Axiata Digital, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian telecommunications conglomerate Axiata Group Berhad, has invested $16 million in Bengaluru-based StoreKing, an assisted rural commerce startup run by LocalCube Commerce Pvt Ltd.
StoreKing’s technology-led rural distribution platform allows selling of physical goods and digital services by rural retailers. Operating on an assisted ecommerce model, the retail shop owner helps customers use StoreKing’s internet-connected mobile kiosk to shop for products, including insurance policies, and mobile recharge plans.
With respect to physical goods, the four-year-old startup ships the products to the retailer within 48 hours from where customers can collect their orders.
Close to about 16,000 retailers are connected on the StoreKing platform across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and the five southern states. The company estimates that there are at least 30 million rural retailers spread out across India.
“From the beginning, our goal was to help thousands of small businesses in rural India to achieve a brighter future by enabling them to use technology. We hope to benefit from Axiata's experience in extensive geography-based services,” said Sridhar Gundaiah, founder-CEO, StoreKing.
Having inked partnerships with top ecommerce firms such as Amazon India and ShopClues, Gundaiah is now looking at replicating the StoreKing model in Southeast Asia - a key reason why Axiata Digital has invested in the company.
“StoreKing has created a platform that solves the fundamental constraints in ours markets with last mile logistics and payments, while building trust amongst mass market consumers. It is pivotal in bringing the rest of our consumers into the digital sphere. I am extremely pleased to bring StoreKing into the Axiata Digital Service portfolio of businesses and look forward to their further expansion across all of Axiata footprint,” said Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO, Axiata Digital.