B2B marketplace Ankorstore raises €25 million
A year ago, newly launched e-tail start-up Ankorstore announced a remarkable €6 million funding round. An initial success that put the French B2B marketplace in the limelight, since among the investors there were investment funds like Global Founders Capital, Alven, and Aglaé Ventures, the latter being none other than the Arnault group’s investment vehicle.
A year later, Ankorstore has announced an even more successful funding round. The three private equity firms that initially invested in the start-up have done so again, alongside a new entry, Index Ventures, for a total funding worth €25 million.
Why did an international venture capital firm, with stakes in Deliveroo, Etsy and Trouva, decide to invest in a company founded just over a year ago?
Firstly, because of the professional experience of Ankorstore's founders: Pierre-Louis Lacoste is a former country manager France for Etsy, Nicolas d’Audiffret and Nicolas Cohen founded A Little Market, a French e-marketplace for handmade items, and Mathieu Alengrin is the former Head of Engineering at Vestiaire Collective.
Ankorstore’s business model is the other element investors are finding appealing. The company has set up a commercial platform that acts as intermediary between independent retailers and brands in the home decoration, fashion, accessories, stationery, beauty and fine foods sectors. Ankorstore’s unique feature is that it aims to reduce the friction hindering collaboration between commercial parties.
Ankorstore has developed, both internally and via external partners, solutions that make it possible for brands’ invoices to be paid as soon as orders are placed, that take care of inventory management and reimburse shipping costs. On the retail side, Ankorstore has adopted policies specifically aimed at independent businesses, like a €100 minimum order value, and free shipping for orders worth at least €300 with multiple brands. Payment terms for retailers that are financially sound are set at 60 days.
“Thanks to our past investments in companies like Etsy, Just Eat, Deliveroo, Farfetch, Trouvaille and Good Eggs, we believe in websites that help independent brands and retailers compete on equal terms with internet giants,” said Martin Mignot, a partner at Index Venture, in a press release. “Our investment in Ankorstore is consistent with this vision. By making it easier for retailers to source products from independent brands, we allow them to establish themselves in major commercial thoroughfares and to become the backbone of independent retail in the whole of Europe,” added Mignot.
Ankorstore says it is working with 15,000 multibrand retailers in nine countries (France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland and Luxembourg), showcasing products by over 2,000 different brands.
And while the traditional distribution model seemed to be making independent retailers more fragile, Ankorstore clearly appears to be relying on this eco-system, and even thinks that the Covid-19 crisis has boosted its potential. “The millions of independent retailers active in Europe add charm to our towns and villages. These entrepreneurs are now struggling because of the Covid-19 crisis, but we are sure that Ankorstore, thanks to the thousands of unique brands it offers, its advantageous commercial conditions and easy payment terms will enable them to expand in the years to come,” said Nicolas d'Audiffret.
Ankorstore underlined that, in 2018, there were 517,400 retail businesses in France, generating a revenue of €1.420 trillion. A large, localised pool that the company is keen to tap and revive.
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