Retailtech startup Daalchini has raised US$4 million in a Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures.
Existing investors, such as Artha Venture Fund, Ajay Kaul (ex-CEO of Dominos India), and VSS Investco ( the investment vertical of Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma), also joined.
A large part of this funding will be deployed to expand Daalchini’s industry footprint and further its 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, such as automated kiosks, mobility retails, and smart vending machines. The firm provides many 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. Its vending machines are installed in corporate and co-working spaces, educational institutes, hospitals, and railway stations, offering food and beverage products from over 160 brands.
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.
Currently, the Daalchini app has more than 200,000 monthly active users.
Daalchini claims it has grown 300 per cent in the last 12 months. It generated INR 12 crore revenue in FY2022. More than 90 per cent of its vending machines are EBITA positive.
Daalchini aims to clock INR 50 crore in revenues with a GMV of INR 130 crore 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.
Kalra said: “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,” she added.
According to the Kearney India Retail Index, the retail industry, dominated by the food and groceries sector, will grow at a 9 per cent rate from $779 billion in 2019 to $1.4 trillion in 2026 to $1.9 trillion 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.