Indian start-up Coutloot, which is trying to replicate China's Taobao model in the country, has raised $8 million in pre-series round of funding from entities like Ameba Capital, 9Unicorns and Astarc Ventures among others.
The latest funding is a precursor to a bigger $25 million round to be closed soon.
The Indian venture plans to use the funds for launching more services for retailers including working capital solutions, video-stories commerce features and scaling its B2B supply chain among other things.
Founded by Jasmeet Thind and Mahima Kaul, Coutloot is a platform that allows buyers and sellers to bargain while shopping. It helps sellers list non-MRP, unbranded local market products across fashion, electronics, home decor, sports and other boxed categories that make up for 75 per cent of India's retail sector at present.
Interestingly, Coutloot's best-performing sellers belong to towns like Nagaon in Assam, Basai near Gurugram, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Surat in Gujarat, and Ludhiana in Punjab. Its platform provides business opportunities to over 5 lakh offline retailers, mom-and-pop stores, home sellers, and street hawkers. It has over 20 million listings on its app, which has been downloaded over 7.2 million times.
The company, which has been growing at a CAGR of 300 per cent over the last three years, is looking to clock a platform GMV of Rs 1,000 crore by 2022 on the back of rising demand coming from smaller towns.
“We are trying to create Coutloot as India's Taobao, which is one of the fascinating e-commerce success stories around the world,” said Thind.
Owned by Alibaba, Taobao started operations in 2003 and facilitates small businesses and individual entrepreneurs to open online stores on its platform. Its success can be corroborated by the fact that it is the eighth-most visited website this year.
“Coutloot has best addressed the needs from the rising consumption of 500 million-plus tier 2/3 Indian population, by converging online and offline retail,” said Kevin Wang, Managing Partner, Ameba Capital.
“Coutloot is trying to replicate Taobao's success in India by providing sellers, even in the remotest part of the country, with its supply-chain support, AI-based automatic cataloging, and payments solutions. We are one of the early backers at Coutloot and we always believed that social commerce is the way forward,” said Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Founder, Venture Catalysts.
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