Wootz.work, a global sourcing platform that helps small businesses procure light engineering products and solutions, has announced raising a $3.5Mn seed round led by Matrix Partners and Nexus Venture Partners. The round also saw participation from AdvantEdge and Mars Shot Ventures (Razorpay Founders’ Fund) along with several angel investors including Livspace’s Ramakant Sharma, conglomerate JK Group’s Vikrampati Singhania, the founders of Zetwerk among others.

Founded in March 2023, by Karan Anand and Himanshu Uniyal, Wootz.work is an online sourcing platform, much along the lines of Alibaba and others, though with a more focused approach on engineering products and services. At its heart, the platform claims to pair buyers with products and solutions within 24 hours and ensure seamless delivery to the customer’s location.

Beyond procurement, Wootz.work works on several value added services for both sides of customers: products optimized for easy installation and efficient shipping, components selected for end-market serviceability and compliance, and consolidated warranties across manufacturers. The platform also provides virtual factory tours, comprehensive fulfillment dashboards, and round-the-clock after-sales support.

The co-founders, both of whom are former employees at sustinable manufacturing brand Zume Inc., felt the need for such a platform while setting up factories for their former employer. “We are convinced that the conditions have never been better for India and Southeast Asia to emerge as a global manufacturing hub for light engineering products. However, tapping this opportunity for SMEs is not as straightforward given their scale, differing engineering standards, regulatory environments, market distances and the imperative of robust after-sales service”, says Anand — one of the co-founders and CEO.

While COVID-19 exposed deep imbalances and biases in the global supply chain, but those highlights came up only for more media-covered industries, such as electronics and smartphones etc. The supply chain situation was even worse for small businesses, with frequent logistical hold-ups across the globe. Over the past three years, the $1.7 Trillion engineering equipment industry has also seen rapid supply chain transformations. Western buyers, in pursuit of value-driven capital expenditure, are increasingly looking at Southeast Asia for their procurement needs.

However, they grapple with navigating the vast, fragmented market of nearly a million Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) suppliers. Adding to the complexity, are language barriers, long pre-sales time inherent in custom products and an overall broken buying experience. Wootz.work, through its cross border platform, aims to bridge this gap.

Wootz.work is currently working with factories and OEMs in the UK across their growth, automation, and MRO phases, driving supply chain innovations and capital expenditure optimization. With fresh capital in-place and expansion in sight, the startup will be setting up new offices in the UK and US this year.