SuperK, a tech-enabled grocery retail chain for small towns has raised 6 Cr in Seed funding. The round was led by Strive VC and saw participation from Firstcheque, Ramakant Sharma & Syndicate, serial entrepreneur Srinivas Anumolu, Anand Chandrasekaran (ex-Snapdeal CPO/Facebook Director), Lalit Keshre (CEO at Groww), Rajan Bajaj (CEO at Slice), Sampad Swain (CEO at Instamojo), and many more veterans from the startup ecosystem. SuperK plans to utilize this investment for expanding its infrastructure, improving technology, and hiring talent.
With an aim to revolutionize the retail sector of small towns, SuperK is enhancing the customer experience by building a branded retail chain from the ground that is designed keeping in mind the specific needs of these small towns. The team’s global exposure and the small-town connection is the ultimate recipe for building a successful Tier 2 and below towns’ franchise grocery retail chain. SuperK is already the largest grocery chain in Kadapa Dist of AP and fast becoming a recognized brand. For instance, a town like Veeraballi doesn’t even have an ATM or a petrol station but thanks to SuperK they can still enjoy the benefits of a modern retail experience from a store operated by a local person.
Batchmates at BITS Pilani, Neeraj Menta & Anil Thontepu founded SuperK in Dec 2019 – with a vision to empower small format retail stores across India. Neeraj earlier co-founded Hungerbox and also built products at Flipkart and Zeta. Anil previously led product management at Kaodim (a services marketplace in Malaysia), prior to which he managed growth at Hike and Phonepe.
Grocery retail is a $600bn market in India and small towns (Tier 2 and below) account for >80% of the grocery market but only <2% is currently with organized retail chains. The existing organized retail models are built for the metros and can’t scale deep into the semi-urban and rural markets. Due to this, even today small-town customers have to primarily depend on the age-old wholesale mandis and kirana stores of these towns and thus end up with a subpar grocery buying experience that is far removed from the modern retail experience the rest of us enjoy in cities.
An individual store, typically operated by a single person, can’t offer discounts/ promotions or printed bills or a large product selection to customers because they don’t have the bandwidth, scale, technology, or means of marketing to make such things happen. SuperK has built an end-to-end integrated system that enables franchise stores to offer standardized low pricing, consistent quality, discounts, cashbacks, with a digital bill. SuperK manages procurement, marketing, promotions, and merchandising for all stores through tech systems and a standard operating plan. So that the store owners can focus on what they are best at – building relationships and serving customers. SuperK stores have access to economies of scale that provide a far better value than other traditional retail stores in the locality.
Commenting on the fundraise, Neeraj Menta, Co-Founder at SuperK said, “Our mission is to bring modern retail experiences to the smallest of towns in India by empowering entrepreneurs from these towns to easily own and operate supermarkets. Most other startups that are helping retailers are only providing tools to these stores while we are driving outcomes for the stores by using the technology ourselves. We have spent the last 1.5 years validating and tweaking our business model and with a strong operating playbook in place, we are now investing in logistics infrastructure and tech products to further improve and scale our network of stores.”
Lead Investor Nikhil Kapur, Partner at Strive said, “While existing organized retailers are competing with individual retailers, SuperK is enabling local entrepreneurs to effectively compete with large chains. Their unique business model allows them to be asset-light and operate with negative working capital. This allows SuperK to scale much faster than any other retail chain. A scalable business model along with a strong tech background of the founders will make SuperK the largest retail chain of India in the next 10 years.”
Speaking about the impact seen by the stores, SuperK Co-Founder Anil Thontepu said “We have shown 3-4X growth in sale volume in our early stores and this resulted in a huge improvement in take-home incomes of retailers who took up our franchise. We have added 20+ stores to our network and have served 40,000+ families in the past year with a positive contribution margin and are on track to reach 70+ stores with an annual GMV of 10mn USD by the end of 2021. ”
SuperK’s system seamlessly connects warehouses, stores, and vendors via mobile apps. They are also in the process of launching a mobile app for customers to place orders, provide financial services for customers through stores and in-store tech for engagement and marketing.