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WEcommerce Venture Frendy Raises Pre–Series A Funding Of Rs.10 Cr

The start-up is in the final stage of discussions with several investors to close its Series A round of Rs.30 Cr in the next few months.

Frendy is a Community Group Buying platform that brings discounts on grocery & other daily needs to Tier 2-6 Towns (Bharat) via neighbourhood homepreneurs.

Frendy is founded by Sameer Gandotra, a Wharton MBA and serial entrepreneur, whose involvement in Nebula – a Social Commerce Affordable Housing Developer, led to the inception of Frendy.  The Founding team includes Rajen Ahuja & Gowrav Vishwakarma who have a background in Social Commerce. The Gujarat based start-up has expanded in stealth mode with operations in 20+ towns and break-even unit economics.

Frendy has been in stealth mode and operational in 20+ Tier 2-6 Towns of Gujarat. The platform has scaled rapidly to 3,000 Frendy Partners & 3,000+ products on the platform growing 30% every month & is on track to reach an ARR of Rs. 300 Crore in the next financial year. Its current team size is 75 people across Tech, Community Building & Operations which will be expanded to 200 in the coming year as it scales to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and a few states in Eastern India.

 “To this effect, Frendy has raised its first tranche from investors as part of its initial Rs. 30 crore Series A round”, says Sameer Gandotra Founder Frendy. The Pre-Series A funding round of Rs. 10 Crores has been led by Pavitar Singh (CTO Sprinklr) Abhishek Khurana (SVP Product Engineering, Sprinklr) and the Desai Family Office (Investor in Infibeam, Licious, PetPooja, PeeSafe etc). The start-up is in the final stage of discussions with several investors to close its Series A round of Rs.30 Cr in the next few months.

Several Social Commerce models focus on discovery & customer acquisition. This works for the Urban Tech Savvy customers who have experienced eCommerce priorly. With new users from Bharat, Social Commerce needs to be more than just about discovery & customer acquisition. “Trust” typically breaks down for these users during the rest of the online journey due to lack of vernacular assistance, issues with payment, problems in last-mile delivery. Added to these is the lack of assistance in dealing with orders as well as product issues relating to returns, refunds, exchanges, quality etc.)

The Frendy WEcommerce model is unique as it provides Social & Trust along the entire customer journey. The Frendy Partner is typically a woman homepreneur from the neighbourhood. She educates friends, neighbours & relatives, of the price benefits, variety & convenience of buying on Frendy and easily helps them come online. Customers get all the information on deals, offers & products on the WhatsApp groups run by their Frendy Partners. Frendy Partners also recommend products & are ready to answer any Customer queries in their preferred local language. Customers can be assisted to place orders easily via the Frendy Partner. They can also slowly learn from the Frendy Partner how to order online, therefore, enabling themselves. The Frendy Partners perform last-mile delivery, collect payments and benefit from the monetary incentives. If there are any issues with the product the Customer can easily get them resolved by contacting the Frendy Partners instead of having to deal long distances with Customer Care departments.

Frendy’s suite of lite apps (built on Google’s PWA technology) along with its vernacular app capability, work very well for end-users in Tier 2-6 towns.  Added to this are key features such as in-app learning & development, video commerce module, gamification, individual customer analytics and personalized marketing tools, capability for Frendy partners to place orders, make payments & track deliveries on behalf of customers, all help the Frendy Partners to spearhead a frictionless digital business for their community. Frendy’s proprietary integrated tech platform coupled with the entrepreneurial drive, trust & social capital of Frendy Partners is fast winning in the battle for Trust of Tier 2-6 Users where self-service, faceless e-commerce platforms suffer from a trust deficit.

While Grocery is the beachhead category, the ultimate aim is to build a virtual mall for the Bharat Value customer. The Beauty, Home & Kitchen categories have grown 5x since the launch of these categories 3 months ago.

Frendy has started delivering enormous socio-economic impact among both its customers as well as its Partners. Frendy delivers 30% cost saving on MRP for grocery & household items and Frendy Partners can earn between Rs. 5000-10,000 a month with a loyal customer base and local word of mouth. Pride in serving their community learning & development, the support of a women’s network, rewards & recognition all helps to ensure the Frendy Partners “stickiness” with platform. Frendy has been able to create retention which is much higher than the typical reseller model. In 5 years, Frendy aims to empower 500,000 such women who will be reaching out to around 50 million households in their communities.

“Our focus on women has strong economic merit as women control 80% of discretionary spending and are decision makers & early adopters for their entire family”.

“We had a background in Social Commerce previously with Nebula where we built a network of 50,000 micropreneurs and won “Trust” in selling homes – a category where you invest your life’s savings. We also gained a deep insight of the Bharat customer. This gave us a lot of confidence for Frendy where we apply the same principles to daily needs & other consumer categories” 

“We have prior success in building a community leader network & scaling across different geographies & sociocultural contexts in India. We have run successful pilots with Frendy in over 20+ towns. Now powered by Tech & Capital we are well poised to blitz scale across India”.  

Source: Business World

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