[Funding alert] Google Launchpad startup m.Paani raises $5.5M from Henkel, AC Ventures, and Gojek founder

Mass market data and loyalty startup m.Paani will use the funds to invest in product development, accelerate growth and expansion, and make key hirings.

Mass market data and loyalty startup m.Paani on Wednesday announced that it had raised $5.5 million (or Rs 39 crore), in its Series A funding round.

The round was led by AC Ventures, Henkel, Candy Ventures; and angel investors Kevin Aluwi (CEO and Cofounder of Gojek), Ryu Suliawan (Head of Merchants at Gojek), and Suvir Varma (Board Member and Senior Advisor at Bain & Company, Private Equity). Existing investors Chiratae Ventures and Blume Ventures also participated in the round.

m.Paani will use the funds to invest in product development, accelerate growth and expansion, and make key hirings.

Akansha Hazari-Ericson, CEO and Founder of m.Paani, said:

“We have always believed in the local retailer. They win on every consumer consideration - service, quality, product selection, value, credit, and delivery speed. Small businesses also account for more than 40 percent of employment. They are a bedrock of communities and the economy. m.Paani is bridging the technology gap to ensure that our local retailers not just survive but thrive in India 2.0. The future of Indian retail is, and must be, local.”

The Mumbai-based startup is a Google Launchpad and Google Studio company. It is digitising and organising local retailers to deliver the neighbourhood shopping experience of the future. It was launched in 2014 by Akanksha, a Princeton and Cambridge University alumnus.

Jesús Eduardo García Chapa, Executive Director of Venture Capital, AC Ventures, said, “Their vision to foster local retailers is something we share and are absolutely convinced is a game-changer for the traditional trade channel and the retail industry.”

Today, m.Paani has more than 50,000 retailers and seven million consumers on its platform. Growing at 30 percent plus per month, the 25-member team has managed to scale rapidly.

Earlier in 2017, the startup had raised $1.35 million from IDG Ventures, Blume Ventures and Saha Fund.

Kevin Aluwi, CEO and Co-Founder, Gojek said, “m.Paani has a very strong team, and a deep understanding of the local retailer reflected in a great product and sound strategy for solving for this important user’s problems and aspirations. I am very excited to be a part of m.Paani’s journey and also see huge potential for them to empower local retailers beyond India.”

Akanksha has previously received the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for Economic Empowerment in 2016, from Secretaries of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madeline Albright.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)