Anar, a B2B business networking platform, has raised $6.2 Mn in seed funding co-led by Elevation Capital and Accel India. This round also saw participation from First Cheque and Utsav Somani (iSeed and Partner, AngelList India).
Some of the best engineering and product-centric founders, including Ranjeet Pratap Singh (Co-founder & CEO, Pratilipi), Farid Ahsan (Co-founder, ShareChat), Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal (Co-founders, Meesho), and Shashvat Nakrani (Co-founder, BharatPe) have also participated in the round. The company will use the funds raised to strengthen the product and the technology capabilities.
Launched In February 2020 by IIM Lucknow alumni Nishank Jain and Sanjay Bhat, the Anar business app caters primarily to small-and-medium businesses (SMBs) across the value chain, from manufacturers to retailers and resellers, helping them connect and interact with one another.
Nishank and Sanjay’s vision is to build Anar as the go-to B2B networking platform for SMBs across India, enabling over 70 Mn businesses to get access to a vast network, create their digital identity, and find a place to stay updated with industry trends. In a short period, the platform has gained over two lakh registered businesses on the platform.
Why build a B2B Business Networking Platform though? While small businesses constantly need to network to find new suppliers, vendors, and customers, more than 85% of them have small, fragmented networks. Growing up in a (jewellery) business family in Mumbai, Nishank understood firsthand the challenges business owners faced in building an extensive network offline given the scarcity of relevant platforms. This limited their access to new products, markets and, most importantly, market knowledge, reducing their ability to innovate.
Sanjay, on the other hand, was intrigued by the opportunity to create a new product category. Together, they wanted to create a product that would help business owners expand their networks beyond their communities to succeed in an increasingly borderless digital world. Anar does just that—it offers businesses a new medium to create their digital identity, discover and build relations with suppliers and buyers, enable transactions between them, and consequently expand their reach across India.
On the Anar business app, all retailers, resellers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers can create their profiles, upload their catalogues, create posts, form connections, post requirements and interact with one another. Today, Anar focuses on onboarding businesses across multiple verticals, especially jewellery, clothing, grocery stores, footwear, leather products, and similar verticals.
Nishank Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, Anar, said, “For all these years, SMB owners are used to getting business through their relationships and networks. With Anar, we want to enable owners to focus on something they are good at, i.e., building their network to grow their business. Anar is a 0-to-1 solution in this space with no other global peers, and we are humbled by our investors’ belief in our team and our vision. These funds will help us deliver a world-class product for SMBs.”
Sanjay Bhat, Co-Founder and CTO of Anar, said, “We are looking for smart people who are excited about making an impact on hundreds of millions of lives. We want to hire the best engineers and product leaders who will embrace our user-first product mindset as we solve the most pressing problems for SMBs. We are in the early stages and have a strong product roadmap and need candidates who can think on first principles to deliver against our strategy. Our long-term objective is to make the best engineering and product team in the world.”
Commenting on the investment, Prayank Swaroop, Partner at Accel India, said, “Anar is building the new business social network for SMEs in India. A more collaborative way of doing business, and something that hasn’t existed in India before. We are very happy to partner with Anar’s enterprising team!”
Amit Aggarwal, Vice President at Elevation Capital, said, “We’ve long believed in the power of networking to empower and turbo-charge businesses, but observed a gap in the MSME domain which is constrained by legacy relationships. Anar is taking a unique discovery-first approach to B2B relations (and commerce) and making it truly seamless for small businesses to create their digital presence and forge connections. We are excited to partner with Nishank and Sanjay in this journey to create a category-defining business.”