Tuesday 25 February 2020

eCommerce paltform Near.Store raises $300,000 seed fund

eCommerce paltform Near.Store raises $300,000 seed fundBENGALURU: Near.Store, a plug and play ecommerce platform for offline stores has raised $300,000 seed funding from Sauce.vc, an early stage consumer focused VC fund and other individual investors.

Near.Store enables local stores to go online, digitize their inventory, develop new consumer relationships and access business data and insights to make their business more efficient.

Ashish Kumar founder Near.Store said, "There is a huge potential for the right product, one that doesn’t need a change in behavior at the store. India has over 12 million kirana (corner) stores, which contribute to over 90% of the consumer goods sales, dwarfing both modern retail and online that together."

All a store-owner has to do is plug the Near.Store dongle into their billing machine or mobile phone and the patent pending platform gets their inventory online immediately. Once plugged in, the AI and ML algorithms on the platform take over and manage the various aspects of discovery (SEO), discovery and hyper-local promotion of the store website.

"Most existing solutions depend on mobile apps, which make the process of going online very difficult and time consuming. In most cases such products get abandoned by store-owners due to the cumbersome nature of their cataloging experience," said Kumar.

Headquartered in Mumbai, Near.Store is led by an experienced team of three digital entrepreneurs with significant experience in digital marketing, digital transformation and fin-tech. The Near.Store team is also supported by Shripad Nadkarni, ex-marketing head of Coca Cola and Johnson & Johnson, founder of Maverix Food Platforms and co-creator of the Paperboat and Epigamia Brands.

Manu Chandra, Founder, Sauce.vc, “The Near.Store team has a deep and intrinsic understanding of the Indian digital space and a proven history of creating and running successful companies. Kirana stores are the mainstay of India's CPG landscape and getting them digital ready in a zero effort manner holds great potential for the entire retail ecosystem.”.

There is significant investor and big-commerce interest in the eCommerce retail space with Amazon, Jio and large Chinese investors announcing large investments in this space. Google recently acquired a similar Ireland based company for an estimated US$163m.

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