29
April
2021
|
05:30
Europe/Amsterdam

ElasticRun raises $75M to accelerate its kirana commerce platform in rural India

Pune, India, 29 April 2021 – ElasticRun, a kirana commerce platform enabling access to potentially ten million rural Indian kirana shops, announced the closing of a US$75 million fundraising round co-led by existing investors, Avataar Ventures and Prosus Ventures, with participation from existing investor Kalaari Capital.

The new investment round will help the company expand its reach further into rural markets, enabling access for big consumer brands, food brands and e-commerce platforms to kirana shops – the cornerstone of Indian retail. India has over 12 million kirana shops across the country. Ten million of these are in rural markets, where sales are expected to grow to US$600 billion over the next five years. These rural stores remain underserviced by consumer brands due to both the high-cost structures of traditional distribution networks and the rural kirana’s long distances from the cities and small order sizes.

The ElasticRun platform delivers a range of physical and digital services to its market of ten million rural Indian kirana shops:

  • Large consumer products and food brands gain large scale, low-cost distribution to these traditionally underserviced stores, significantly increasing their market access.
  • E-commerce companies can reach customers in more remote areas through delivery services provided by the network of rural kirana stores.
  • Banks and financial institutions can get closer to a new set of underserviced small business customers from the rural kirana network.
  • Brands can access deep data insights derived from consumption data from the stores.

So far, more than 100 brands have entrusted ElasticRun and its 500+ distribution stations as their partners for extending their reach further into rural India.

“Over the last 18 months, our consumer products and food business serving the rural kirana shops has seen dramatic growth. The Covid-19 pandemic has enhanced focus for many brands towards rural markets, and our model has enabled us to deliver real value to them and grow our brand basket significantly,” said Sandeep Deshmukh, ElasticRun co-founder and CEO. “At the same time, 2020 has seen one of the biggest growth spikes in our store network and e-commerce business. As we continue to extend our reach deeper into the country through our logistics and transaction platforms, we have also added new capabilities such as credit and analytics layers to the core platform. We expect 2021 to be our biggest year yet and are looking to more than triple our business over the next 12 months.”

“It’s a privilege to co-lead the investment into ElasticRun,” said Mohan Kumar, managing partner at Avataar Venture Partners. “The company’s focus on using deep technology to address the need for commerce marketplaces has helped them scale rapidly, delivering much broader distribution for consumer product brands, while also creating a level playing field for the kirana stores – giving them parity with competing e-commerce players in terms of reach and product selection.”

“We are delighted to see the progress ElasticRun has made since we made our first investment 18 months ago,” said Ashutosh Sharma, head of investments for India at Prosus Ventures. “The ElasticRun team have more than weathered the extreme headwinds caused by the pandemic. Due to their focus on delivering value for all their partners, they are entering 2021 in a solid position for continued growth.”

As part of the Series D, Kalaari Capital is buying shares from the ElasticRun Employee Share Ownership Program (ESOP) – set up to enable ElasticRun’s initial employees to share in the success of the business.

ElasticRun founder Saurabh Nigam commented, “The Series D round is a special one for us, as it marks the first time our early employees can access the tangible benefits of the company’s growth over the last five years. This is a validation of our philosophy of enabling all our colleagues to gain long term wealth creation as a reward for their hard work.” 

Boilerplate

About Prosus:

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities. 

The group is focused on building meaningful businesses in the online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, and education technology sectors in markets including India, Russia, and Brazil. Through its ventures team, Prosus invests in areas including health, logistics, blockchain, and social commerce. Prosus actively seeks new opportunities to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who are using technology to improve people’s everyday lives.

Every day, millions of people use the products and services of companies that Prosus has invested in, acquired or built, including Avito, Brainly, BUXBYJU'S, Bykea, Codecademy, DappRadar, DeHaat, dott, ElasticRun, eMAG, Eruditus, Honor, iFood, Klar, LazyPay, letgo, Meesho, Movile, OLX, PayU, Quick Ride, Red Dot Payment, Remitly, Republic, Shipper, SimilarWeb, Skillsoft, SoloLearn, Swiggy and Udemy.

Hundreds of millions of people have made the platforms of Prosus’s associates a part of their daily lives. For listed companies where we have an interest, please see: Tencent, Mail.ru, Trip.com Group Limited, and DeliveryHero.

Today, Prosus companies and associates help improve the lives of around a fifth of the world's population. 

Prosus has a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam (AEX:PRX) and secondary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (XJSE:PRX) and a2X Markets (PRX.AJ). Prosus is majority-owned by Naspers.

For more information, please visit www.prosus.com.

About ElasticRun:

ElasticRun is the Kirana Commerce Platform, enabling businesses to reach small Kirana stores in the deep rural parts of India. The company acts as an extended arm of FMCG companies’ direct distribution networks in the rural area to provide a set of net new customers to the FMCG companies. ElasticRun also helps eCommerce companies reach customers in far-flung areas through its network of rural Kirana stores and brings banks and financial institutions closer to a new set of underserviced SME customers from its rural Kirana network. ElasticRun was founded by Sandeep Deshmukh, Shitiz Bansal and Saurabh Nigam in 2016. It is backed by Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures), Kalaari Capital and Avataar Ventures.

About Avataar Venture Partners:

Avataar Venture Partners is a growth-stage operational fund—actively partnering with brilliant regional tech-led B2B and SaaS startups to re-invent, scale and transform them into successful, enduring global businesses. Founded in 2019 by two seasoned campaigners in the Indian tech and startup space, partners Mohan Kumar (who led Norwest Venture Partners in India) and Nishant Rao (former global COO of Freshworks and managing director of LinkedIn SE Asia), along with George Thangadurai (bringing extensive experience from his time as an executive at Intel, Borqs and Mobiliya) to form a top-notch partner team. They have also built out a global team of experienced senior executives as advisors to help their companies seamlessly scale. For further information, please visit www.avataar.vc.