[Funding alert] Social commerce app Ping raises $3.5M in seed round led by Elevation Capital
Ping, the conversational community commerce app, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by Elevation Capital.
The fund raised will be used for platform innovation and development, strategic hiring, and for expansion across all metropolitan cities in India.
Commenting on the fundraise, Vartika Bansal, Founder, Ping said, “The maker economy in India is booming, and with the rising ecommerce penetration, a strong movement to provide, preserve, and celebrate makers and their identities is emerging."
"At Ping, our vision is to augment this movement through an effective, conversational community platform that directly connects farmers, makers, and producers with local residential communities. We want to be at the forefront in catalysing the growth of local entrepreneurship by empowering these business owners to reach a larger pool of new and repeat customers."
"On the other hand, for consumers, our goal is to provide a verified selection of authentic local businesses to purchase from whilst allowing greater transparency in transactions”.
Ping enables commerce and communication for agricultural producers, local manufacturers, and home-based business owners among the various residential communities.
Ping was founded in July 2020 by Vartika, an alumna of Stanford Graduate School of Business and IIT Bombay. Vartika has vast experience in launching and leading business verticals from her stints at Uber Eats and OYO. Given the remote-first nature of the company, the founding team is spread across the country.
Ping’s conversational app was inspired by the many WhatsApp groups used by farmers, makers, and other sellers to sell directly to residents of housing societies.
The company stated while they are skilled in their craft, they are not very proficient in generating and scaling demand. Some attempt to navigate the inefficient B2C and social-media channels, while others end up selling to B2B clients like hotels and high-end restaurants.
It added, given the proliferation and reach of smartphones and social media, there are fewer barriers to entry to become a maker. Such makers want a channel which allows them to build their identity and brand, and control their consumer experience.
Ping is currently operational in four metro cities -- Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurugram, and Hyderabad, and has more than 400 active residential communities on its platform and plans to add over 3,000 more. The makers include more than 500 businesses and individuals across segments, including baked goods, agricultural produce, pet supplies, home decor and more.
Mukul Arora, Partner, Elevation Capital, added, "We are seeing a very strong emergence of makers of unique products across a number of categories such as fruits and vegetables, F&B, beauty, etc. Urban consumers are also increasingly opting for such unique products over mass-produced alternatives. Ping is making it really easy for consumers to discover and buy from these makers, while enabling makers' to sell, build a brand and create and maintain a loyal customer base. We are really excited to partner with Vartika in this journey to unlock a new market."