Dukaan secures $11 million to aid merchants in India set up online stores

CIOReviewIndia Team | Monday, 06 September 2021, 05:39 IST

DukaanDukaan, a one-year-old Bangalore-based startup that facilitate merchants to build online stores and sell products digitally, said on Monday it has secured $11 million in a new financing round as it looks to broaden its offerings and deepen footprints in the South Asian market.

The novel financing round, a Pre-Series A, was led by New York-headquartered 640 Oxford Ventures. Venture Catalyst, HOF Capital, Old Well Ventures, LetsVenture, 9Unicorns, and existing investors including Lightspeed Partners and Leopard Ventures also participated in the new round.

Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo and Carl Pei of Noting also invested in the new round, said the startup, which has raised over $17 million to date.

Dukaan offers individuals with no-code tools to set up digital presence. Once they have set up the store, they can manually add the inventory they have and start selling to their customers.

The process is straightforward and swift. “First you verify your email address or phone number and then you write your business or store name. And that’s it. Your digital store has been created,” stated Suumit Shah, co-founder and chief executive of Dukaan, in an interview with TechCrunch.

For merchants operating in the grocery space, Dukaan also permits them to take pictures of their inventory and automatically logs them in the digital store. The startup also aids merchants accept digital payments.

Dukaan is mainly tapping into India’s massive neighborhood market. More than 100 million Indians work in what is locally more popular as kiranas. These stores, in many cases, have been operational for decades.

In current years, scores of companies including Reliance, Amazon and Flipkart have attempted to disrupt their business — to little to no success. In fact, most of these companies are now increasingly exploring ways to engage with these merchants.

But the way Dukaan has been developed, it can also be used by restaurants trying to get online, or teachers who are looking to establish their digital presence.

“All these digital stores, by default, get a mydukaan.io website, which they distribute among their customers and friends. This has helped our startup gain more recognition in the market,” stated Shah.

The startup’s professed offering charges individuals or businesses as little as 699 Indian rupees, or $9.5, per year for its services. It also provides some premium plans such as Dukaan Infinity — as part of which it assists businesses conduct marketing on Facebook and Google and helps them rank better on Google search — and Dukaan Enterprise for big businesses.

Retail chain Big Bazaar and German personal care brand Nivea are clients of Dukaan Enterprise. “In case of Nivea, they have scores of distributors across the country. Now they are getting their distributors to sell the vast majority of their inventories to stores through Dukaan to bring more efficiency to the system,” he stated.

“There is a massive white space opportunity to service the commerce needs of India’s 100 million+ small businesses and the Dukaan team with its strong product orientation and deep knowledge of the small business user is ideally positioned to lead the creation of new categories of commerce businesses in India,” stated Akshay Bhushan, Partner at Lightspeed, in a statement.

Dukaan strategies to deploy the fresh funds to build its own payments gateway and also develop plugins to integrate with delivery firms and their aggregators, commented Shah. “So far the story has been about helping people with creating their stores. Now we are working on how to help these people with more things,” he stated.

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