Coutloot, the social commerce platform that allows both buyers and sellers to do price bargain, is raising around USD 25 million from existing and new investors this week, one of the founders has said. The city-based startup, launched in 2019, has already raised USD 8 million from a clutch of domestic investors such as Artha India Ventures, Venture Catalysts, Astarc Ventures, and Nine Unicorns and the US-based SOSV Fund, and they collectively own 30 per cent of the firm, co-founder Jasmeet Thind told PTI on Tuesday.
“To fund growth plans, we are looking at raising an additional USD 25 million from existing and new investors now and we should be closing the second round anytime this week,” Thind added without disclosing how much equity they will pare in this round. Since targeted at price-hunting customers, Coutloot lists only non-MRP (non-branded) products, he said, adding it already reaches 5 lakh small retailers and street vendors who mostly hawk apparel, electronics, home decor, groceries, electricals, and other box items. And there are more than 20 million listing on its platform.
While it functions more or less like Olx, which only lists old items, it lists only new items and follows the Olx’s USP of bargain pricing and that too in local language, Thind said. A customer can speak in his/her own language but the seller will hear/listen to it in her/his own language, thanks to the auto-translation feature on the app, he explained. While product listing is free, Thind said his revenue model is three-way: one is charging Rs 50 each towards shipping charges from buyers and Rs 40 from sellers, but he said this is not profitable given the high courier charges today.
The second revenue stream is advertising, which is fixed at Rs 99 for one item for three days; Rs 499 for one item for 15 days and whole store items for Rs 999 for a month. Currently, it charges no commission but is planning to do so now, he said as ad revenue was only Rs 45 lakh and shipping charges grossed up only Rs 2.5 crore last year. The social commerce platform says its top sellers are from small towns like Nagaon in Assam, Basai near Gurugram, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Surat in Gujarat, and Ludhiana in Punjab.
Without giving details co-founder Mahima Kaul said till July, its gross merchandise value crossed Rs 150 crore, adding this is just the beginning of local commerce going online.