Malaysian telecom operator Axiata Group Berhad has invested $16 million in Bangalore-based StoreKing, an e-commerce startup that helps retailers to sell products in small towns, through wholly owned unit Axiata Digital.
This is Axiata Digital's first investment in India, StoreKing said in a statement.
Axiata Group, however, is not new to India; it owns about 20% of Indian telecom operator Idea Cellular Ltd.
StoreKing, run by LocalCube Commerce Pvt. Ltd, ties up with retail store owners in small towns to provide self-service shopping experience to rural shoppers via its digital kiosks.
The company had earlier raised $6 million from Luxembourg-headquartered venture capital firm Mangrove Capital Partners. Mangrove Capital is an early-stage investor in internet and software startups, and counts voice chat app Skype and instant messaging aggregator Nimbuzz among its past portfolio companies.
StoreKing has roughly 16,000 mobile kiosks across south India, and delivers about 150,000 orders every month. The startup plans to reach 100,000 retailers by 2017 and up to 250,000 by 2019. It also plans to expand to Axiata's markets in the near future.
“StoreKing has created a platform that solves the fundamental constraints in our markets with last-mile logistics and payments, while building trust amongst mass-market consumers. It is pivotal in bringing the rest of our consumers into the digital sphere,” said Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO, Axiata Digital.
The Bangalore-based startup was founded in 2012 by Sridhar Gundaiah, a computer science engineer who previously worked with online travel agency Via.com, and Govardhan Krishnappa, who previously worked with Via Adz and MACS Infosolution. Gundaiah had also founded a location-based startup Yulop and in the past worked at Yellow Tag and EDS.
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