12th January 2023
ICMG Partners Co., Ltd.
ICMG Co-Creation Fund I Investment LP
We are pleased to announce that ICMG Co-Creation Fund I Investment LP managed by ICMG Partners Co., Ltd. (HQ: Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Gen Funahashi), has invested in Octopolis Technologies Private Limited (HQ: No. 102 Koramangala, 5th Block, 4th B Cross Road, 560095, Karnatake, Bangalore; CEO: Shruti Shruti), together with follow-on investors, Sequoia Capital, Blume Ventures, Flourish, Whiteboard Capital and co-investor TrueScale in this Pre-Series B round. ApnaKlub is one of the first startups in India providing turnkey solutions to Kirana stores in Tier 2+ cities to enable digital growth. The company has developed its platform to enable seamless connection between brands, manufactures, wholesalers and Kirana stores.
According to the World Bank, India’s total population in 2021 was over 1.4 billion, of which approximately 70% live in Tier 2 and beyond. Within these cities, there are over 500,000 towns and villages, which are spread out with a minimum distance of 5-10km between any two towns. It is estimated that at least 10 million retailers and Kirana stores are in operation and 90% of FMCG in India is consumed at these places. The total market size is expected to exceed US$ 40 billion.
On the other hand, it is difficult to distribute products directly in this region, and intermediaries such as distributors are utilized. For retailers, challenges arise from the weak supply chain, such as lack of price transparency and fairness due to multiple layers of intermediaries, limited product selection, and lack of convenience for retailers due to margin pressure, which adversely affect their business and profit situation.
In response to these challenges, ApnaKlub has developed a B2B marketplace that deploys branded product SKUs to retailers through ApnaKlub’s procurement platform. ApnaKlub is able to significantly manage logistics costs and sell products at better prices, thereby contributing to higher margins for each retailer. This allows retailers to be able to grow at a faster pace. In addition, by utilizing AI to optimize in-house delivery, the company offers a service that enables delivery in less than two days instead of the usual three to seven business days, allowing Kirana stores to enjoy the benefits of cheaper and faster delivery. To further support the local communities, the company also offers leveraged financing services, such as credit loans, to facilitate business expansion and job creation for each store within their operating areas.
The significance of this investment is to create business growth and employment opportunities in the local regions, as well as to solve structural challenges in the logistics supply chain. Through ApnaKlub’s solutions, the company will be able to reduce costs and improve margins at retail outlets by streamlining logistics, thereby facilitating business expansion at each outlet and further helps to create additional employment opportunities (SDG No. 8). In addition, the company has created an innovative business scheme that digitizes the supply chain from brand to retailer in the local region and brings the entire supply chain in-house, including logistics (SDG No. 9).
ICMG Group aims to contribute to the development of the local regions by supporting the growth of ApnaKlub. In addition, by utilizing the ICMG Group’s extensive network of large Japanese companies, and by providing support for the distribution in the Indian market of value-added Japanese products owned or supported by large Japanese companies, the ICMG Group will support Japanese companies entering the Indian market as well as to promote ApnaKlub’s GMV growth.
Founded in Bangalore, India in May 2020 by Shruti Shruti (CEO) and Manish Kumar (COO).
Shruti is a top graduate from IIT Delhi, worked for a foreign consulting firm, and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. Manish has over 25 years of experience in the retail industry, including Walmart, and is primarily responsible for leading operations.
ApnaKlub develops and provides FMCG distribution platform mainly for Tier 2 and above local territories in India. The company offers various brands of FMCG with benefits and last mile services, enabling users to set up their own retail and wholesale businesses. ApnaKlub supply over 240 brands including P&G (Proctor and Gamble), Unilever, Dabur, and their products include packaged food, beverages, personal care, hygiene products, baby care products, laundry, housewares and more.
【About ICMG Group】
ICMG Group has been leading co-creative innovation not only in Japan but also in Southeast Asia and US together with various stakeholders such as leading Japanese big corporations, startups, and government agencies. ICMG Group has also carried out renewable energy investment projects in Southeast Asia with Tokyo Electric Power Company and Chubu Electric Power Co, formed a strategic partnership in Singapore with UNDP to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and launched the sustainable city initiative project in Japan with Aichi Prefectural Government. ICMG Co-Creation Fund aims to create a sustainable society by providing growth capital and strong partner network of leading Japanese corporations to startups that solve social issues.
【About ICMG Co-Creation Fund】
ICMG Co-Creation Fund was launched in May 2021 and is being managed by ICMG Partners as the General Partner. The Limited Partners are Japan Airport Terminal, which operates Haneda Airport Terminal Building and its group company Haneda Future Research Institute(LP investment from Japan Airport Terminal), and Kiraboshi Bank, which aims to become “a comprehensive service provider with strong financial capabilities”. The fund aims to build an ecosystem that leads a sustainable future by encouraging co-creation between startups that solve social issues beyond industries and Japanese large companies. In addition to providing startups with speedy growth capital, we also aim to provide growth support by offering collaboration opportunities with ICMG Group’s network of Japanese large companies.