[Funding alert] Last mile distribution startup Frontier Markets raises $2.25M in Pre-Series A
Jaipur-based last mile rural distribution startup, Frontier Markets, on Monday announced that it has raised $2.25 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by EngieRassembleurs d’Energies, The Rise Fund, and The Singh Family Trusts (advised by Artha Impact), along with Teja Ventures and affiliates of Beyond Capital Fund.
Founded in 2011 by Ajaita Shah, Frontier Markets is a last mile-assisted ecommerce and distribution company that leverages its network of tech-enabled women agents to market, sell and service products and services across rural India.
The current investment will drive the company’s assisted ecommerce platform to the next level, adding digital marketing tools, AI-enabled digital training, and a B2C solution onboarding its rural customers directly on its digital platform, it said. The company will also leverage its B2B2C ecommerce to drive digital and physical services to rural customers and become the primary income source for rural women.
Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets
Frontier Markets claims to have over 4,000 women entrepreneurs who are tech-enabled using its proprietary assisted ecommerce platform to deliver over one million products and services to 700,000 rural customers in Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar. The company said it is associated with several partners including Samsung, Crompton, HUL, Eko India Financial Services, and more to curate products based on data insights collected through its tech platform.
In response to COVID-19, Frontier Markets launched doorstep delivery of essential goods and digital banking services as a response to the challenges presented by limited access to supplies in rural India.
Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets said,
“Prior to COVID-19, Frontier Markets invested in a technology platform that leveraged data to deliver a wider range of products and services in energy, finance, connectivity, agriculture and more to the last mile consumer, digitally onboarding all of our agent network. Today, we have added essential products and services—from food to protective gear to mobile banking, recognizing that our customers trust us and want us to deliver all solutions to them through our platform.”
Lead Investor Anne Chassagnette, Managing Director of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies’s commented, “
“The swift adjustment of Frontier Markets’ organization to the COVID-19 crisis and its ability to leverage its innovative tech platform to address the essential needs of the rural population on short notice confirm our full support and our trust in its trailblazing business model.”
By 2025, the company plans to grow to one million rural women entrepreneurs serving 100 million consumers with all types of products and services relating to agriculture, insurance and environment to drive economic empowerment in Bharat India.
“Post-COVID, what was “socially good” has now become essential and urgent – Frontier Markets is leveraging upon the untapped opportunity of 900 million rural consumers through rapid expansion of its technology platform and its network of digitally enabled women micro entrepreneurs,” remarked Virginia Tan, Founding Partner, Teja Ventures.