DealShare, a startup in India that has built an e-commerce platform for middle- and low-income consumer groups, announced Tuesday that it has raised $ 21 million in a new round of funding to expand its presence in the second largest internet marketplace to expand the world.
WestBridge Capital headed the Series C round of the three-year startup based in Bangalore. Alpha Wave Incubation, a venture fund managed by Falcon Edge Capital, Z3Partners and existing investors Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network India, also participated in the round, bringing DealShare's previous donation to $ 34 million.
DealShare started its journey the day Walmart took over Flipkart, the startup's founder and CEO Vineet Rao said at a recent virtual conference. Rao even said that as Amazon and Flipkart had managed to create a market in the urban Indian cities, much of the nation was still undersupplied. There was an opportunity for someone to step in, he said.
The startup started as an e-commerce platform on WhatsApp, Hundreds of products were offered to consumers there. It wasn't long before a large pattern of consumption became apparent, Rao said. People were only interested in buying items that were being sold at discounted prices, Rao said.
Over time, this idea has become part of DealShare's core offering. Today, by offering discounts and cashbacks, consumers are encouraged to share deals on products with their friends. The startup, which has since launched its own app and website, is now active in over two dozen cities in India.
Consumers wanted products that were relevant to them and they wanted to buy those items at a price that offered the most value for their money, Rao said. “We focused on locally produced items rather than national brands. Even today, 80% to 90% of the items we sell are made locally, ”he said.
“We have started to build a network of these suppliers. It was very difficult because none of these people felt like joining modern retail like e-commerce. Some of them had tried working with e-commerce companies before but the experience was poor, ”he said.
Sandeep Singhal, Co-Founder and General Manager of WestBridge, said in a statement: “The majority of the Indian population currently lives in non-metros and there are great business opportunities in these regions. The buying pattern of the low and middle income group is different, especially in smaller markets, and DealShare seems to have understood the nuances very well. We are very impressed with how the team has grown over the past two years while we continue to focus heavily on low cost, high impact models, ”he said
The startup says it has spent the past 18 months improving its finances and is nearing profitability. Now the company plans to invest in its technology stack and expand its platform to 100 cities in five Indian states over the next year. It wasn't disclosed how many customers it serves today, but work is underway to reach 10 million customers and achieve an annual GMV of $ 339 million.