India’s local retail market is a riddle that many multi-million-dollar conglomerates have failed to solve. The booming tech companies on the other hand have taken this sector by storm. A testament to the value proposition of this untapped market is the confidence that VCs are showing in retail-tech. A retail technology startup, Olbiz has raised $110,000 pre-seed funding from Trancis Group and the B2B eCommerce platform further raised $125,000 from a slew of Angel investors without a trademark product in its pocket
The startup specializes in providing comprehensive services to the small Kirana shops and general stores. It provides affordable, simple to use, and value-driven packages to these shop owners to overcome the challenges of technology adoption, digitize their operations, and innovate in their business.
The company will leverage the capital infusion to expand its support team, gain newer merchants on its platform, and expand into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
The startup envisions empowering the small Kirana shop owners with the technology and by providing them the logistics capability aims to digitize their operations and boost their business
“Small Kirana shops and general stores are the lifeblood of the economy of tier two and tier three cities. The pandemic has brought them at a critical juncture- trying to bring their business back to the pre-covid era while simultaneously adapting to the ‘new normal’ to cater to the changing trends of consumer demands. The road to healthy recovery for the sector is only possible through a transition of these businesses online. Digital empowerment is the key differentiator. Without that, these small retailers will not be future-ready.” said Devesh Pathak, co-founder Olbiz.
Pathak adds that merchants on Olbiz are already doing more than 3000 transactions on its architecture and it is bound to grow, citing the potential of this untapped market
The central government has also been working with the private sector and other stakeholders, towards the digitalisation of small businesses such as Kirana shops. A digital framework to connect the local Kirana shops with customers, distributors and logistics providers is underway, reported Livemint. Reliance Retail and Amazon are some of the major players who have announced their entry into the sector.
“Synergies of a number of startup companies working in the field of logistics and supply chain management, as well as local administration during these times to deliver essentials at home. In the longer run, it is expected to enable local Kirana stores technologically and bridge the digital divide between them and e-commerce companies,” said a note shared among companies and trade bodies by the DPIIT.
Initiatives like this, aimed at creating a technology ecosystem and finding digital solutions, can boost the revival of the small and medium business industry. The sector can gain immensely by enhancing its supply chain management, garner market data, and analytics. However, most people in the industry lack the essential skill and the resources to capitalize on this opportunity. It is going to be a mammoth task to bring them onboard. It is in such a context that players like Olbiz become relevant. Digital empowerment of small and medium businesses is a must for restarting the Indian economy in the post-pandemic era and achieving the dream of digital India.