Kae Capital-backed B2B e-commerce portal Wotu raises fresh funds
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WOTU, which operates a business-to-business e-commerce portal for food and beverages, has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round of funding from Claris Capital and Mumbai Angels Network, a top company executive told VCCircle.

Claris Capital is the wholly-owned subsidiary of pharmaceutical firm Claris Lifesciences.

WOTU will primarily use the funds to expand its operations in a new city, Dhruv Sawhney, co-founder and chief executive of the venture told VCCircle, without divulging the timeline of the planned expansion.

“Currently, we are operational in Bangalore. Our next port of call would potentially be either Delhi, Mumbai or Hyderabad. We are still undecided on that,” Sawhney added.

The Bangalore-based firm had previously raised an undisclosed sum in funding from Mumbai-based early-stage investment firm Kae Capital in late 2016, according to media reports.

WOTU, which is an acronym for ‘We Organise The Unorganised’, was founded in 2015 by former Paypal executive Sawhney. The platform essentially serves as a trading portal for food and beverage commodities such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, grains, meat and poultry.

WOTU, operated by Wotu Technologies Pvt Ltd, operates on an inventory-led model. It procures its supplies directly from farmers and producers, using its own inventory prediction mechanism, and stores them in its warehouses. The company’s customer base primarily comprises of standalone restaurants, pubs, large-scale hotels and food chains.

“We involve ourselves in the last mile delivery and fulfillment to the end customers as well through our logistics partners,” Sawhney added.

While Sawhney did not disclose details about the warehousing capacity, he said that the warehouse was big enough to handle the supply needs for around 500 restaurants in Bangalore.

The company’s customers include Swiggy, Lemon Tree Hotels, Watsons, Punjab Grill, The French Loaf, Soda Bottle Opener Wala and Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites, information available on the company’s website revealed.

An electronics engineer by qualification, Sawhney was previously the director of new business initiatives at payments services provider PayPal.

A number of ventures in the broader B2B e-commerce space raised funding in recent months. In November last year, Bangalore-based KrishiHub, an online B2B platform that sells vegetables directly to institutional buyers, raised an undisclosed amount from Villgro Innovation Fund along with a few angel investors and HNIs, media reports stated.

In September 2017, Power2SME, an online buying hub for small and medium enterprises, raised an additional $26 million (Rs 166 crore) in its Series E funding round from existing investors Inventus Capital Partners, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, and Nandan Nilekani .

In the same month, Chennai-based Aahaa Stores Pvt. Ltd, an online B2B store for office supplies, raised $1 million (Rs 6.4 crore) in its second pre-Series A funding round led by YourNest Angel Fund.

In August 2017, Just Buy Live Enterprise Pvt. Ltd, an e-distributor that connects shopkeepers with consumer brands, raised $100 million (Rs 640 crore) in Series B funding from Dubai-based investment banking firm Ali Cloud Investment.

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