m.Paani, a startup into helping retailers digitise their transactions, has raised its Series A funding of $5.5 million (₹39 crore). The key investors in this round have been AC Ventures and Henkel, Candy Ventures, along with a number of angel investors; Kevin Aluwi, CEO and Co-Founder of Gojek, Ryu Suliawan, Head of Merchants at Gojek, and Suvir Varma, Board Member and Senior Advisor at Bain & Company, Private Equity. Existing investors, Chiratae Ventures and Blume Ventures have also participated in funding the startup in this round.
The business model adopted by m.Paani evolves around the local retailer, usually referred to as the mom & pop stores. The startup which is characterised as a Google Launchpad and Google Studio company, works with these retailers in ramping up their stores through holistic adoption of technology. This includes digitising their inventory, developing latest checkout counters, billing and payment receiving options and so on. The guiding philosophy for m.Paani is that the local retailers are in a better position to deliver quality and service to their customers and everything should be done to strengthen their hands.
There are more than 60 million local businesses carrying on retail trade across product and service categories. The offline retail market accounts for over 90% of all retail in the country. Only 10% is done online. In terms of value, the annual business turnover of these 60 million retailers would be in the region of $1.1 trillion. m.Paani is trying to fill the digital divide between the customer who may wish to make payments digitally and the retail outlet not yet ready to accept those payments.
Going beyond payments, m.Paani offers its expertise in developing a network that is shared between the consumers in a locality with the major retail outlets in different categories like grocery stores, pharmacies and so on. This network enables the retailers and customers to reach each other and where possible place orders online. The retailer could make the delivery to the customer and collect the payment.
m.Paani has been able to enlist more than 50,000 retailers and 7 million consumers on its platform. It has developed a retailer product, ‘Aapka Business Saathi’ or ‘A Partner in your Business’ which is basically a full suite solution enabling local shops to go online, digitise their consumer relationships, access business data and insights, and manage their business operations more effectively.