Village technology company RubanBridge Pvt. Ltd (1Bridge), a last-mile supply chain and distribution network that focuses on the villages of rural India, has raised $ 2.5 million in a new round of funding. The Bangalore-based firm is witnessing high demand generated through the Covid-19 pandemic with positive tailwinds for the village tech sector in India.
The funding was led by the Netherlands-based impact investor C4D Partners, one of the first investors for the last 4 years. The funding round also included the participation of new investors such as KAAJ Ventures (Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur venture fund and angel investor BV Jagadeesh), angel investors such as Prashanth Prakash, founding partner of Accel Partners; Puneet Jetli, co-founder of Happiest Minds, and Aradhana D Chatterjee, a venture capital and private equity executive.
Existing angel investor Prashanth Boccasam, a serial technology entrepreneur based in the United States, and the investor also participated in this round with a significant investment. 1Bridge has also increased its first line of working capital from Ananya Finance for Inclusive Growth, a non-bank finance company (NBFC) based in Ahmedabad.
“With this investment, our goal is to expand the network, strengthen our technology and data capabilities, implement 1Bridge Experience Zones at the Taluk level,” said Madan Padaki, social entrepreneur and founder and CEO of 1Bridge. “We would expand our supply chain and last-mile distribution partnerships, while pursuing profitable growth.”
With this round of funding, 1Bridge plans to deepen its reach as a supply chain and distribution network in another 10,000 villages by adding 10,000 more entrepreneurs. It would deploy more than 500 “1Bridge Experience Centers” in various cities in Tehsil and Block that will allow consumers to touch and feel aspirational products. It also aims to expand its product and service offering through strategic partnerships with consumer durables brands and fintech and credit companies seeking to expand their reach in the rural interior.
1Bridge was launched in May 2016 by Madan Padaki and co-founders Anil Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, and M Chakrawarty, Head of Growth and Partnerships. It is a village trading platform that provides a wide range of aspirational products and digital services at the doorstep of village consumers. It works with local rural entrepreneurs or ‘1Bridge Advisors’ to help deliver these products and fulfill services through an intuitive mobile-based technology platform. The firm has built a presence in more than 70 districts in South India and is currently operational in states such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. To date, 1Bridge has recruited more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, completed 35 million transactions for rural consumers, and directly served 1.5 million village consumers.