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Ruban Bridge secures funding from C4D Partners

Featured in: The Economic Times, Business Standard, The Hindu Business Line

The funding for the Bengaluru-based company was led by Netherlands-based impact investor C4D Partners, an early investor since the last four years, who have doubled their commitment.

Village-tech enterprise RubanBridge (1Bridge), a last-mile supply chain and distribution network focused on the villages in rural India on Wednesday announced that it has raised $2.5 million in a fresh round of funding.

The funding for the Bengaluru-based company was led by Netherlands-based impact investor C4D Partners, an early investor since the last four years, who have doubled their commitment.

"With this investment, we aim to expand the network, strengthen our technology & data capabilities, roll-out 1Bridge Experience Zones at the Taluk-level and expand our partnerships for last-mile supply chain and distribution – while pursuing profitable growth," Founder and CEO of 1Bridge, Madan Padaki said in a statement.

The company will look to roll out over 500 ‘1Bridge Experience Centres’ at various Tehsil/Block towns that will enable consumers to touch and feel aspirational products while also expanding its product and service offerings through strategic partnerships with consumer durables brands and fintech/credit companies who are looking to expand their reach in rural hinterlands.

“The foundations of 1Bridge are built with a strong emphasis on rural consumer experience, assisted commerce platform, terrific execution capabilities and a focus on being capital efficient. We are delighted to continue supporting the team as they embark on their next stage of scale and impact," Arvind Agarwal, CEO, C4D Partners said.

1Bridge has also raised its maiden working capital facility from Ananya Finance for Inclusive Growth, an Ahmedabad-based Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) that reaches out to a large section of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and grassroot entities.

This deal with 1Bridge marks Ananya Finance’s attempt to reach out to companies beyond the microfinance sector. With this round of funding, 1Bridge is positioned to pursue its growth plans over the next 18 months, to deepen its reach as a supply chain and distribution network across another 10,000 villages by adding 10,000 more entrepreneurs.

“Having observed 1Bridge’s trajectory over the past few years, we are glad to be aligned with its vision for Rural India over the coming years and hope to transform it together," Gaurav Gupta, MD, Ananya Finance for Inclusive Growth said.

Launched in May 2016, 1Bridge is a village commerce platform that provides a wide range of aspirational products and digital services at the doorsteps of village consumers. It works with local rural entrepreneurs or ‘1Bridge Advisors’ to help deliver these products and fulfil services through an intuitive mobile-based tech platform.

Over the last 4 years, 1Bridge has grown steadily with over 75% year-on-year (YOY) growth and has grossed revenue of over Rs 52 crore in FY21 and looking to cross Rs 100 crore in FY22. 1Bridge has turned EBIDTA positive in FY21 and has been capital efficient (with a cumulative raise of US$ 1.5 million) as it has built a presence in over 70 districts of Southern India and is presently operational in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,

Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

To date, 1Bridge has onboarded over 10,000 entrepreneurs, fulfilled 35 million transactions for rural consumers, and served 1.5 million village consumers directly, the company said.

The funding round also included participation from new investors such as KAAJ Ventures (venture fund of Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur and angel investor BV Jagadeesh), angel investors like Prashanth Prakash, Founding Partner of Accel Partners; Puneet Jetli, technopreneur and co-founder of Happiest Minds and Aradhana D Chatterjee, a seasoned PE/VC executive. Existing angel investor Prashanth Boccasam, a US-based serial tech-entrepreneur and investor also participated in this round with a significant investment. C4D Partners and Prashanth Boccasam also acquired additional stake through a secondary transaction, providing an exit to a few early shareholders.

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