E-commerce has grown over the years in India, yet it cannot be denied that it is the top metropolitan cities of the country that received the biggest slice of the pie.
Residents of small towns and cities fall behind in this regard owing to a variety of factors, such as lack of trust and familiarity with online transactions, lack of proper online credit among others. And since consumers aren’t that aware, ecommerce firms see lower average order values, inhibiting their growth plans in these geographies. This is where community commerce platform CityMall comes in, with its focus on the overlooked parts of the country, and now, it has raised $75 million to further its goal.
The Series C funding round, its third funding round in 18 months, was led by Norwest Venture Partners and included participation from investors General Catalyst, Citius, Jungle Ventures, Arena Ventures, Elevation, Accel, and Waterbridge. This brings the total funds raised by the company to date to $110 million.
The company said that it would deploy the funds towards strengthening its leadership and engineering teams, introducing new categories on its platform and entering into newer Indian states, expanding its existing supply chain and tech stack, and deepening its penetration to reach 100 towns over the next 18 months. Additionally, CityMall will expand its presence in its recent venture – fashion and general merchandise.
The three-year-old CityMall, founded by serial entrepreneurs Angad Kikla and Naisheel Verdhan, witnessed the steady growth of the GMV on its platform at 30% month-on-month and expects it to grow to $1 billion over the next 12 months. It is primarily focused on aiding residents of small cities, towns, and villages in India where traditional e-commerce has failed to penetrate.
It follows a community group buying (community commerce model) model. Its community leaders work on a commission-based model and are the social and geographical connectors between the startup and the customers. They help CityMall in gaining new customers, localized sales and marketing (across grocery, FMCG, electronics, and fashion), and last-mile logistics in the communities.
CityMall is clocking greater traction from its Tier II and III markets and has been growing steadily over the past 18 months. Today, it has over 30, 000 community leaders across 25 towns and cities.
“Purchasing habits in small towns of India involve heavy offline assistance and social proof. Ticket sizes of these purchases are also 1/3rd of what we have in metro cities. Citymall’s Community Leaders not only assist 1st-time e-commerce users in their purchases but also act as demand aggregation points thereby making an extremely efficient supply chain that can support low ticket sizes,” said Angad Kikla, co-founder of Citymall.