With having a focus on enhancing rural distribution channels through digital tools, Xpand, a platform of Last Mile Channel Enhancement (LMCE) has raised USD 1.5 million in a pre-Series A funding round, at a valuation of approximately USD 10 million. The company aims to utilise the funds to enhance the in-house tech capabilities and build a trained, tech-savvy, and efficient geo-local sales force. Prime Securities was the exclusive investment banker to this transaction.
The round was led by Akash Prakash, CEO, Amansa Capital, in his personal capacity along with other professionals and HNIs, including Madhu Jayakumar, Dipinder Sandhu and Shagun Khandelwal.
Xpand, a two-month operational start-up, was conceived by Sanjay Kaul along with industry veterans Sanjay Panigrahi, Sankalp Potbahre, Pradeep Kaul and Nidhi Singh. Xpand under LMCE is a B2B aggregator helping brands enhance their rural footprints. The newly incepted app aims to further revolutionise the rural markets across India by leveraging technology and data science, providing innovative solutions that facilitate end-to-end channel operations management.
Welcoming the incoming investors, Sanjay Kaul, Founder & CEO, LMCE said, “With Xpand, we are connecting retailers and companies on a single platform to solve their last-mile challenges. Simultaneously, we would empower and enable traditional Kirana (retail) stores to leverage technology to streamline their operations and widen their portfolio. We have already made a substantial investment in the pre-incorporation stage towards technology and market prioritisation. The raised funds will help us further our goal of “speed to scale” and give thrust to our tech endeavours. We are delighted to have received this support from marquee investors like Akash Prakash at the early stage..
Arun Shah, Managing Director, Prime Securities, said, “The government policy initiatives like doubling farmers’ income, Jan Dhan Yojana, spending on rural housing, electrification and sanitation have ensured strategic priority of industry and corporates towards the rural markets. Furthermore, mass digitisation and newer aspirations have led to the consumer becoming more knowledgeable and seeking quality products. The LMCE team with over 100 years of cumulative experience in rural marketing is well-positioned to enhance rural aggregation for established brands and engage as a marketing partner with challenger brands. With their technology-driven approach, LMCE would predict consumer behaviour and control the rural distribution channel. We are delighted to be associated with LMCE and onboard our HNI investors in the growth journey of the company.”
Nikhil Kaul, COO, LMCE said, “ Xpand is built on three core fundamentals – ‘where to play, how to play, and digital disruption’ across the value chain. The app analyses, predicts and recommends consumer behaviour. The process is basis the data collected from 2.5 lakh rural stores to brands, distributors, and local Kirana stores. With Xpand, we aim to reach 16 states, 30,000 villages, and over three lakh retailers by 2023. It further plans to strengthen its hold in rural India by expanding to at least 18 per cent of Kirana stores and scaling up to 33 per cent of the total potential by 2025. “
Xpand is a human-tech B2B aggregator platform, aims to empower retailers, franchises, and companies. Incepted in March 2021, the platform leverages existing infrastructure with zero investment in stock, warehousing or logistics. Connecting retailers and companies on a single platform, Xpand helps the challenger companies to foray into rural with a cost-effective and surgical manner, simultaneously helping established players to acquire their next million customers, drive incremental sales and increase their market share. Twenty-five leading companies have already partnered with LMCE.
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