LoveLocal: Digitizing India’s Retail Market
LoveLocal’s platform gives India’s local retailers an online presence
India is a burgeoning e-commerce hot spot. In addition to boasting the fourth largest retail market globally at $810 billion, the country also ranks second globally in terms of internet and smartphone users. However, although India ranks high in internet activity and retail, most local neighborhood shops (where a majority of retail occurs) do not have an online presence.
Alumni Ventures portfolio company LoveLocal is addressing this opportunity with an easy-to-deploy shop management platform that connects everyday consumers to local shops. Dubbed the “Shopify of India,” the company is bridging the gap between the digital revolution in India and the vast offline retail shop market that still exists.
An E-Commerce Hot Spot
While competitors have tried to launch e-commerce in India by building their warehouses and setting up delivery, LoveLocal has a more innovative approach — it supports local neighborhood shops through inventory and delivery of their products. The company avoids the burden of warehouse and transportation costs and enjoys multiple advantages due to its business model and data science technology. What’s attractive about their approach:
- Multiple revenue streams from its three-way market: shops, consumers, and brands
- Only company to offer complete shop management — including marketing, customer management, order management, and service & support
- Highly valuable, unique product and consumer data that brands can access for a fee
- Grants new retailers access to an existing library of 500,000 products to add to their digital store
LoveLocal’s unique platform and business model give the company a significant opportunity in India’s e-commerce space, which is expected to reach $120 billion by 2025.
LoveLocal’s Impressive Early Traction
LoveLocal operates a similar business model and shares many of the characteristics as popular e-commerce platform Shopify ($170B+ market cap) when it was a startup ten years ago. Since launching in January 2020, LoveLocal has onboarded over 11,000 shops across more than 35 cities and received over 625,000 consumer app installs. For comparison, when Shopify was raising its Series B, the app had around 11,300 retailers on its site.
Each month marks a new milestone for LoveLocal as shops are continuously encouraged to build an online presence due to more consumers using the platform. Recently, the company achieved 50% month-over-month growth in orders fulfilled on its app. LoveLocal is also forming partnerships with third-party e-commerce platforms such as Google Pay, Google Shopping, and Flipkart.
How We Are Involved and Strong Investor Syndicate
Alumni Ventures Nassau Street Ventures (for the Princeton community), Blue Ivy Ventures (for the Yale community), Bascom Ventures (for the Wisconsin community), and Castor Ventures (for the MIT community) participated in LoveLocal’s $18 million funding round. This was the largest round ever raised by a solo woman tech founder in India (CEO Akanksha Hazari). The deal was also added to AV’s Emerging Markets Fund, and part of the allocation was raised via Syndication.
The round was led by Vulcan Capital, the multi-billion dollar investment arm of the late Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen. Vulcan Capital has invested in ~450 companies and successfully exited nearly 200. Other investors included Blume Ventures (India’s largest VC) and Andreessen Horowitz.
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