Retail Tech Startup Daalchini Raises $4 Mn in Series A Funding Led by Unicorn India Ventures
Daalchini Team (L to R) - Ayush Rastogi, Prerna Kalra, Vidya Bhushan, Anupam Saxena
  • The largest Series A round raised by Daalchini in the smart vending segment.
  • Funds to be primarily used for R&D of Daalchini’s autonomous retail solutions to further adopt Daalchini’s product for 10 million retail points across India and 400+ D2C brands in the F&B sector.
RetailTech startup Daalchini has raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. The round also saw participation from prominent and existing investors like Artha Venture Fund, Ajay Kaul – former CEO of Dominos India, and VSS Investco – the investment vertical of Vijay Shekhar Sharma – CEO of Paytm. So far, this is the largest round raised by a company in the smart vending segment.

A large part of this funding will be deployed to expand their industry footprint and further their tech capabilities. The Company wants to make its solutions asset-efficient and accessible to 10 million retail points in India and 450+ F&B D2C brands.

Founded in 2017 by ex-Paytm colleagues Prerna Kalra and Vidya Bhushan, Daalchini takes affordable snacks and home-style meals to its customers through technology-efficient models like automated kiosks, mobility retails, and smart vending machines.

Currently, the Daalchini app has more than 2 lakh monthly active users.

Daalchini has grown 300% in the last 12 months, making it one of India’s fastest-growing RetailTech startups. The Company has achieved a Product Market Fit (PMF), with ₹12 crores revenue in FY2022. More than 90% of their vending machines are EBITA positive within 45 days.

Daalchini aims to clock ₹50 crores in revenues with a GMV of ₹130 crores in 12 months. The Company intends to grow from 850+ to over 5,000 smart and autonomous retail points in the next 12-18 months. The new funding will enable Daalchini to continue executing its growth strategy and strengthen its position as the largest network of smart retail stores.

Ruchi Pincha, Investment Associate, Unicorn India Ventures, says, “The RetailTech segment in India is going through a massive transition from its traditional physical store form to a digital one, the speed of which has been intensified by the pandemic. In this phase, Daalchini represents the best of both worlds with a ubiquitous physical presence backed by a strong technological framework that prioritizes its customers’ needs and convenience. At Unicorn India Ventures, we are always looking to support such companies that retain the unique essence of their sector and work on enhancing the overall customer experience with technological innovation.”

Setting new milestones in the intelligent retail field, the Company provides a plethora of food and beverage options, available 24*7 and accessible without delivery charges or long wait times. Daalchini has tied up with leading companies like Reliance, Aditya Birla Group’s Hindalco, Vodafone, GE, Genpact, NITI Aayog, Housr, MX Player, Samsung, Paytm, Snapdeal, Byjus, EY, OLX, OYO, Loreal and VIVO, among others. The Company’s vending machines have become a familiar fixture in corporate and co-working spaces, educational institutes, hospitals, and railway stations, offering food and beverage products from over 160 brands.

Prerna Kalra, Co-founder & CEO of Daalchini Technologies, says, “Daalchini aims to establish its footprints at every 200 meters of habitable area with its autonomous smart stores and vending machines. Today, our country has just a few thousand vending machines, while the US or Japan has more than one autonomous store for every 200 people. We are far from the true potential of this kind of retail.”

“We quickly expanded our network to 11 states and 23 cities with 850+ stores. We will continue leveraging our unique tech and supply chain for fresh and packaged food to reach 50+ cities,” Prerna adds.

Providing a high-return customer acquisition platform for D2C brands, Daalchini has collaborated with more than 160 brands like Sleepy Owl, The Whole Truth Foods, Open Secret, Yoga Bar, Slurrp Farm, BRB, Cremica Opera, Cravova, Millet Bowl, Yogapulp as well as industry giants like Dabur, Nestle, Mars.

Daalchini’s Retail-as-a-Service platform enables these brands to grow in hundreds of physical stores while tracking real-time insights digitally. The unique vending machine ecosystem created by the Company enables brands and entrepreneurs to reach their customers all over the country within a week.

Anirudh A. Damani, Artha Venture Fund, says “As the earliest backer of Daalchini, we are excited to see the Company deepen its footprints within the industry through its fully integrated IoT solutions. They provide a convenient, safe, and affordable snacking solution for the working population while delivering real-time insights, vast reach, increased accessibility, and better control of marketing spending to food brands, all at the click of a button. What excites us most is that with this fresh infusion of capital from Unicorn and VSS, Daalchini can continue expanding its offerings with a broader reach and a highly efficient capital utility!”

According to the Kearney India Retail Index, the retail industry, dominated by the food and groceries sector, will grow at a 9% rate from $779 billion in 2019 to $1,407 billion in 2026 to $1,884 billion in 2030. Despite the pandemic, research finds that the industry has and will continue to grow on the back of value e-commerce and an unprecedented reach across Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. These trends align parallelly with Daalchini’s growth trajectory and plans, which will help unlock growth opportunities in untapped markets of the country.

About Daalchini

Daalchini is the brand of Daalchini Technologies, which makes your essentials accessible anytime, and anywhere. It provides instant, affordable, 6-meals-a-day food options through IoT-enabled ‘phygital’ (physical+digital) vending machines. It serves 100+ start-ups, co-working spaces, large MNCs, hospitals, educational institutes, and residential complexes.

Daalchini is a brand of full-stack smart retail offerings that cater to on-the-go food consumption with a specialized supply chain designed to serve the 6-meal-a-day needs of our customers. Its product suite has a complete platform to launch vending machines, micro-markets, automated kiosks, and mobility solutions.

Daalchini is present in 20+ cities in India. It has 200+ franchise partners and 160+ brands selling on its platform.

Unicorn India Ventures is a Mumbai-based early-stage fund house started in 2016 by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar. From its first Fund, UIV has invested in 18 companies like Inc42, Sequretek, Pharmarack, Genrobotics, NeuroEquilibrium, SmartCoin, and Open Bank to name a few. Unicorn India has also announced Fund II, a Rs 300 crore fund launched in 2019 which has invested in 19 companies so far like Gamerji, ForeignAdmits, Probus, and SocialSwag. The Fund has emerged as the best performing early stage fund in India with the stellar exits provided by the fund to its LPs.

Artha Venture Fund (AVF) is India's first early-stage micro-VC firm with a corpus of $33 million. Since its inception in late 2018, AVF has primarily funded and supported multiple startups that operate as enablers and entities focused on solving the challenges of Indian consumers and businesses. The current fund allocates thematic investment for B2B, B2C/D2C, and D2C enablers.

Led by Anirudh A Damani, a second-generation investor, the firm has a network of limited partners, co-investors, founders, and family offices that traverse the globe. AVF's portfolio includes Agnikul, LenDenClub, HobSpace, PiggyRide, Daalchini, Kabbadi Adda, and more.

Artha Group of Companies, the umbrella entity of AVF, has investments in 90+ startups across India, the US, Israel, and Africa, like OYO Rooms, Purplle, IconBuild, Tala, LeveragEdu, Coutloot, Karza Technologies, Mobilewalla, Interstellar and more.

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