LoveLocal, hyper-local e-commerce platform empowering local retailers, has raised $18m or Rs 143 crores, in a pre-Series B investment round that features prominent investors and founders globally.
The round, which was oversubscribed, is led by Vulcan Capital, and also includes participation from Klarna Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski’s Flat Capital, Alumni Ventures Group and Commerce Ventures . Angel investors Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder of Truecaller, Sriram Krishnan, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Anna Lambert, Director of Product Acceleration at Shopify, Sarah Jones Simmer, CEO of Found and ex-COO of Bumble, Arpan Sheth, Senior Partner at Bain and Company, and others also participated.
Existing investors Blume Ventures, AC Ventures, HenkelX Ventures, Chiratae Ventures also invested - with Candy Ventures significantly increasing their ownership in this round.
Launched in January 2020, LoveLocal is revolutionising how India shops by empowering local retailers and digitising the $1.1 trillion unorganised retail market it said in a press release.
Akanksha Hazari, Founder & CEO of LoveLocal, said: “Local businesses account for more than 40 percent of jobs in India. LoveLocal is bridging the technology gap to ensure that our local retailers not just survive but thrive in India 2.0 and beyond.”
LoveLocal Retail Partner Mohd. Umar, Owner of Haji Iqbal Store, said: “My store joined LoveLocal in October 2020. This was a critical time when customers were scared of physically coming to the store. After I set up my shop online on LoveLocal, I saw 60 oercent growth in my shop’s business through the pandemic. Even now these customers continue to purchase from home. Customer behaviour has changed permanently. A lot of my earlier customers have also switched to digital.”
Anna Lambert, Director of Product Acceleration at Shopify says: “LoveLocal’s mission to empower local businesses deeply resonates with me. Based on my experience in this domain, I have confidence in LoveLocal’s product and business model. I have met many founders and interviewed thousands of people - and in getting to know Akanksha and the team it’s clear they have the smarts, experience and grit to successfully build a high impact business at scale. I am excited to be a part of LoveLocal’s journey.”
Founded by Akanksha Hazari, LoveLocal’s pre-Series B marks the largest round ever raised by a solo woman tech founder in India. This represents a huge step forward in the rapidly growing Indian startup ecosystem and comes at a time when less than 1 percent of Indian VC deals are invested in women-only led companies.
“I am grateful to be a part of this milestone in the Indian startup ecosystem. For the tech and startup world to truly build businesses that serve society, they need to reflect society. Just as I walk the road that has been paved by the women that have come before me, I hope that this will inspire more women and girls to lead, and male allies to champion them,” Akanksha shares.
In the next 3 years, LoveLocal aims to take 1 million local retailers online and power the largest hyper-local e-commerce platform in India. It will use the Pre-Series B funds to invest in product development, key hires, and accelerate growth and expansion across Tier 1-3 cities across India. LoveLocal will continuously expand the digitisation solutions it provides its retail partners to grow their businesses. Hazari added, “The future of Indian retail is, and must be, local.”