Mumbai-based, an online shopping store which deals in grocery and daily essentials, has raised undisclosed angel funding from some angel investors. The investors include Jayesh Parekh (co-founder of Sony Entertainment Television), Deepak Shahdadpuri (head of Beacon India Private Equity Fund), Patrick Turner (he runs the entrepreneurship department at INSEAD), Jungle Ventures, Sanjay Kamlani (co-CEO of Pangea3), and some senior Google and McKinsey executives.
Right now operational only in Mumbai, the online store sells a varied range of products including groceries, beverages, snacks, health foods, cleaning supplies, electrical equipment, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hair care, dental care, cosmetics, baby products, stationery and healthcare products. A portion of the money will also go into marketing, customer acquisition and for developing technology. Ekstop also plans to set shop in Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata in the next six months.
Talking exclusively to VCCircle, Ekstop co-founder & ceo Sumat Chopra said, “We are operational since the last one month and saw 80 percent of our customers returning to use our service at least once a week.”
Talking about how different Ekstop is from other offline stores, Chopra said, “We provide our customers great professional service and ease of use that would otherwise require the customers to wait in long messy checkout queues, carry heavy bags, and waste petrol and weekend entertainment time shopping for grocery in malls.”
The online store also offers a fast delivery service called Super EkSpress, which delivers products in 1-4 hours. Customers would also be able to make order on phone. “Our USP is we are adding the deals, discounts and prices of the supermarkets along with the kirana store quick-delivery model,” he said.
Currently, Ekstop is a team of 30 and it intends increase the headcount to 200 in two to three months. Handling a range of over 3,000 stock keeping units (SKUs), Ekstop has partnered with over 500 brands. Its average basket size is Rs 1,300-1,400 and intends to do 300-400 orders a day in two months. In Mumbai alone it will aim to have 4-6 warehouses. The company plans to have four warehouses in other cities where it would start operations.
Ekstop, started by Sumat Chopra and Shaurya Mehta in May 2011, went live only last month. An alumnus of INSEAD business school and Carnegie Mellon University Chopra, has previously worked with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft Corporation, and Tata Capital.
Mehta (co-founder & COO), who is also from INSEAD and associated with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has formerly worked with Deloitte and GE Healthcare.
Ekstop will devote 5-10 per cent of its total budget in marketing. Chopra said, “We will have both localised marketing efforts in neighbourhoods, local coffee shops and malls. Other than this, we will also use Facebook and Radio as a strong mass driver. We might go the print way soon, but will avoid using the TV medium.”
The platform has features such as Search by List which enables customers to search for their entire shopping list in one click, SMS integration by which customers get notified when the order is 30 minutes to an hour away and My Lists, which allows the customer to re-order items from their previous orders in once click.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)