Ula announced on Thursday that B Capital and Quona contributed to its Series A round, with existing investors Lightspeed India and Sequoia Capital also participating. Launched a year ago, the startup operates a wholesale e-commerce marketplace for small and micro retailers.
It helps store owners digitize their supply chain, inventory, and working capital management with simple-to-use tools and technology. The fresh funding arrives less than a year after the first investment round of USD 10.5 million in June 2020.
The young company is backed by big-name investors, including the co-founders of Indian unicorn Udaan—Vaibhav Gupta, Amod Malviya, and Sujeet Kumar—who participated in Ula’s seed funding. Traditional retailers are an integral part of the economy of both India and Indonesia, which attract tech firms like Udaan and Ula to provide additional services.
These stores operate with an 8-10% cost advantage over modern retailers and are often run by families from their homes. They are, however, facing various challenges like difficulties in getting the products they need and limited access to digital tools.
“These problems aren’t restricted to one category: FMCG and other consumables, apparel, electronics, all encounter common problems”, said co-founder and CEO Nipun Mehra in a statement. “We take a retailer-first approach to address these pain points.”
With its e-commerce app and delivery service, Ula helps store owners to better manage their inventory and finances. The firm claims that customers have seen a daily profit increase of 15%, with fewer out-of-stock items and more competitive sourcing prices.
Ula has teams in Indonesia, India, and Singapore. Since its launch, the platform has grown to serve over 20,000 stores, primarily in East Java.