French startup Ankorstore raised a $ 283 million Series C (€ 250 million) round of funding. Founded in November 2019, it took approximately two years for Ankorstore to reach a post-money valuation of $ 2 billion (€ 1.75 billion). The company operates a wholesale market for independent retailers across Europe.
Ankorstore allows independent brands to sell their products to independent retailers. These retailers can then sell these products to their own customers. It’s a B2B2C game focused on end-of-line offline sales.
You can find a bit of everything on Ankorstore, from maple syrup housewares, candles, headbands, bath salts, and stationery. There are some verticals that have performed particularly well, such as non-perishable groceries, beauty products, and household items.
And it works extremely well given the trajectory of the business. There are currently 200,000 retailers using the marketplace and sourcing from 15,000 brands. In May 2021, when Ankorstore increased its Series B, the company told me it was working with 50,000 stores and 5,000 brands.
That brings us to today’s fundraising round. Bond and Tiger Global led the C series. Eurazeo and Coatue also participated in the round. Some existing investors are putting more money on the table, such as Index Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, GFC, Alven and Aglae Ventures.
There aren’t many competing companies in the space. Probably the most famous wholesale market is To do, a US-based company that raised over a billion dollars – he recently started his European expansion. To create and Field Order also operate wholesale markets in Europe.
A marketplace without inventory
Ankorstore has teams in five countries: France, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden. It sells products in 23 European markets. Retailers can pay up to 60 days after ordering something and there are no hidden charges for them. Essentially, Ankorstore helps retailers focus on curation, service while the startup takes care of sourcing.
As for the brands listing their items on Ankorstore, they grant a 10% reduction on each transaction following a higher reduction of 20% on the first order via Ankorstore.
Some brands still have direct agreements with large retailers, such as department stores. And Ankorstore doesn’t prevent brands from hiring salespeople, going to trade shows, etc. The marketplace is just another sales channel and another opportunity to find customers.
And that’s the beauty of the wholesale market business model. Ankorstore does not have a warehouse and does not have any inventory. The company only facilitates transactions between brands and retailers without any capital investment.
“We think we’re closer to LinkedIn in the way we operate – it’s a network of professionals and we help them connect with each other,” the co-founder and co-CEO told me. Nicolas Cohen.
And like all social networks, there are strong network effects as the platform grows. In particular, Ankorstore plans to expand into new categories, such as perishables.
The startup already has an agreement with UPS to help brands ship. But the company hasn’t done much when it comes to warehousing solutions for smaller brands. This is another opportunity on the road.
With 400 employees and a lot of money in its bank account, Ankorstore could act as the unifying layer of this highly fragmented industry.