ImpactAlpha, September 1 –The explosion of emerging markets e-commerce platforms and services largely benefits urban consumers. Bangalore-based RubanBridge is building an e-commerce platform called 1Bridge to serve India’s 850 million-strong rural population.
The five-year-old company trains and hires rural youth and informal kirana shop owners to help villagers complete shopping and personal financial transactions online. They also collect information on consumer preferences to build 1Bridge’s catalog.
RubanBridge partners with major logistics companies like Amazon and Flipkart for last-mile delivery. Kenya’s Copia operates a similar rural e-commerce and logistics model.
Netherlands-based impact investor C4D Partners led RubanBridge’s $2.5 million funding round. KAAJ Ventures and several angel investors participated.
Separately, Delhi-based Kirana247, a woman-led company, raised $1 million to expand its network of small warehouses and inventory delivery services to thousands of urban kiranas.