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Monday, May 29, 2023

Retail-tech startup Daalchini gets $4M for R&D of its solutions

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Daalchini, a retail-tech startup, has secured $4 million in investment. The funds will be used largely for research and development of the company’s autonomous retail solutions.

Daalchini, a retail-tech firm, secured $4 million in a Series A fundraising round headed by Unicorn India Ventures on September 7.

Existing investors in the round included Artha Venture Fund, Ajay Kaul, the former CEO of Domino’s India, and VSS Investco, the investment vertical managed by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the CEO of fintech unicorn Paytm.

Daalchini stated that a significant portion of the funds would be used to extend its industrial reach and develop its technological skills.

It also intends to make its solutions available to 10 million retail outlets in India, as well as over 450 food and beverage and direct-to-customer (D2C) businesses.

Daalchini, founded in 2017 by former Paytm workers Prerna Kalra and Vidya Bhushan, delivers snacks and home-style meals to clients using technology-based models such as automated kiosks, mobility retail, and smart vending machines.

CEO of Daalchini, Kalra, said, “With its autonomous smart shops and vending devices, Daalchini seeks to establish its footprint every 200 metres of livable area. Our country now has a few thousand vending machines, whereas the United States or Japan have more than one autonomous store for every 200 inhabitants. We are still a long way from realising the full potential of this type of retail.”

Kalra went on to say that the company’s network has grown to 11 states and 23 cities, with over 850 locations. In the release, Daalchini stated that it hopes to expand from 850 to over 5,000 smart and autonomous retail points in the next 12-18 months.

Ruchi Pincha, Investment Associate at Unicorn India Ventures, stated,  “India’s RetailTech business is undergoing a significant change from its conventional physical shop form to a digital one, which has been accelerated by the epidemic. Daalchini represents the best of both worlds at this point… At Unicorn India Ventures, we are constantly aiming to assist such firms that keep the distinctive nature of their industry while working to improve the overall consumer experience via technology innovation. As an early funder of Daalchini, we are thrilled to watch the Company broaden its industry footprints with its fully integrated IoT solutions.”

Artha Venture Fund, Anirudh A. Damani, added, “They provide a convenient, safe, and affordable snacking solution for the working population while also providing real-time insights, broad reach, increased accessibility, and better control of marketing spending to food brands, all at the click of a button.”

According to Daalchini, the app presently has over two lakh monthly active users.

The firm also stated that it has grown three times in the previous 12 months over an unknown foundation and has achieved product market fit (PMF) with Rs 12 crores of sales in FY2022. Daalchini stated that it hopes to generate Rs 50 crores in income with a gross merchandise value of Rs 130 crores in the following 12 months.

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