform. It was operational in 25+ retail stores in Bangalore when we last wrote about them and has been growing strongly since then.
The market size is big with an estimated 1.5 crore (15 million) kirana stores and small shops that could benefit from m-commerce solutions in India.“Retail in India is expected set to reach INR 45 lakhs crore ($US 750 billion) by 2015. Ninety two percent of the retail market is unorganized – mostly in small shops. We see a fantastic opportunity for a cost-effective m-commerce solution to automate these shops, help them compete, and delight their customers,” says Shameel Abdulla. The company reports a 30% month-on-month growth at the moment.
For the deal, Unitus Capital was the financial advisor and Impact Law Ventures was the legal advisor on this transaction, advising Unitus Seed Fund. “Building a business to serve lakhs of kirana shops is no small task due to the requirement of maintaining an extremely low cost structure while scaling on-the-ground operations quickly,” said Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Seed Fund. “The diverse experiences of the Jiffstore founding team and their proven ability to get customer traction quickly were key factors in our decision to make this investment.” Jiffstore has a good team to execute this solution and they are off to a good start. This funding will give them a push to scale quickly.