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Dukaan raises $11 million to help merchants in India set up online stores

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

The new 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 provides 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 quick. “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,” said Suumit Shah, co-founder and chief executive of Dukaan, in an interview with TechCrunch.

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

Dukaan is largely 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.

A slide from Dukaan’s deck to investors, shared by one to TechCrunch.

In recent years, scores of firms including Reliance, Amazon and Flipkart have attempted to disrupt their business — to little to no success. In fact, most of these firms 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 set up their digital presence.

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

The startup’s eponymous offering charges individuals or businesses as little as 699 Indian rupees, or $9.5, per year for its services. It also offers some premium plans such as Dukaan Infinity — as part of which it helps 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 customers 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 said.

“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,” said Akshay Bhushan, Partner at Lightspeed, in a statement.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

Asia,Funding,Carl Pei,Dukaan,india,lightspeed,ritesh agarwal

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