A tech solution to make Kiranas smart

Jumbotail, a B2B wholesale online marketplace was founded by Ashish Jhina and S Karthik Venkateswaran in 2014, to disentangle this lingering pain point.

The local neighbourhood stores, the kiranas, selling everything from toothpaste to pencils, grocery staples and more have stood the test of time, despite challenges from online delivery platforms. It is the go-to place for buying staples such as milk, bread and so on. However, the entrepreneurs that run these outlets, often face multiple issues in sourcing materials, sorting the inventory and maintaining quality standards. 

Jumbotail, a B2B wholesale online marketplace was founded by Ashish Jhina and S Karthik Venkateswaran in 2014, to disentangle this lingering pain point.

Jhina says, "Often these stores are single-person operations. This means that the shopkeeper has to travel long distances regularly to source the best material. Moreover, if they fall short of a specific item, they are unable to get it right away. We saw an opportunity in this space, which led to the formation of Jumbotail. " 

In the last four years, the platform has expanded operations across Bengaluru and set up pilot operations in Hyderabad as well. The company has raised about $23 million (about Rs 160 crore) till date and counts Kalaari Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Heron Rock, Capria Fund, BNK Ventures and William Jarvis as investors.

What do they do

Essentially, the Jumbotail marketplace connects customers (primarily food and grocery retailers) with brands and producers of staples and FMCG products through an android app available in multiple languages. It uses its network of fulfilment and distribution centres and its last-mile delivery fleet to deliver orders. 

Jhani says, "We have an in-house supply chain technology built specifically for meeting the requirements of wholesale food and grocery; to deliver orders placed on the Jumbotail app to the customers’ storefront in quick time."

The platform mainly focusses on staples such as rice, edible oil, sugar, packaged foods, personal care and home care products. This ensures that the retailers do not have to shut down their shop to get products and can get inventory management and a multitude of other features that help them manage their stores better. Ashish adds, "We also run a loyalty programme for regular customers and run a private label for staples, Jumbofarms. Products in that category are sourced via Farm Producer Organisations (FPOs)." 

Multiple payment options

Customers pay through the Jumbotail fintech platform at the time of delivery by using a variety of payment modes including working capital credit provided directly to customers by lenders. "Lenders use our proprietary algorithms and integrated credit product to strengthen their underwriting. We make it more cost-effective for them to serve the credit requirements of kirana store owners. "

Jumbotail also provides Retail-as-a-Service for modern convenience retail stores and helps them compete by providing a retail operating system including Point of Sale (PoS) integration with its marketplace and supply chain backend. The platform also offers AI-driven merchandising, replenishment, and omnichannel access.

Managing logistics

On managing logistics, Jhani points out, "We have over 100 vehicles on long term lease, which cater to delivery requirements. We have systems in place to track items real-time on the supply chain, AI and ML tools that help us run around-the-clock service. Some of our customers request for items at around 2 am in the morning and we try and get it delivered as soon as possible. We currently serve more than 21,000 stores in Bengaluru and are running a pilot project in Hyderabad as well."

What next?

Over the next five years, the company is planning to expand to 10 cites and lay digital and physical pipes to change the narrative of Kirana stores in the country and make them more competitive.

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