Chennai-based Kobster Eshop Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates e-commerce site for corporate consumables Kobster.com, has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding led by venture capital firm Splice Advisors.
The funds raised will be invested in expanding the company’s footprint in other cities, building technology, as well as for customer acquisition. Currently, the startup is operating in Chennai and Bengaluru. It plans to expand to five-six cities in the next year and a half.
“We aim to consumarise the corporate procurement process and transform the way corporates shop for their office needs by leveraging the power of e-commerce,” said Vineet Neeraj, co-founder, Kobster.
The startup was co-founded by the trio of Neeraj, Karthik R and Mohan G in July 2012. Prior to founding Kobster, Neeraj worked with companies like Cognizant and ArrayShield, while Karthik and Mohan were working at Cognizant and HCL, respectively. The three of them were batch mates and have completed their B Tech from SRM University, Chennai.
Kobster targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs), home offices, startups as well as individual customers. It provides business consumables through its online platform that include basic office supplies, furniture, housekeeping products, and pantry supplies, etc. The startup also provides an exclusive e-procurement platform to corporates, providing features like inventory management, spends management, cost optimisation suggestions, analytics and centralised invoicing.
According to the startup, its clientele includes companies like Hyundai, Bhadra, SabMiller, Hospira, ABB, BGR Energy and LatentView. It is also planning to explore a number of business specific products like industrial supplies, medical supplies, etc in the future.
Kobster is incubated at PayPal Start Tank Chennai.
In this space, the company faces competition from iThinkStore.com and Rocket Internet-backed Hank Retail Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates OfficeYes.com, a B2B site for office supplies & stationery, among others. Additionally, Staples has also been around for a while, but sans an online presence.
Hyderabad-based Splice Advisors provides venture financing to companies in the agriculture, education, healthcare and high-tech companies. In September last year, Simplify Wellness Inc., which operates under the brand DoctorC, an online platform that enables consumers to compare prices and quality across diagnostic centres and also to book appointments, had bagged Rs 2.5 crore (over $400,000) from Splice Advisors and Leviathan Investments.
The round also saw participations from a group of HNIs, including Sanjay Jesrani, founder and CEO of Go North Ventures and a member of Indian Angel Network.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)