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Social e-commerce platform CityMall pulls in seed funding
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CityMall, a social e-commerce platform, said Tuesday it has raised $3 million (Rs 22.15 crore) in its seed funding round led by multi-stage venture capital firm Elevation Capital.

Waterbridge Ventures and Arun Tadanki’s private syndicate on angel platform LetsVenture also participated in this funding round, CityMall said in a statement.

CityMall, which is operated by Cmunity Innovations Pvt. Ltd, will use the fresh capital to build its network of ‘community leaders’, expand its supply chain for smaller towns and strengthen its core team.

The startup was founded by Angad Kikla and Naisheel Verdhan last year. It seeks to create a chain of virtual stores on WhatsApp for the next 300 million internet users in India through a network of neighbourhood community leaders.

Kikla said that community-led e-commerce is unique as it solves two distinct problems of creating a layer of trusted community leaders and addressing the two most significant cost elements – customer acquisition and logistics.

Verdhan said that CityMall’s vernacular app enables community leaders to grow their business on the platform while offering a simple and convenient experience for end consumers.

Kikla is an IIT and IIM alumnus and previously founded two companies: business-to-business marketplace Hawkr and BeatRoot Innovations. Verdhan is an IIT-Roorkee graduate and founded two companies before starting CityMall. Another co-founder Divij Goyal left the startup earlier in February, according to his LinkedIn profile.

CityMall said it recorded 12 times growth in its revenue in the past six months and entered smaller towns in Haryana such as Rewari, Dharuhera, Pataudi, Sonipat and Bahadurgarh.

Prior to this funding, CityMall had raised capital from a clutch of angel investors including Citrus Pay founder Jitendra Gupta and Xiaomi executive Alvin Tse in October last year.

The investment in CityMall indicates continued interest in the broader social commerce space, with several transactions having taken place in the last couple of years.

Meesho is the most heavily funded startup in the space as it bagged $125 million funding in a round led by South African tech investor Naspers in August last year. Social networking giant Facebook Inc., which had invested in Meesho earlier, also participated in that round.

Earlier this month, GlowRoad raised Rs 52 crore in funding from a clutch of existing investors.

In September, coupons and cashback platform CashKaro raised around Rs 73.4 crore in a Series B round led by Korea Investment Partners. The company said it would use a part of the capital to expand its social commerce arm, EarnKaro.

In August, video and commerce platform Trell raised Rs 85 crore in a Series A funding round led by KTB Network, a South Korea-based financial services group. Samsung Ventures, Sequoia accelerator programme Surge, Fosun RZ Capital, and WEH Ventures also took part in the round.

In November last year, Chiratae Ventures and SAIF Partners led a Rs 64-crore Series B round in WMall, which also counts Venture Highway among its investors.

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