Srinagar-based Kashmir Box, an online marketplace for handicrafts, handlooms and local produce, has raised an undisclosed amount in an angel funding round from a clutch of prominent investors, a company statement said.
The investors who participated in the round included Bhairavi Jani, director at supply chain management firm SCA Group, which owns the private air cargo carrier, Blue Dart Aviation; Alok Divatia, former marketing head at consumer electronics firm LG India; Namrata Kaul, former managing director at Deutsche Bank, London; Sohail Hashemi, software development manager at Amazon Web Services in the Bay Area; and Aijaz Saleem, a handicrafts exporter in Kashmir.
Kashmir Box will use the funds to expand its base to include 36,000 local artisans and farmers and launch its existing gourmet food brand Koshur in more than 200 selling points across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, the statement added.
Through its Koshur brand, Kashmir Box works with more than 300 farmers across the Valley who sell healthy food offerings such as saffron, dry fruits, teas and kehwas, spices and herbs and essential oils among others.
Started in early 2015, Koshur had a turnover of Rs 1.1 crore last year alone, with dry fruits, spices, honey and jams being the most sold products.
“I am pleased to invest in Kashmir Box, which is reviving some of the valley’s largest and critical sectors; handicrafts, handlooms and agriculture in a manner that appeals to a global audience,” SCA Group’s Jani said in the statement.
Founded in 2011 by Muheet Mehraj, Kashmir Box is an e-commerce venture that sells authentic Kashmiri food items and local products worldwide.
“We have successfully managed to bring together more than 10,000 local artisans and farmers on our platform that have served a strong 50,000 plus clientele across 40 countries already. Our efforts have resulted in an approximately 40% increase in the wages of our artisans and farmers,” Mehraj said in the statement.
Other ventures in the social impact space that promote the works of local artisans and designers include Direct Create, which secured funding from Jaipur-based Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund in January 2017. The venture is an online and offline business-to-business marketplace that brings together artisans, designers and buyers. It helps local artists sell their products online.
In September 2016, Canvs.in, a community for artists and designers in India, received angel funding from Pratik Seal, former chief marketing officer at Housing.com.