Frendy, a Community Group buying platform increased the size of its Series A Fundraise, closing at ₹23 crores ($3 M). The company had raised a smaller tranche from investors in December’21. Frendy’s new round has seen the renewed participation of the Desai Family office and new investors via Let’s Venture Angel Fund led by MARV Capital from New York, Centera Fund UK and Angel investors such as Shalabh Mehrish of Vinson Cap Advisors, Jon Piebenga, Partner, Social Venture Partners Charleston, Brian Giarocco, Ground Swell Capital, Raza Hasnani MD, Africa50 Fund, Kunal Shah – MD, Nomura, Arthur Farme – CEO Grupo H Brazil, Vivek Baliga – MD, BMO & Chetan Vig MD, Teachers Pension Fund, Vikas Lunia, Lunia Capital.
Frendy, founded by Sameer Gandotra a Wharton MBA and Gowrav Vishwakarma a Tech Entrepreneur, has a team of 100 professionals including its in house technology team. The start-up has seen amazing traction and has expanded in stealth mode with operations in 25+ Tier 2-6 towns and over 4,500+ products. The company has recently expanded its reach by foraying into Rajasthan with Madhya Pradesh next on the cards.
The Company has achieved a revenue of ₹43 Crores in its very 1st year of operations with break-even unit economics.
Frendy is building a “digital supermarket” with neighbourhood homepreneurs in Bharat. The Frendy model is unique as it leverages Social & Trust along the entire customer journey which is the need of Bharat customers.
Frendy focuses largely on women consumers & women community leaders & by building a community around them. The start-up is committed towards providing a platform for a “Kaabil Beti” (Capable Daughter) to start a digital supermarket for her community, earn a supplementary income, get recognition both within her family, community as well as within a group of like-minded Frendy Partners, thus gaining financial independence and entrepreneurial confidence. 90% of the household purchase decisions are made by women, so Women Community Leaders make sound business sense. With a dearth of sustainable income opportunities for women in Bharat there are plenty of takers for the rewarding Frendy opportunity.
Frendy has also strengthened its team with a slew of experienced industry veterans with the appointment of Harshad Joshi as COO & Shilpa Ajwani, former Managing Director of Tupperware India as a Consulting Advisor apart from several mid-career professionals from Retail, Supply Chain & Direct Sales.
Harshad Joshi has over 30 years of experience in large-scale businesses such as Amul & Walmart. He has been CEO of Maahi Milk,
& COO of Parag Milk as well as Zonal Head for Metro Cash & Carry. Speaking about the unique We-Commerce model of Frendy, Harshad Joshi said, “I was attracted to Frendy because of its unique culture & vision. I have enjoyed working in rural India on complex supply chains and in mission-oriented companies and I believe that the “Main se Hum” (ME to WE) movement of Frendy presents an incredible opportunity to build a scalable & sustainable business.”
Shilpa Ajwani is a seasoned Social Selling Expert with over twenty-five years of experience in building businesses from start up to scale with renowned companies such as Oriflame and Tupperware that have pioneered micro-entrepreneurship in India. Utilising her vast knowledge especially from her work with over 500,000 women micro-entrepreneurs in her career, she is enabling Frendy to create a differentiated and holistic business model. She is also a mentor to Frendy’s ‘Kaabil Betis’ (“capable daughters”) within the Organisation as well as in the fast-growing Frendy Partner Community.
Shilpa said, “I am excited about executing an innovative business model together with the Frendy Leadership Team that is custom-created for Bharat. What we’re creating has the potential to spur financial empowerment for Frendy Partners all across India. It will deploy the time-tested principles relevant to the success of micro-entrepreneurs and equip them with the tools, trainings and techniques that will be revolutionary in the social commerce industry in India.”
What differentiates Frendy from other community group buying platforms is its focus on women consumers & community leaders, a Bharat focussed team that has prior experience & success in building a microentrepreneur business with a capital efficient execution model.
Frendy’s frontline team of direct sales & training professionals have collectively nurtured over 1 million independent women homepreneurs between them. Enrolling, training, building & retaining a microentrepreneur community has been the Founders’ core expertise even before the inception of Frendy. Speaking about its homepreneur model, Gowrav Vishwakarma, Co-Founder Frendy stated, “We understand how to make a micropreneur business successful. A Partners’ monthly income is our North Star Metric. A stable monthly income assures higher retention of Partners which in turn ensures Customer retention & overall sustainability of the model. We have disbursed over ₹2 Crores to our active microentrepreneur community and the average income our Frendy Partner earns is several times higher than what is typically seen in other reseller/micropreneur platforms”.
Frendy has an asset light franchised local distributor model that serves it well in Tier 3-6 markets. “Entrepreneurial frugality coupled with local knowledge & relationships has been the hallmark
s of successful rural distribution businesses and Frendy has adopted the same to scale quickly & sustainably with a low capital requirement. It is on account of the above that the Company has very quickly got Product Market Fit and has notched up a Revenue of ₹43 Cr in its 1st year of operations with a limited burn” said Sameer Gandotra Founder Frendy. “This compares quite favourably to what other community group buying companies have managed in a similar stage of growth” he added.
With the recent increase in the size of its Series A fundraise, and the strengthening of its team with experienced Industry leaders, Frendy has been on overdrive and its recent expansion to Rajasthan, with Madhya Pradesh next on the cards. Along with its highly scalable entrepreneur led franchise distribution model, Frendy is clearly on track to reach an ARR of ₹300 Crore by the end of the financial year.
About Frendy & the WEcommerce Model
Frendy was Founded by Sameer Gandotra an MBA from the Wharton School and Gowrav Vishwakarma, a tech entrepreneur from Udaipur. The idea of Frendy started from Sameer’s involvement in a prior venture in the Affordable Housing Space Aavaas where they built a network of micropreneurs who leveraged Social & Trust in enabling Bharat customer to buy a home. “Having won Bharat’s Trust on Makaan (Home) we decided to venture into other consumer categories like Roti & Kapda (Food & Clothing) where trust is easier to win. We supercharged our existing knowledge of Trust & Aspiration of Bharat consumers with the power of digital technology and Frendy and the WEcommerce movement was born”, said Sameer.
The Frendy Partner is typically a woman homepreneur from the neighbourhood. She educates friends, neighbours & relatives of the price benefits, variety & convenience of buying on Frendy. Customers get all the information on deals, offers & products on the WhatsApp groups run by their Frendy Partners. Frendy Partners also recommend products & are ready to answer any Customer queries in their preferred local language. Customers can order directly on Frendy’s vernacular Web App or be assisted to place orders easily via the Frendy Partners. The Frendy Partners perform last mile delivery, collect payments and benefit from the monetary incentives. If there are any issues with the product the Customer can easily get it resolved by contacting the Frendy Partners instead of having to deal long distance with Customer Care departments. The current Frendy community of homepreneurs, forms a strong social base for mutual growth & development. One for many and many for one. This is the very foundation of the “Main se Hum” (ME to WE) mission.