December 2, 2020


Retail aggregator F5 closes seed round led by Venture Catalysts

Venture Catalysts, India’s first, largest and pioneering integrated incubator and accelerator platform, recently invested an undisclosed amount in retail aggregator F5. The New Delhi-based startup, incubated by Gurgaon based leading Incubator, Huddle, has previously raised funding from prominent angel investors and micro-VCs including LetsVenture, Madhusudan Kela backed Singularity, Artworks Founder Mohit Satyanand, Tres Ventures, Country Delight founders and Startup Buddy to name a few. 

Founded by IIM-Lucknow alumni Raghav Arora and Lalit Kumar Aggarwal in 2018, F5 is committed to creating a unique and first-of-its-kind supply chain and retail aggregation model that specifically caters to the workplace retail segment, which is an estimated $64 billion industry. Keeping in line the government’s ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign, the company is also empowering neighborhood shops and small businesses by providing them with end-to-end support to reach more customers. 

As a workplace retail brand and an aggregator of local but high-quality refreshment stores, the startup has successfully on-boarded 4000+ paid consumers across Delhi and Lucknow, whilst enabling and optimising the revenue of these vendors. With tea as its primary offering, F5 sells more than 8000 cups of tea per day on average, recording annual revenues worth INR 150 lacs.

The USP of F5 lies in its multi-faceted, multi touchpoint approach to providing new opportunities for its partner vendors to up-sell and cross-sell their products ranging from refreshments to services, thereby creating a dynamic micro-market and increasing revenues of its partners by 40%.

Putting light on F5, Raghav Arora, Co-Founder F5, highlighted “Our consumers wanted us to have physical stores and be near them for their immediate needs. Just a couple of months back, we decided to cater this demand by partnering with already existing vendors. We have so far partnered with 20+ such vendors and have plans to partner with 5000+ vendors within NCR only. For customers, we are a brand for their workplace needs that is fresher and more authentic. For our vendors, we have become their access point for multiple partnerships that can boost their business and revenues. F5 is also becoming a unique supply chain for many tech and non-tech consumer brands,”

Speaking on the investment, Dr Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Founder, Venture Catalysts, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has posed unprecedented challenges to India’s business ecosystem, making us realize the importance of local manufacturing and supply chains. As emphasised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is the time to revive our local industries and businesses that struggle to cope with larger brands despite offering quality products/services. F5 is doing exactly this – upskilling as well as providing technology, delivery and management support to local vendors and SMEs while helping organize the highly fragmented workplace retail space. The startup has already exhibited a robust growth trajectory, and we are confident that the latest funding round will further add to its strengths.” 

Expressing his delight, Lalit Kumar Aggarwal, Co-Founder F5, added, “We are delighted to get Venture Catalysts on board alongside other investors. We will use the funding to optimize our supply chain operations and reach a wider audience. While we have started our journey quite recently, the investment from Venture Catalysts comes as validation of our work. We look forward to a fruitful association with them.”

“From day one, the F5 team has focussed on localisation, quality, hygiene and efficiency, as the four mantras to their business, in order to successfully provide their service to all their stakeholders. As an incubator, and their partners, their growth has also showcased a lot of discipline towards these moats, and it’s a delight to have the VCATS team joining as part of this journey”, Sanil Sachar, Founding Partner, Huddle.

Over the next year, F5 plans to expand the scope of its retail aggregation and supply chain through “workplace retail delivery service” by offering a wide range of products such as extended portfolio of refreshments, meals, beverages along with and services including delivery pickups and drop offs, micro ATMs, and mobile recharges, among others. The company also looks forward to enabling and empowering more local stores in the country that lack infrastructural support.