Home Business LoveLocal Raises $18m Pre-Series B in the largest round ever raised by a Solo Woman Tech Founder in India

LoveLocal Raises $18m Pre-Series B in the largest round ever raised by a Solo Woman Tech Founder in India

LoveLocal Raises $18m Pre-Series B in the largest round ever raised by a Solo Woman Tech Founder in India

Mumbai based LoveLocal Raises $18m Pre-Series B in the largest round ever raised by a Solo Woman Tech Founder in India

Mumbai, Thursday, 28th October 2021

LoveLocal, India’s leading hyper-local e-commerce platform empowering local retailers, has raised $18m or INR 143 crores, in a Pre-Series B investment round that features some of the most prominent investors and founders globally. The round, which was oversubscribed, is led by Vulcan Capital, and also includes participation from Klarna Founder & CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski’s Flat Capital, Alumni Ventures Group and Commerce Ventures . Angel investors Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder of Truecaller, Sriram Krishnan, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Anna Lambert, Director of Product Acceleration at Shopify, Sarah Jones Simmer, CEO of Found & ex-COO of Bumble, Arpan Sheth, Senior Partner at Bain & Company, and others also participated.

Existing investors Blume Ventures, AC Ventures, HenkelX Ventures, Chiratae Ventures also invested – with Candy Ventures significantly increasing their ownership in this round.

Tommy Teo, Managing Director & Head of South Asia at Vulcan Capital, says: “We couldn’t be prouder and more excited to back LoveLocal. LoveLocal’s rapid growth in the past 18 months is a testament to the team’s singular focus on empowering local retailers and a demonstration of the resilience and relevance of the neighbourhood store in the daily lives of Indian homes across the country. We look forward to partnering with Akanksha and the team in this next phase of growth.”

Launched in January 2020, LoveLocal is revolutionising how India shops by empowering local retailers and digitising the $1.1 trillion unorganised retail market. LoveLocal has grown 40x since inception and currently serves over 35+ cities and 1300+ pincodes, across India. In just 18 months, LoveLocal has signed up more than 100,000 retailers and fulfilled more than 1 million orders. It continues to grow rapidly at 35%+ month on month. LoveLocal has India’s largest online catalogue of daily essential items with 55,000 products sold across 145 categories.

Akanksha Hazari, Founder & CEO of LoveLocal, says: “We have always believed in the local retailer. They win on every consumer consideration: service, quality, product selection, value, credit, free delivery and speed of delivery. Local businesses also account for more than 40% of jobs in India. They are a bedrock of our communities and the economy. LoveLocal is bridging the technology gap to ensure that our local retailers not just survive but thrive in India 2.0 and beyond.”

In a world where most e-commerce platforms are displacing local retail, LoveLocal is here to empower local businesses and level the playing field. Focused on the hyperlocal daily needs categories i.e. grocery, chemist, fresh fruits & vegetables, dairy, & more – LoveLocal provides a full stack digitisation platform to local retailers that takes their businesses online, strengthens their consumer relationships, and provides actionable insights so that retailers can manage their businesses more effectively. LoveLocal consumers can now discover their entire neighbourhood in the palm of their hand and enjoy a complete e-commerce shopping experience powered by their favourite local shops.

LoveLocal Retail Partner Mr. Mohd. Umar, Owner of Haji Iqbal Store, shares: “My store joined LoveLocal in October 2020. This was a critical time when customers were scared of physically coming to the store. After I set up my shop online on LoveLocal, I saw 60% growth in my shop’s business through the pandemic. Even now these customers continue to purchase from home. Customer behaviour has changed permanently. A lot of my earlier customers have also switched to digital. LoveLocal is the reason my business survived Covid second wave, and will continue to succeed in this new digital era.”

Indian retail is powered by more than 60 million local businesses. They represent 95% of the $1.1trillion retail market. Despite the launch of e-commerce and new big box retail options, this unorganised market has more than doubled in the past 5 years and 86% of the average Indian consumer’s shopping continues to happen locally, within 3-4 kilometers of home, at local neighbourhood shops. As over a billion Indian consumers move online, these local shops must transform to serve this new digitally-driven shopper.

