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New Delhi: ZFW Dark Stores, a full-stack fulfilment technology platform that helps direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands sell their goods to end consumers has raised $1.2. million in a seed round from Riso Capital, SEA Fund, Lead Fund, apart from various angel investors, the company said in a statement on Monday.

With these funds, the New Delhi-based startup will expand its dark store network across India, pick up hiring, and build more technological capabilities. ZFW Dark Stores aims to expand to 10 cities across India by end of 2022.

New investors include Qudrah National Holdings, Archana Priyadarshini (Point One Capital), South Asia Technology Partners, Long Tail Ventures, Jasminder Gulati (Founder, NowFloats), apart from Mohit Sadaani of The Mom’s Co, Rage Coffee’s Bharat Sethi, Amar Chhabra of Neema’s, Ankur Bhatia, founder Jimmy’s Cocktails among several others

Existing investors like ice.vc, Mumbai Angels, and Arjun Vaidya also participated in the round.

ZFW Dark Stores had previously raised $415,000 in pre-seed funding from Indvest Family Office, Runwal Group, apart from founders of brands such as Epigamia, Beardo, The Face Shop, etc.

ZFW Dark Stores, founded in 2021 by Madhav Kasturia, helps direct-to-consumer brands fulfill last-mile orders to customers through its network of dark stores and presence of last-mile delivery across India.

The tech-stack integrates with a brand’s existing platforms to provide complete visibility into supply-chain operations and customers, the company said.

ZFW Dark Stores currently operates over 150 dark stores across India working with brands across foods and beverages, personal care, and consumer goods. Its clients include Rage Coffee, Clinikally, Epigamia, Jimmy’s Cocktails, HUL, Havmor Ice Cream, and Vadilal among others.

“Our technology platform empowers new-age brands that want to sell through their own channels and offer a superior Amazon-like same-day delivery experience to customers without breaking the bank or worrying about risks associated with over-dependence on e-commerce platforms (low margins, lack of control and data)," said founder Madhav Kasturia.

ZFW’s integrated tech-stack and automation platform enable tier 1 and 2 brands across India to cater to the rapidly growing D2C market that is expected to reach $100 billion by 2025, said Sri Purisai, Founding Partner of Silicon Valley-based VC firm Riso Capital.

Meanwhile, demand for direct-to-consumer brands and their availability has also increased, thanks to greater internet penetration and consumer interest in non-traditional brands. As a result, several brands have built their own online channels apart from listing on large marketplaces.

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