Delhi NCR-based tech startup Daalchini has raised $4 million in its Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. Existing investors Artha Venture Fund, Ajay Kaul of Investco and Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm also participated in the round.
According to the startup, this is the largest round raised by the company in the smart vending segment.
The startup plans to use the funds to expand its industrial footprint and technology capabilities, bring vending machines to over 10 million retail locations in India and offer products from over 450 F&B D2C brands.
Daalchini was founded in 2017 by former Paytm executives Prerna Kalra and Vidya Bhushan. Daalchini offers automated kiosks for mobility (order booths), food delivery and packaged foods (vending machines).
The startup places its automated machines in educational institutions, corporate offices, hospitals and railway stations. At the various kiosks, users can either buy packaged food, order online and receive deliveries at the kiosk, or even book a taxi.
The Daalchini app has over 2 million monthly active users and has partnered with nearly 160 F&B brands such as The Whole Truth Foods, Open Secret, Cremica Opera, Dabur, Nestle, Mars and more.
It claims to have grown 300% in the last 12 months and had revenue of 12 Cr in FY22. Daalchini further claims that 90% of its machines have positive EBITDA within 45 days of operation.
Prerna Kalra, cofounder and CEO of Daalchini Technologies, said, “Daalchini aims to establish its footprints at every 200 meters of habitable area with its autonomous smart stores and vending machines. Today, our country has just a few thousand vending machines, while the US or Japan has more than one autonomous store for every 200 people. We are far from the true potential of this kind of retail.”
With the funds raised, the startup plans to expand its operations to 5000+ retail locations from the current 850+ in the next 12-18 months. It aims to achieve INR 50 in revenue and INR 130 in gross merchandise value (GMV).
The retail segment in India is undergoing quite a digital transformation, but Daalchini’s vending machine business model is under-penetrated with only a few 100 kiosks available in India.
A phygital solution is still a luxury and can only be found in large companies within metro cities. Daalchini’s corporate customers include Reliance, Genpact, NITI Aayog, Paytm, BYJU’S, OYO and others. Other startups in this space include Wendor, Instago, ITC’s Delectable and others.