Bengaluru: Assisted e-commerce service provider StoreKing, owned by Local Cube Commerce Pvt. Ltd, has raised $16 million from Axiata Digital, a unit of Axiata Group Berhad, a Malaysian telecom company.

It had raised $6 million from Mangrove Capital Partners in March last year.

StoreKing, founded by Sridhar Gundaiah in 2012, partners with local retailers by setting up kiosks, which displays StoreKing’s inventory to consumers visiting the stores. The company claims to have about 16,000 kiosks across 1,200 towns in south India and deliver more than 150,000 orders a month.

“From the beginning our goal was to help thousands of small businesses in rural India achieve a brighter future by enabling them to use technology. We hope to benefit from Axiata’s experience in extensive geography-based services and we couldn’t thank them enough for investing in the idea of StoreKing," Gundaiah, chief executive at StoreKing, said in a statement.

The company aims to tap 100,000 retailers by 2017.

“StoreKing has created a platform that solves the fundamental constraints in our 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," said Mohd Khairil Abdullah, chief executive at Axiata Digital, in a statement.

Earlier this week, StoreKing partnered with Amazon India to accelerate Amazon’s penetration into rural India.

For e-commerce companies, reaching people and building a brand in rural India poses a challenge because of poor Internet connections, language barriers and a general mistrust of online shopping.

According to a February report by Internet and Mobile Association of India and IMRB International, there were 87 million mobile Internet users in rural India in December 2015, an increase of 93% from December 2014, whereas the number of mobile Internet users in urban India grew 71% between December 2014 and December 2015.

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