Nexprt, B2B manufacturing and commerce startup, has raised $5 million in Seed funding from Sequoia Capital India and Lightspeed. The round also saw participation from early backers, Titan Capital and other notable angel investors. The company plans to use the proceeds to scale the existing business and launch new business verticals in the manufacturing domain.
The Indian manufacturing and exports space is a $200 billion+ industry on a high growth trajectory with significant tailwinds in the form of global macro factors like supply chain diversification and massive government support through the ‘Make in India’ initiative. However, the manufacturing space, dominated by MSMEs, has historically lacked capabilities to compete with institutional players across Southeast Asia and China. Their inability to manufacture at scale and innovate in manufacturing impacts their global competitiveness, potentially resulting in billions of dollars of global commerce not being routed through India.
Founded by Harsha Vardhan Kalipatnapu, Manav Garg, and Kunal Jain in 2020, Nexprt is solving this problem by building a full-stack vertical commerce business to standardise manufacturing. It is creating category-specific solutions, beginning with the home décor category and expanding to other business verticals, where manufacturing is similarly unorganized, in the next couple of months. The team at Nexprt over the past year has built a sales team across multiple continents to open up demand channels and has also deeply invested in manufacturing-related innovations and processes, enabling the team to execute at scale in India, what was only possible in China and SouthEast Asia till now.
Harsha Vardhan Kalipatnapu, co-founder, Nexprt, says B2B trade is a mature and well-understood industry. “To build a high quality business, one needs to understand category level nuances as each category is vast, with its own set of problems and bottlenecks – they may be working capital related, they may be sales related or they may be manufacturing related. It is key to identify and solve for those specifically so that they can be the differentiators in the long term.”
Kalipatnapu said working with partners like Sequoia Capital India and Lightspeed from the beginning allowed Nexprt the comfort of focussing on building these key differentiators in the decor business. “We built out a demand engine capable of predicting market trends and did a lot of product and process development on the manufacturing front, allowing us to reduce TAT and manufacture superior quality, new SKUs. Today, these capabilities are helping us get on a high quality growth trajectory, as demonstrated by a high percentage of repeat customers and increasing share of wallet from large clients, which we feel is the true marker for customer love in the B2B space.”
Manav Garg, co-founder, Nexprt, says it is a very unorganized industry, especially on the manufacturing side. “Manufacturers struggle with the dual problem of highly customized manufacturing needs from clients, while lacking the capabilities to innovate and build new products with high aesthetic appeal. Building a scalable playbook was key. Process and technology innovation, data-backed catalog intelligence, and design and product teams spread across the globe have enabled us to build a very deep process and innovation led industry moat that has seen great customer love. Our customers have quickly moved a significant chunk of their business to Nexprt both, from different vendors and countries, which gives us confidence that we are on the right track.”
Kunal Jain, co-founder, Nexprt, says while the last decade has been about building horizontal commerce platforms, the world will quickly evolve into adapting vertical specific deeply integrated businesses, where people will want to deal with companies that are high quality one-stop solutions for their categories and businesses.
With a state of the art in-house manufacturing facility in Moradabad and another facility opening in Jodhpur in January 2022, Nexprt is on-track to building a one-stop decor solution in India for global clients, a value proposition that manufacturers haven’t been able to provide. The team is eyeing a 5x growth in the next few months in the decor business once these facilities are up and running.
Vaibhav Agrawal, Partner at Lightspeed said they met the Nexprt team and felt they were special founders, and just had to be in business with, even before they had a customer or a product! “Their focus from the get-go on both quality & leveraging technology to delight customers has been incredible. The South East Asia — US/EU corridor has many gigantic opportunities across payments, logistics, commerce and we are excited to work closely with Nexprt to shape the future”
Shraeyansh Thakur, Principal, Sequoia India, says digitisation of the exports ecosystem in India is a massive opportunity. “As the industry develops, we believe a larger share of global exports in several categories will move to this region. When we met the Nexprt team, we were very impressed by the nuanced understanding and insights they had in this space, making them well-positioned to capture what we believe is going to be a huge trend in the next decade, and Sequoia Capital India is excited to partner with them right at the outset of this journey.”
Over the next few months, the team will also invest in new business verticals outside of home decor, to tap further into the $200bn+ market opportunity and play a stellar role in the shift of global commerce to India.