Shotang, a Bengaluru-based start-up, is aiming to organise the unorganised retail distribution channel in the mobile handsets and accessories space and transform the way the channel operates. The firm which has aggregated over 15,000 retailers and over 180 suppliers on its platform across the top seven cities in the country, is deploying technology to fix the back end of retail and create a seamless distribution channel. The objective is to empower millions of traditional retailers by helping them procure their inventory at better margins and higher operational convenience.
Shotang offers significant business benefits to all three stakeholders of the supply chain in the mobile handset space: manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. “We also improve their working capital efficiencies by enabling access to credit from banks or NBFCs and cutting-edge payment solutions such as UPI,” said Anish Basu Roy, co-founder and CEO of Shotang. Manufacturers benefit by selling to retailers directly on its platform because of the rapid market access, lower cost of sales and distribution and better access to sales or inventory data. Retailers can use theShotang app to procure their entire inventory at the best margins. Brands and distributors can sell to thousands of retailers with maximum capital efficiency. Retailers get access to formal credit through digital lenders and make payments using digital payment applications. Shotang was co-founded by Anish Basu Roy and Anterpreet Singh in November 2015. “During the course of our professional careers, we worked with traditional retailers across the country and were aware of the inefficiencies that exist in the traditional distribution ecosystem. Processes in the traditional distribution channel are manually intensive, costly and lead to massive information asymmetry. We believed that technology could solve these problems. Hence, we started Shotang with the vision of tech-transforming the traditional distribution channel with an on-cloud platform,” he said.
Roy said that the retail distribution segment in India is a $630 billion industry with about 15 million retailers. There is a huge opportunity in solving the challenges faced by the retailers in the area of last mile logistics, payments and providing access to credit. “We are clearly building a platform for millions of traditional retailers to run their entire business on. In a country where 90% of the retail distribution industry in run by them—the power of such a platform is phenomenal,” he said. On Shotang’s expansion plans, he said that in the next five years, it would like to venture into four to five categories, with a target market size of over $80 billion and presence in around 100 cities. It had recently launched pilot-stage initiatives in different product categories and is evaluating market feedback before a full-fledged launch in the coming quarter. Shotang has raised $5 million from Exfinity Ventures and Unitus Impact in 2015. It had raised $300,000 in a seed round earlier from Bitchemy Ventures.