UAE investment firm backs online office supplies startup Aahaa Stores
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Chennai-based Aahaa Stores Pvt. Ltd, an online business-to-business (B2B) store for office supplies, has raised $2 million (around Rs 13.6 crore) in a fresh round of funding from UAE-based investment group Calega, a company statement said.

The company will use the capital to upgrade its technology, expand business across new verticals and geographies, develop better infrastructure by bringing in more independent service providers and hiring talent, the statement added.

“Using these funds, we plan to expand the full range of curated assortment of products across all major brands in stationery, printed materials, housekeeping, electronics and IT, food and beverage, packaging and company-specific consumables,” Asokan Sattanathan, founder and chairman of Aahaa Stores, said in the press note.

The firm last raised funds in September last year. It raised $1 million in a second pre-Series A round from YourNest Angel Fund.

In March 2016, the startup had raised $1 million in its first pre-Series A round led by YourNest Angel Fund.

The startup was founded in 2013 by Sattanathan, Rajaraman Sundaresan, who is the chief executive officer, and Harish Kannan, who is the chief operating officer.

The portal allows enterprise customers to buy stationery, housekeeping material, repair and maintenance products, electronics, appliances, custom-made products, imported merchandise and corporate gifts.

Its clients include IndusInd Bank, Bosch, TCS, Wipro, Equitas, ITC, Samsung, Yes Bank, Ashok Leyland, TVS Credit, and Chola.

Calega Resources Limited is the investment management arm of a diversified group with interests in energy, technology and consulting services. “We were looking at investing in India and narrowed down our choices to startups that use technology in a unique way to make life simpler for business, industry and government. We should be able to assist Aahaa grow beyond the boundaries of India,” said Sanjay Pahwa, director at Calega, in the statement.

Calega said it is currently evaluating various opportunities and will invest $1-5 million. It has identified technology, consumer and health-tech as areas of potential investment.

Mumbai-based Candle Partners were the exclusive financial advisors to Calega for the current transaction.

Deals in B2B e-commerce

Early this month, ShakeDeal, a B2B bulk-sourcing online marketplace for industrial goods and raw materials, was acquired by US-based private equity firm Vora Ventures for an undisclosed amount.

In May this year, Bizongo, a B2B marketplace for packaging materials, raised $22 million (Rs 146.7 crore) in a Series B round from B Capital and International Finance Corporation (IFC). Existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures also participated in the round.

In April, online classifieds company Info Edge (India) Ltd, which runs portals such as Naukri.com, invested Rs 3 crore ($460,000) in ShoeKonnect for a 20% stake in the online B2B marketplace for footwear.

In January, WOTU, which operates a B2B e-commerce portal for food and beverages, raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round of funding from Claris Capital and Mumbai Angels Network.

However, in May this year, TechCircle reported that Bengaluru-based Sabonka Technologies Pvt Ltd, which runs B2B e-commerce platform Shotang, scaled down its operations while a co-founder left to join another firm.

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