B2B rural e-commerce startup VilCart said it has raised $18 million (Rs 144 crore) in a Series A round led by Asia Impact SA. The round also saw the participation of Nabventures Fund and Texterity Pvt. Ltd.
The Bengaluru-based startup said it aims to expand its operations to the entire southern India by 2024, launch new products and support initiatives launched towards rural women entrepreneurs.
Founded in 2018 by Prasanna Kumar and Amith S Mali, VilCart is a rural B2B e-commerce platform that connects farmer producer organizations (FPO), brands, rural small and medium enterprises (SMEs), manufacturers to kirana stores present in the villages through their supply chain and logistic facilities.
Apart from sourcing, logistics, technology, marketing, and branding partners of rural Kirana stores, VilCart offers a local language mobile app for rural kirana stores and consumers. The application's AI/ML capabilities helps kirana owners with inventory management and credit management, among other services.
The startup began with one district in Karnataka and currently has reached 85,000 Kirana stores in 30,000 villages, covering 29 districts in Karnataka and one in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu respectively. VilCart saw a 2.6x increase in its revenue to $25 million (Rs 203 crore) in FY22, up from $9.6 million (Rs 78 crore) in FY21.
Christian Banno, Asia Impact SA, said, “VilCart focuses on supporting and strengthening the rural ecosystem, and the emphasis on technology makes Vilcart the right partner for Asia Impact SA and gives us confidence they will continue to contribute to the growth of rural India.”
The fundraising by VilCart comes at a time when a slew of tech startups focused on rural markets have piqued the substantial interest of institutional investors.
In January, Bengaluru-based agritech firm Cropin Technologies raised $13.7 million (Rs 113 crore) in a funding round involving Google and JSR Corporation, along with existing investors ABC World Asia and Chiratae Ventures.
In December, DeHaat raised $60 million in a Series E funding round co-led by existing investors Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Belgium’s Sofina Ventures and in June 2022 startup Hesa raised $2.3 million (around Rs 17.7 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by Venture Catalysts.