Anna Lambert, Director of Product Acceleration at Shopify says: “LoveLocal’s mission to empower local businesses deeply resonates with me. Based on my experience in this domain, I have confidence in LoveLocal’s product and business model. I have met many founders and interviewed thousands of people – and in getting to know Akanksha and the team it’s clear they have the smarts, experience and grit to successfully build a high impact business at scale. I am excited to be a part of LoveLocal’s journey.”

Largest investment round ever raised by a solo woman tech founder in India.

Founded by Akanksha Hazari, LoveLocal’s Pre-Series B marks the largest round ever raised by a solo woman tech founder in India. This represents a huge step forward in the rapidly growing Indian startup ecosystem and comes at a time when less than 1% of Indian VC deals are invested in women-only led companies. Moreover, the country is grappling with a sharply declining female labour force participation rate, the lowest in South Asia.

Sarah Jones Simmer, CEO of Found & ex-COO of Bumble says: “It’s an honor to back Akanksha and LoveLocal. We first connected when I was leading Bumble’s launch in India, and I was immediately struck by her vision, passion, and understanding of the market opportunity. To participate in this groundbreaking round is especially inspiring to me given the chance I had to work for Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble’s Founder and CEO, whose journey has helped pave the way for other women leaders around the world.”

Akanksha is a Princeton University and Cambridge University alumnus. A successful second time entrepreneur, she has won multiple awards and has 10+ years business experience across India, MENA and the USA. Akanksha is the only Indian tech entrepreneur to be featured in the book that celebrates 100 global women leaders who are redefining power, alongside Melinda Gates, Serena Williams, Greta Thunberg, and many other inspiring women. Akanksha speaks six languages and is a former competitive squash player ranked among the top 20 junior players internationally.

“I am grateful to be a part of this milestone in the Indian startup ecosystem. For the tech and startup  world to truly build businesses that serve society, they need to reflect society. Just as I walk the road that has been paved by the women that have come before me, I hope that this will inspire more women and girls to lead, and male allies to champion them,” Akanksha shares.

Backed by some of the best founders in the world

Some of the most successful founders in the world are investing in LoveLocal. Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Founder of Klarna, the largest BNPL company in the world, and Nami Zarringham, Co-Founder of Truecaller, which recently went public, both joined LoveLocal’s Pre-Series B investment round. Kevin Aluwi, the Co-Founder & CEO of Gojek also invested in LoveLocal’s Series A round.

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Founder & CEO of Klarna, says: “LoveLocal is the most exciting business I have seen in a long time. We had the opportunity to meet Akanksha in person, and I found her extremely impressive. Akanksha is the rare type of entrepreneur that I feel I meet at most once every 5 years. On behalf of Flat Capital, I am thrilled and honoured to invest, and delighted to be a part of the LoveLocal journey.”

Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder of Truecaller, says: “LoveLocal has both vision and execution, backed by an experienced team with years working directly with local businesses on the ground. At Truecaller, I’ve seen first hand how much potential there is in India. I believe I’m backing the right founder and team with LoveLocal that can realise the transformation of Indian retail.”

In the next 3 years, LoveLocal aims to take 1 million local retailers online and power the largest hyper-local e-commerce platform in India. It will use the Pre-Series B funds to invest in product development, key hires, and accelerate growth and expansion across Tier 1-3 cities across India. LoveLocal will continuously expand the digitisation solutions it provides its retail partners to grow their businesses. Hazari added, “The future of Indian retail is, and must be, local.”

Nick Candy, Founder of Candy Ventures, says: “Candy Ventures believes LoveLocal has the potential to become India’s next big success story. Akanksha is a truly mission-driven, visionary founder and has the potential to change the face of retail in India with her ambitious plans to digitise the trillion-dollar unorganised retail market. Candy Ventures looks forward to supporting Akanksha and her team in their ongoing journey to becoming one of the most successful technology businesses in India.”

Karthik Reddy, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Blume Ventures, says: “Akanksha has been an incredible founder, in building and rallying her team to intensely focus on the smaller local retailer, who evolved rapidly post Jio and wants to serve their customer base better. The strength of LoveLocal’s core offering around retailer’s needs is apparent in its rapid growth, strong product adoption, and high user stickiness.”

