The startup will use the funds to build a strong engineering team, develop their product offering and create early customer traction.
India, July 29th 2021: Bengaluru-based tech startup, Wasabi (Truegrit Technologies Private Limited) has raised $1.8 Million in a seed round led by Ankur Capital. The round also saw participation from Binny Bansal backed 021 Capital, Sparrow Capital and notable angels like Ankit Bhati (Ola), Mekin Maheshwari (Udhyam Learning), Lalit Keshre (Groww), Revant Bhate (Mosaic Wellness), Abhishek Goyal (Tracxn) and Ashish Goel (Urban Ladder) among others. The funds raised will be utilized to build a strong engineering team, develop their product offering and create early customer traction.
Founded in January 2021 by Pradeep Dodle and Nikhil Goenka, Wasabi is building an easy-to-use communications and growth platform for small and medium businesses in India to help them manage customer relationships better and grow their business. With their deep domain and product expertise, spanning stints at PhonePe, Flipkart and Ola, the team aims to address the challenges that SMBs face in providing high quality digital experiences to customers.
According to industry estimates, there are more than 60 Mn registered small and medium businesses in India and many millions more home based businesses. While consumers are increasingly going digital, these businesses are lagging behind in embracing new technologies that could help them become more data-driven while also catalysing a more contextual real-time engagement with their customers. The team believes the next 3–5 years will be transformational where millions of these small businesses will go digital to survive and thrive.
Pradeep Dodle, Co-Founder, Wasabi, said, “With an increasing number of customers going digital, and intense competition from large ecommerce platforms, many small businesses are facing an existential threat. We believe that they can thrive only by going digital while continuing to build closer relationships with their customers and providing them with personalised service. We are excited to partner with Ritu and the team at Ankur Capital as we get started on this journey.”
Nikhil Goenka, Co-Founder, Wasabi, added, “The biggest moat for small businesses is their relationship and proximity to customers. While they do this exceptionally well offline, they are struggling to extend the same experience digitally. They juggle with multiple apps and find it complex to manage. We want to simplify this, help them build stronger customer relationships and grow their business.”
Ritu Verma, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Ankur Capital, also shared, “We are excited to partner with Pradeep and Nikhil to reimagine the millions of small businesses in India and enhance their capabilities. We see SMBs as the backbone of Indian commerce and the opportunity to expand their offerings and grow their businesses to compete in the new digital age as table stakes. Simple, easy to use products will define winners in tech and we believe the team at Wasabi is already well on its way in building a world class product!”
About Ankur Capital
Ankur Capital (https://www.ankurcapital.com/) is an early stage venture capital fund focused on transformative technologies for the Next Billion Users. Established in 2014, its investment thesis underscores the emerging opportunities created by the growing aspirations and greater digital access of this audience. The following portfolio companies successfully illustrate Ankur Capital’s highly differentiated thesis: CropIn (SaaS solutions for farmers, present in 53 countries); String Bio (alternative protein generation from methane); Niramai (AI-powered thermal imaging for breast cancer diagnosis); and Captain Fresh (aggregators of fresh seafood across select states). Considered a pioneer in India’s agtech investments, Ankur Capital incubated ThinkAg, the country’s first think tank in the agritech space. Its founders are consistently counted amongst India’s top AI influencers. With the second fund, Ankur Capital strengthens and deepens its commitment to and investment expertise in agtech and healthtech, and expands its reach through opportunities across fintech, edtech, localisation, and insurtech.
Wasabi is on a mission to help small businesses grow their sales via their customer interaction and growth platform. They are reimagining ‘Hubspot’ for small businesses in India, through which they aim to make it easy for merchants to convert conversations to sales on any channel and make use of simple marketing tools to retain loyal customers and attract new users. This is a massive global opportunity and the SMB market is growing exponentially with the mass adoption of UPI and COVID related disruptions. Millions of businesses en-mass have switched to using tech to solve their problems & do it better. This is at an inflection point and they feel that SMB enablement will be one of the biggest opportunity areas of the next decade.