Village-tech start-up 1Bridge (RubanBridge Pvt. Ltd) raised $2.5 million funding led by Netherlands-based impact investor C4D Partners.


The funding round also included participation from new investors such as KAAJ Ventures (venture fund of Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur and prolific angel investor BV Jagadeesh), and angel investors like Prashanth Prakash (founding partner of Accel Partners) Puneet Jetli (technopreneur and co-founder of Happiest Minds), and Aradhana D Chatterjee (a seasoned PE/VC executive).

Existing angel investor Prashanth Boccasam, a US-based serial tech-entrepreneur and investor also participated in this round. C4D Partners and Prashanth Boccasam acquired additional stake through a secondary transaction, providing an exit to a few early shareholders.

In addition to this, 1Bridge raised its maiden working capital facility from Ananya Finance, an Ahmedabad-based non-banking financial company (NBFC) that reaches out to a large section of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and grassroot entities.

Growth plans

With this round of funding, 1Bridge will focus on pursuing its growth plans over the next 18 months, to deepen its reach as a supply chain and distribution network across another 10,000 villages by adding 10,000 more entrepreneurs, roll out 500+ ‘1Bridge Experience Centres’ at various Tehsil/Block towns that will enable consumers to touch aspirational products, and expand its product and service offerings through strategic partnerships with consumer durables brands and fintech/credit companies who are looking to expand their reach in rural hinterlands.

Further, the funding will also be used to strengthen the company’s technology and data platform to make it more convenient for their ‘1Bridge Advisors’ or local micro-entrepreneurs to offer rural outreach and assisted commerce services.

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Arvind Agarwal, CEO, C4D Partners, said , “We have been actively participating in the evolution of 1Bridge – almost since its inception back in 2016, to now a leader in village commerce. The foundations of the company are built with a strong emphasis on rural consumer experience, assisted commerce platform, terrific execution capabilities and a focus on being capital efficient. We are delighted to continue supporting the team as they embark on their next stage of scale & impact.”

Social entrepreneur and Founder and CEO of 1Bridge, Madan Padaki said “With this investment, we aim to expand the network, strengthen our technology and data capabilities, roll-out 1Bridge Experience Zones at the Taluk-level and expand our partnerships for last-mile supply chain and distribution while pursuing profitable growth.”

Village commerce platform

Launched in May 2016 by Madan Padaki and co-founders Anil Kumar, Chief Operating Officer and M Chakrawarty, Chief of Growth & Partnerships, 1Bridge is a village commerce platform that provides a wide range of aspirational products and digital services at the doorsteps of village consumers. It works with local rural entrepreneurs or ‘1Bridge Advisors’ to help deliver these products and fulfil services through an intuitive mobile-based tech platform.

Over the last 4 years, 1Bridge has grown steadily with over 75 per cent year-on-year growth, has gross revenue of over ₹52 crores in FY21, and is looking to cross ₹100 crores in FY22. 1Bridge turned EBIDTA positive in FY21 and has been capital efficient (with a cumulative raise of $1.5 million) as it has built a presence in 70+ districts of southern India and is presently operating in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

To date, 1Bridge has on-boarded over 10,000 strong network of entrepreneurs, fulfilled 35 million transactions for rural consumers, and served 1.5 million village consumers directly.