US-based Sorenson Impact leads pre-Series A funding in B2B artisan platform Lal10
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Bhagwandas Retail Pvt. Ltd, which operates business-to-business-focussed artisan platform Lal10, has raised $1.1 million (approximately Rs 8.16 crore at current exchange rates) in pre-Series A funding.

The funding has been led by US-based investment firm Sorenson Impact. Others that participated in the round include angel investors Amit Ranjan of Slideshare and former Flipkart chief technology officer Mekin Maheshwari, Lal10 said in a statement.

Seedfund’s Pravin Gandhi also took part in the exercise, along with Beyond Capital, Pegasus FinInvest, Upaya Ventures, AngelList Collective, and Gemba Capital. The investment was facilitated by BayTree, an online marketplace for impact investing.

The Noida-based firm will use the funds to enhance its technological infrastructure and supply chain apart from building more relationships with international B2B retailers.

“Leveraging technology for the first time amongst rural artisans, small and medium-sized enterprises, Lal10 creates efficiencies in the supply chain by connecting 1,500 artisans to global retailers,” company co-founder Maneet Gohil said.

Separately, Sorenson Foundation managing director Meredith Shields said the impact outfit was confident in its investment because of its approach to raising artisan incomes and creating an impact on the supply chain.

“Their combination of social purpose, strong designs, and excellent customer base gives us high expectations for their ability to create thousands of reliable jobs for rural artisans,” Upaya Ventures CEO Kate Cochran added.

Lal10 was founded in 2014 by Gohil, Sanchit Govil, and Albin Jose. The venture functions on the online marketplace model by connecting Indian artisans with bulk buyers across the globe. It connects artisans from eight low-income states with retailers such as Four Seasons, Anita Dongre, Taneira, and Wills Lifestyle.

In July 2018, the firm raised an undisclosed amount in funding from a clutch of investors. These included TTK Prestige Group chairman TT Jagannathan; Chand Das, former chief executive of stationery and education products at ITC; Akhilesh Krishnan, chief financial officer of Apollo Hospitals; and Suresh Kumar, former managing director of ITC Hotels.

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