About LoveLocal

Founded in January 2020, LoveLocal is a hyperlocal e-commerce marketplace that enables local retailers to sell daily essentials by registering on its online shopping portal. The company’s mission is to digitize and organize local retailers to power the largest retail network in the world and deliver the neighborhood shopping experience of the future. For more information, please visit: www.lovelocal.in


About Akanksha Hazari, CEO & Founder of LoveLocal

Akanksha is a Princeton University and Cambridge University alumnus. A successful second time entrepreneur, Akanksha has 10+ years business experience across India, MENA and the US. She has won multiple awards including, the Hult Prize 2011 where she was awarded $1million by former US President Bill Clinton and the Vital Voices Global Economic Empowerment Award 2016 from Secretaries of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madeleine Albright, and is named / recognised in US Senate Resolution 418. Akanksha is the only Indian tech entrepreneur to be featured in the book – “100 Women Using their Power to Empower”. The book celebrates 100 global women leaders who are redefining power, in which Akanksha is featured alongside Melinda Gates, Serena Williams, Greta Thunberg, and many other inspiring women. Akanksha speaks six languages and is a former competitive squash player ranked among the top 20 junior players internationally. For more information, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/akanksha-hazari-7835963/


About Vulcan Capital

Vulcan Capital is the multi-billion-dollar investment arm of Vulcan Inc., the company founded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen. Vulcan Capital is focused on generating long-term value appreciation across a portfolio which spans diverse industry sectors and investment asset classes, ranging from early-stage venture investments to public equity value investing, leveraged buyouts, acquisitions, special situations, and private credit. For more information, please visit: https://capital.vulcan.com/


About Flat Capital

Flat Capital invests in entrepreneurs who have the ability to create great companies. Founded in 2013 by Nina and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, they are a long-term investor. As of the 20th of October, Flat Capital is listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market under the ticker “FLAT”. For more information, please visit: https://www.flatcapital.com/


About Candy Ventures

Candy Ventures is a portfolio of global companies and investments funded by British entrepreneur Nick Candy. Current investments are focused in tech and artificial intelligence, biotech, fintech, luxury fashion and sports, media and entertainment, sustainability and natural resources. For more information, please visit: www.candyventures.lu


About Alumni Ventures Group

Alumni Ventures is designed to meet the needs of the individual accredited investor, they provide smart, simple venture portfolios with community. Their team of 50+ VCs backs high-growth ventures across stages and sectors. Last year, Alumni Ventures was the most active venture firm in the US (Pitchbook League Tables, 2020). For more information, please visit: https://www.avgfunds.com/


About Commerce Ventures

Commerce Ventures are a unique and strategic blend of leading entrepreneurs, senior executives and corporates from their focus sectors (mobile, retail / e-commerce, payments, fin-tech, insurance). In addition to providing capital, they are committed to helping their portfolio companies succeed in scaling their commerce-related innovations. For more information, please visit: https://commerce.vc/


About Blume Ventures

Blume is an early-stage venture fund that backs startups with both funding as well as active mentoring. They typically invest in tech-led startups, led by founders who are obsessed with solving hard problems, uniquely Indian in nature, and impacting large markets. Their vision is to be the leading platform that sources, funds, nurtures and creates value for India’s brightest young startups. For more information, please visit: www.blume.vc


About Chiratae Ventures

Launched in 2006, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors (formerly IDG Ventures India Advisors) is India’s leading technology Venture Capital funds advisor, advising over US$ 700 million of assets across 4 funds since inception across various offshore and domestic funds. 


About AC Ventures

AC Ventures is the corporate venture organisation for Arca Continental. It invests corporate funds directly in start-up companies and also acts as an LP in Venture Capital Funds. Direct investments have a strategic rationale for AC and, frequently, are linked to the company’s current operational capabilities. For more information, please visit: www.arcacontal.com


About HenkelX Ventures

Henkel operates globally with a well-balanced and diversified portfolio. The company holds leading positions with its three business units in both industrial and consumer businesses thanks to strong brands, innovations and technologies. Henkel X Ventures manages the global venture activities of Henkel’s consumer goods businesses Beauty Care and Laundry & Home Care. 



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