The company is also associated with several partners including Samsung, Crompton, HUL, Eko India Financial Services, and more curating their products
Jaipur-based rural distribution startup Frontier Markets has raised close to $2.25 million, as a part of its pre-series A financing round, led by ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, French electric utility firm ENGIE’s venture arm, The Rise Fund and The Singh Family Trusts (advised by Artha Impact).
Teja Ventures and affiliates of Beyond Capital Fund also participated as a part of this round.
According to the company, the current investment will be utilised to grow the company’s assisted e-commerce platform, by adding digital marketing tools, AI enabled digital training, and a B2C onboarding solution.
Frontier Markets is a last mile assisted e-commerce and distribution company that leverages its network of tech-enabled women agents to market, sell and service products and services across rural India.
The startup started as a clean energy firm delivering solutions in lighting and appliances to rural households in Rajasthan, and recently pivoted to an inclusive products platform driving doorstep deliveries of appliances, agriculture, energy, and digital services.
The company leverages its B2B2C e-commerce to drive digital and physical services to rural customers and become the primary income source for rural women.
“Prior to covid-19, Frontier Markets invested in a technology platform that leveraged data to deliver products and services in energy, finance, connectivity, agriculture and more to the last mile consumer, digitally onboarding all of our agent network. Today, we have added essential products and services—from food to protective gear to mobile banking, recognising that our customers trust us and want us to deliver all solutions to them through our platform," said Ajaita Shah, founder and CEO of Frontier Markets.
“The swift adjustment of Frontier Markets’ organization to the covid-19 crisis and its ability to leverage its innovative tech platform to address the essential needs of the rural population on short notice confirm our full support and our trust in its trailblazing business model," said Anne Chassagnette, Managing Director of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies’s.
Frontier Markets, at present has over 4,000 women entrepreneurs who are tech-enabled and using their proprietary assisted e-commerce platform to deliver over 1 million products and services to 700,000 rural customers in Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar.
The company is also associated with several partners including Samsung, Crompton, HUL, Eko India Financial Services, and more curating their products.
By 2025, Frontier Markets plans to grow to 1 million rural women entrepreneurs serving 100 million consumers with all types of products and services relating to agriculture, and insurance.
Currently, 165 million rural households do not have access to life-improving products and digital services, according to the startup.
Further, product and service companies have not invested in brick-and-mortar infrastructure, and mainstream e-commerce platforms have not built the distribution infrastructure to reach these customers—despite widespread smartphone ownership and 4G connectivity, which the business is looking to solve.
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