Zetwerk, an 18-month-old Indian B2B marketplace for manufacturing items, raises $32M

Zetwerk, an Indian business-to-business marketplace for manufacturing items, has closed a significantly large financing round as it scales its operations in the nation and also helps local businesses find customers overseas.

The 18-month-old startup said on Wednesday it has raised $32 million in a Series B financing round led by Lightspeed and Greenoaks Capital. Zetwerk co-founder and chief executive Amrit Acharya told TechCrunch in an interview that the startup has also raised about $14.2 million in debt from a consortium of banks, and others.

Existing investors Accel, Sequoia India and Kae Capital also participated in the round, which pushes the Bangalore-based startup’s total raise to date to about $41 million. Vaibhav Gupta, co-founder of business-to-business marketplace Udaan, and Maninder Gulati, one of the top executives at budget lodging startup Oyo also participated.

Zetwerk was founded by Acharya, Srinath Ramakkrushnan, Rahul Sharma and Vishal Chaudhary last year. The startup connects OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and EPC (engineering procurement construction) customers with manufacturing small-businesses and enterprises.

Unlike the more common e-commerce firms we come across every day, Zetwerk sells goods such as parts of a crane, doors, chassis of different machines and ladders. The startup operates to serve customers in fabrication, machining, casting and forging businesses. Currently, Zetwerk works with more than 100 enterprises and 1,500 small and medium-sized businesses. It delivers more than 15,000 parts each month.

“These are all custom-made products,” explained Acharya. “Nobody has a stock of such inventories. You get the order, you find manufacturers and workshops that make them. Our customers are companies that are in the business of building infrastructure.”

“We index these small workshops and understand the kinds of products they have built before. These indexes help bigger companies discover and work with them,” he added.

Once a firm has placed an order, Zetwerk allows them to keep a tab on the progress of manufacturing and then the shipping. This “hand-holding” is crucial, as in this line of business, manufacturing and shipping typically take more than two to three months.

Zetwerk has also enabled manufacturers in India to discover and find clients overseas. Today, manufacturers on the platform export their goods to North America and Southeast Asia, Acharya said. “India has a lot of depth in manufacturing, but much of it has not been tapped well,” he said.

Helping these manufacturing workshops find clients online is still a new phenomenon in the nation. Acharya said Zetwerk largely competes with domain project consultants in the offline work. “They specialize in certain products and geographies. So let’s say someone wanted to buy a machine XYZ in Orissa, they reach out to consultants who help them find workshops and estimate how much time it would take to get the project done.”

According to industry reports, manufacturing today accounts for 14% of India’s GDP. But the nation lacks a supporting ecosystem to execute projects in an efficient manner.

Vaibhav Agarwal, a partner at Lightspeed, said it was unusual to come across a market that is as large as $40 billion to $60 billion in India and global trade-tailwinds that creates opportunity to serve international demand.

The startup plans to infuse portions of the fresh capital into expanding its international operations. Acharya did not share exactly how many clients it has outside of India but said exports currently account for less than 5% of the startup’s GMV, or gross merchandize value.

He said the startup will continue to focus on helping Indian manufacturers find clients outside, as it is better suited to address this, as opposed to helping Indian companies find manufacturers overseas.

The startup will also explore helping its manufacturing workshops access working capital, though Acharya cautioned that it is not something that would happen anytime soon.

In a statement, Prayank Swaroop, a partner at Accel, said, “the use of technology in project planning, procurement, audits, and supply chain transparency is the core offering of Zetwerk which is completely original. Accel is very fortunate to be part of Zetwerk journey since the startup’s inception.”

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