Bengaluru-based village-tech enterprise RubanBridge (1Bridge), a last-mile supply chain & distribution network focused on the villages in rural India, has raised $2.5 million in a fresh round of funding.
The funding was led by Netherlands-based impact investor C4D Partners, an early investor since the last 4 years, who reaffirmed its support to 1Bridge and its management team by doubling its commitment, a release said.
The funding round also included participation from new investors such as KAAJ Ventures , angel investors like Prashanth Prakash, founding Partner of Accel Partners; Puneet Jetli, technopreneur and co-founder of Happiest Minds and Aradhana D Chatterjee, a seasoned PE/VC executive.
Existing angel investor Prashanth Boccasam, a US-based serial tech-entrepreneur & investor also participated in this round with a significant investment. C4D Partners and Prashanth Boccasam also acquired additional stake through a secondary transaction, providing an exit to a few early shareholders.
In addition to this, 1Bridge has also raised its maiden working capital facility from Ananya Finance for Inclusive Growth, an Ahmedabad-based Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) that reaches out to a large section of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and grassroot entities.
This deal with 1Bridge marks Ananya Finance’s significant attempt to reach out to companies beyond the microfinance sector. With this round of funding, 1Bridge is robustly positioned to pursue its growth plans over the next 18 months, to:
• Deepen its reach as a supply chain & distribution network across another 10,000 villages by adding 10,000 more entrepreneurs
• Roll out 500+ ‘1Bridge Experience Centres’ at various Tehsil/Block towns that will enable consumers to touch and feel aspirational products
• Expand its product & service offerings through strategic partnerships with consumer durables brands & fintech/credit companies who are looking to expand their reach in rural hinterlands; and
• Strengthen its technology & data platform to make it more convenient for their ‘1Bridge Advisors’ or local micro-entrepreneurs to offer rural outreach and assisted commerce services.
C4D Partners CEO Arvind Agarwal said, “We have been actively participating in the evolution of 1Bridge – almost since its inception back in 2016, to now a leader in village commerce. The foundations of the company are built with a strong emphasis on rural consumer experience, assisted commerce platform, terrific execution capabilities and a focus on being capital efficient.”
Prashanth Boccasam, Angel investor said, “With 1Bridge’s presence in thousands of villages through its entrepreneur network and technology platform, it is uniquely positioned to understand the needs and aspirations of rural India through the data they generate.”
KAAJ Ventures Managing Partner BV Jagadeesh said, “With over 700 million citizens residing in the villages of India, it is surprising that very few startups have focussed on building a sustainable village commercemodel. 1Bridge is a pioneer in this space,”
Social entrepreneur and 1Bridge Founder & CEO Madan Padaki said, “With this investment, we aim to expand the network, strengthen our technology & data capabilities, roll-out 1Bridge Experience Zones at the Taluk-level and expand our partnerships for last-mile supply chain & distribution – while pursuing profitable growth.”
Launched in May 2016 by Madan Padaki and co-founders Anil Kumar, Chief Operating Officer and M Chakrawarty, Chief of Growth & Partnerships, 1Bridge is a village commerce platform that provides a wide range of aspirational products & digital services at the doorsteps of village consumers.
It works with local rural entrepreneurs or ‘1Bridge Advisors’ to help deliver these products and fulfil services through an intuitive mobile-based tech platform.
Over the last 4 years, 1Bridge has grown steadily with over 75% year-on-year (YOY) growth and has grossed revenue of over Rs 52 crores in FY21 and looking to cross Rs 100 crores in FY22. 1Bridge has turned EBIDTA positive in FY21 and has been capital efficient (with a cumulative raise of $ 1.5 million) as it has built a presence in 70+ districts of Southern India and is presently operational in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.
1Bridge has onboarded over 10,000 strong network of entrepreneurs, fulfilled 35 million transactions for rural consumers, and served 1.5 million village consumers directly.