Rural India’s B2B eCommerce platform accelerates expansion into new geographies to unlock the next wave of Indian consumption
PUNE: ElasticRun, a B2B eCommerce platform enabling access to millions of rural Indian Kirana shops, announced the closing of a US$330 million funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The latest round also saw participation from Chimera and Innoven along with long-term investor Prosus Ventures.
The investment will help the company expand its rural reach into 30+ states, enabling over a million Kirana (neighborhood retail) shops to conveniently access big consumer brands and food brands through its e-commerce platform. ElasticRun will also use the funds to expand its services nationally like credit facilities for retailers to enhance the value and experience offered by the Kirana stores to their customers.
India has over 12 million Kirana shops across the country of which 10 million are in rural markets. ElasticRun is democratizing physical and digital access to Indian consumers by helping businesses reach traditionally unserved consumers through neighborhood retail stores across the deepest rural pockets of India. These rural stores remain underserved by consumer brands due to the high-cost structures of traditional distribution networks, rural Kirana stores’ long distances from the cities, and small order sizes.
Sandeep Deshmukh, ElasticRun co-founder, and CEO said,
“We are proud of the transformational impact of our business, which has empowered rural store owners and consumers across the length and breadth of the country. Through the pandemic, our robust logistics and channel framework ensured uninterrupted supply and support to our rural Kirana partners. We have been growing at a rapid pace and are consistently expanding our store network across India. We are delighted to have Softbank and Goldman Sachs join us in the journey to bring more rural Kirana retailers and rural consumers to participate in the digital revolution underway in India.”
ElasticRun estimates that sales in Kirana stores across rural markets will grow to US$600 billion over the next five years. The company has grown rapidly over the years and continues to bring the power of e-commerce to rural consumers through its tech-first approach to serving this segment. The platform provides more than 300 brands with actionable insights by unlocking data about rural commerce.
Narendra Rathi, Vice President, SoftBank Investment Advisers, said,
“We have always been excited to back founders who provide unique solutions for the local market. With its deep reach in rural India and tech-led platform, we believe ElasticRun is well-positioned to unlock the next wave of e-commerce. We have been closely tracking the company and have been impressed by their growth, focus on unit economics, and value creation for Kirana store partners & brands.”
Rajat Sood, a managing director at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said,
“We are strong believers of the company’s vision to transform India’s supply chain for Kirana stores using technology and have been impressed by the execution capabilities of the team. We look forward to supporting ElasticRun as it continues to grow and bring positive impact to its customers.”
Ashutosh Sharma, Head of Investments, India, Prosus Ventures, said,
“At Prosus Ventures, we partner businesses that are using technology to solve big societal needs. ElasticRun is enabling huge transformation in rural India’s supply-chain ecosystem. The team has continued to build steadily while focusing on operational metrics and enhancing the value proposition for their partners. We are proud to be a long-term partner and continue to support their growth ambitions.”