[Funding alert] B2B FMCG wholesale platform Apnaklub raises $3.5M from Sequoia’s Surge

Apnaklub Co-founder and COO Manish Kumar said the funding will enable the startup to expand across more rural areas in India as well as increase its range of services and products for its partners.
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Apnaklub, a Bengaluru-based B2B wholesale platform for consumer goods (FMCG), has announced that it has raised $3.5 million in a seed round from Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, bringing the total funds raised so far to $5 million. 

“With Apnaklub, we are providing wholesalers across the country with an organised supply infrastructure and digital tools to cater to the hyper-local needs of shopkeepers and large families around them. The funding will enable us to expand across more rural areas in India as well as increase our range of services and products for our partners,” said Manish Kumar, Chief Operating Officer of Apnaklub.

Apnaklub connects India’s retailers, such as kirana and general stores in semi-urban and rural areas, to a wide range of consumer goods and brands via its network of digitally-connected wholesale partners. 

Founders (L-R): Shruti and Manish Kumar

A 2020 report by Accenture estimated that by this year, 13 million kirana shops across India will account for 75 percent of the total retail industry. 

However, kirana owners are often unable to meet a minimum quantity or purchase amount to buy from the distributors, who in turn are constrained by the capital needed to deploy goods to these areas. This leaves many of these retailers with a limited assortment of goods to stock in their neighbourhood stores.

Apnaklub claims to address this gap by connecting wholesale agents to provide kirana stores with a wider range of SKUs, no minimum order quantity, and competitive prices. The startup’s network of agent partners help collect demand from their surrounding kirana stores, aggregate them, and place an order on the app. It then delivers the goods to the partner, who then distributes them to the stores. 

According to the Accenture report, the digital transformation of just 10 percent of the 13 million kirana stores in the country could boost retail consumption by more than 5 percent and generate about 3.2 million new jobs.

The startup’s agent-led solution, known as the Apnaklub Partner Program, currently includes the participation of over 5,000 wholesalers and counting. Partners are provided with personalised training and support to create sustainable wholesale businesses for themselves, while also earning a commission on each order they fulfil. The startup also has plans to layer other services onto its network, such as providing pricing and market intelligence data to small and large brands alike.

“At Apnaklub, we’re going beyond providing an organised supply of FMCG goods to semi-urban and rural areas. Our mission is to equip people across India with the means to set up their own hyper-local micro-distribution businesses, by providing them with better profit margins, access to a large assortment of brands and ensuring supply consistency. We’re empowering people to take charge of their livelihoods,” said Shruti, Founder and CEO of Apnaklub. 

Apnaklub was founded in July 2020 by Manish Kumar and Shruti. Shruti previously worked at Omidyar Network and Bain & Company. She is an IIT-Delhi gold medallist and a Harvard Business School graduate. Manish has over 20 years of experience in the FMCG distribution sector and has held leadership roles at Walmart India, Metro Cash & Carry, and Future Group. 

Apnaklub is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live, and learn better in a rapidly evolving Southeast Asian landscape.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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