M-commerce startup connecting local grocers JiffStore raises more from existing investors

Bangalore-based JiffStore Software Labs Pvt Ltd, which offers mobile commerce and customer engagement solutions to grocery retailers through JiffStore.com, has raised funds in a follow-on round from Unitus Seed Fund and Times Internet Ltd.

JiffStore will use the money to expand headcount and its network of stores and promote services across various marketing channels, as per a press statement. 

JiffStore will also use funds for improving the technology platform and to expand its operations into Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi. Financial details of the transaction are not disclosed.

JiffStore connects local kirana stores with customers through a mobile application that offers online grocery ordering and home delivery options. Users can use JiffStore's website or mobile app to place orders from their neighbourhood stores and get the items delivered at their doorsteps. A pay-as-you-go platform, the startup says it is clocking 6,000 transactions a month (200 transactions per day) with double-digit growth rates currently.

JiffStore is currently available in over 110 locations in Bangalore.

It had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Unitus Seed Fund in May last year. “We are excited about the prospects of India’s food-tech industry and are confident that JiffStore has a strong platform to capitalise on the opportunity,” said Will Poole, managing partner, Unitus Seed Fund. “JiffStore’s team has demonstrated significant customer traction and we are keen to provide requisite strategic and financial resources to help them catapult to the next phase of growth,” Poole added.

JiffStore was founded in June 2013 by Shameel Abdulla along with three other software engineers Aswin Ram, Satish Basavaraj and Sandeep Sreenath. It directly competes with GrocShop and OrderRabbit. The startup was initially incubated by Kochi-based Startup Village, before being picked by Times Internet’s TLabs for its latest batch.

The online grocery and delivery space has become a preferred investment destination of late. Techcircle.in had recently reported that PremjiInvest, the private investment arm of Wipro chairman Azim Premji, is in discussions to lead a $50 million (Rs 312 crore) Series C investment round in Bangalore-based BigBasket.com. On the other hand, Bangalore-based ZopNow raised $10 million (Rs 61 crore) from Dragoneer Investment Group with participation from existing investors Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Times Internet in April.

Grofers, PepperTap and LocalBanya are the other players to have recently secured funding in this space.

In a consolidation move, Godrej Nature’s Basket acquired online grocer EkStop early this year to push its own hybrid specialty food retail chain.

Not just small startups, but all major horizontal e-commerce players have also jumping into the foray to grab a significant portion of this promising market. While Flipkart is expected to start selling groceries from the middle of this year, Snapdeal has tied up with gourmet food retailer Godrej Nature’s Basket to sell about 400 of its products online. Amazon is testing local deliveries with neighbourhood grocers as partners on its marketplace (starting with Bangalore). Recently, Paytm’s parent company One97 Communication launched a new app named Zip to connect users to both offline as well as online grocers. 

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