Sequoia’s Surge leads funding in Apnaklub; Chai Waale, Giftiicon raise money
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Apnaklub, a Bengaluru-based business-to-business (B2B) wholesale platform specialised in FMCG, has raised $3.5 million in a seed round from Sequoia Capital India’s Surge. This brings the total funds raised so far to $5 million.   

Commenting on funding and future plans of the firm, founder and CEO Manish Kumar said, “With Apnaklub, we are providing wholesalers across the country with an organised supply infrastructure and digital tools to cater to hyper-local needs of shopkeepers and large families around them. This funding will enable us to expand across more rural areas in India as well as increase our range of services and products for our partners.”

Apnaklub addresses the inefficiencies in the rural FMCG distribution system by connecting retailers and wholesalers to provide wider, consistent access to competitively priced goods.  

The firm said it has over 5,000 wholesale partners to date.  

Chai Waale

Chai Waale, a Chennai-headquartered beverage brand, has raised Rs 5 crore ($672,500) from existing and new investors. Actor Nayanthara and director Vignesh Shivan took part in the round. 

The round also saw Sunil Sethia, Sunil Kumar Singhvi, Manish Mardia, UNI-M Network, which is a Mumbai-based angel network, Unlisted Kart LLP (online trading platform of unlisted shares), and Chennai-based Conscience Multi Family office.  

Commenting on the funding round, Chai Waale founder Vidur Maheswari said, “80% of the current funding will be utilised in physical store expansion. We aim to have 35 fully functioning stores by the next year. Rest of the funds will be earmarked for marketing, expansion of back-end systems and managerial team.”  

The firm said it is planning to set up shops in places with high footfall and has managed to steer through digital ordering with specially designed packaging and hygiene protocols.  

Chai Waale offers tea along with sandwiches, noodles, poha and khakhras. The quick service restaurant chain has also added momos and soups to its menu.  

Chai Waale currently has 20 outlets in Anna Nagar, Kilpauk, Sowcarpet, George Town, T Nagar, Saligramam, Egmore, Ritchie Street, Alwarpet, Adyar, Ambattur, Chintamani and SRM University, among others.


Giftiicon, a platform for gifts, has raised $2.3 million (Rs 17 crore) led by Tillerman, BGS International, Ossonco, and Mercury Project.

Commenting on the launch and investment, co-founder and COO Ji Hyun said, “We plan to use these funds to expand our business across India and are in talks with multiple prospective investors from India to be a part of our growth and be our guide to the transforming Indian market.”   

Launched in 2006 by Nakkyun Chong and Ji Hyun Chong, the firm has over 24 million users using this platform in South Korea. Giftiicon enables users to send a gift of their choice in just 30 seconds without necessarily knowing the address of the recipient.  

The company is currently conducting a test run in Bengaluru, its app is on Android and iOS. After completing their pilot project in Bengaluru, they plan to expand to the rest of India by 2022.  

The gifting platform is betting on a 1.3 billion population market with increased earnings and growth in spending patterns.   

Giftiicon simplifies the gifting process by not requiring personal contact information. Gifts can be given or requested, and the recipient can redeem the gift within one month.   

At the time of redemption, users have the option of visiting the store to pick up the gift or request a pick-up via apps like Dunzo which is Giftiicon’s delivery partner.  

Incorporated in 2019 Giftiicon India is based out of Bengaluru.  

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