Paris-based startup Alkemics, a platform enabling brands to launch products with retailers, has raised €21 million in a Series C funding round, as it experiences soaring demand from grocers and suppliers responding to the rapid shift to omnichannel shopping.
Alkemics (2011) a supplier platform for omnichannel retailers. Since raising €20 million in 2016, it has worked with France and the UK’s largest grocery retailers (including E.Leclerc, Intermarché, Casino, Tesco and Ocado) to digitise their commercial processes with more than 17,000 brands. The platform connects retailers like Intermarché and Tesco to multinational suppliers such as Nestlé, as well as small local producers. In 2019, more than 7.5 million messages were exchanged through the platform.
With this round, growth stage fund Highland Europe has joined the company’s investors, while Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, SEB Alliance and Serena Capital have renewed their support. Analysts now expect the online grocery market to grow by 25% in 2020, having seen sales leap by 30% during April.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown how manufacturers and retailers need to be able to react and collaborate in real-time to meet consumer needs. Using Alkemics, retailers were able to rapidly source substitutes for out-of-stock products and secure new lines of supply. As pressure grew on supply chains, exacerbated by remote working, many suppliers began using the platform to start conversations with retailers and to sell their excess products.
Antoine Durieux, co-founder and CEO of Alkemics, explained: “Our aim is to make B2B business quick, easy and interactive. Any manufacturer should be able to put a product on the market as easily as if they were posting a message on a social network, and any store should be able to find the products that consumers are looking for by simply searching through an app. The Alkemics platform is helping thousands of suppliers and retailers across Europe to work closely together, to simplify their collaboration, to speed up products go-to-market and to ensure that product data is always as transparent and up to date as possible”.
Tony Zappala, Partner at Highland Europe, said: “The last two months have demonstrated to everyone how retail technology is a critical part of our infrastructure. Alkemics’ high level of technological functionality and ultra-flexible data model can tackle all different verticals in the retail industry and is therefore able to respond rapidly and effectively to unprecedented levels of demand, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. As things start to return to normal, retailers and suppliers will want to continue with this new digitized collaboration through the platform, which has helped to increase their productivity as well as ensuring that the shopper has all the information they need to make an informed purchase”.
Already well-established in France and in the UK, Alkemics will use the new funds raised to launch in other parts of Europe, beginning with Germany, Benelux and Scandinavia.