In 2020, Frontier Markets saw a 200% growth in business with an increase in its women sales force network from 3800 to 10,000 in just 12 months. From 125K customers in March 2020 to 441K customers in 2021, the Jaipur based startup has sold 2.2 million solutions to these rural households with proven rural friendly tech, data insights and robust delivery clean energy, consumer electronics, durables, agriculture and FMCG.
Established in 2011, Frontier Markets is a social tech enterprise that focuses on rural India. It is an end-to-end commerce digitally enabled platform that provides last-mile products and services, that allows rural customers to buy instant solutions from multi-product/services fast from women salesforce – FMCG, agri, durables, and electronics and digital services to the last mile village like no other, delivered at the doorsteps of consumers in villages through an assisted commerce model run by rural women entrepreneurs called Saral Jeevan Sahelis. Proving a winning model with rural women commerce.
Indian rural market potential is ten times bigger than all the unicorns of India put together. There has been a steep rise in the rural internet customer base from 18% in 2017 to 45% by 2021. The consumption demand of the rural smartphone user has increased from 50mn to 109 million from 2017 to 2021. The increasing technology awareness and product affordability in rural India has fuelled the growth for the assisted e-commerce market, it has the potential to grow from Rs 5.5 trillion to Rs 22 trillion by 2030.
In a statement, Ajaita Shah, founder of Frontier Markets said, “We have crossed a GMV of Rs 50 crore from last year, successfully creating livelihoods during the unemployment crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, helping rural India thrive on local level entrepreneurship. We built a network of rural women entrepreneurs and set up local service centres that were hubs for delivering solutions and providing after-sales service. We are planning to grow from 10,000 to one million sahelis in the next five years, reaching 300 million rural customers and becoming India’s largest women-led commerce platform driving a bottom-up lens for product innovation.”
It caters to rural women helping their family, friends and neighbors access all kinds of products and services at their doorstep through a vernacular and voice enabled e commerce solution designed for them. The Meri Saheli app was designed with saheli three years ago – to have local languages, voice bots, voice to text, and an AI training bot to help all kinds of women (digital savvy, illiterate) to use a digital tool to do their work.
Sahelis use the Meri Saheli app to demonstrate products, facilitate online sales, and collect insights on what rural families require. Frontier Markets is exponentially growing at 200% YoY and demonstrating profitability for the last 4 years. It has partnered with several global brands like Philips, Samsung, and more. The company had raised $2.25 million pre-series A funding in July 2020 led by ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, The Rise Fund, and The Singh Family Trusts (advised by Artha Impact), along with Teja Ventures and affiliates of Beyond Capital Fund.
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