French startup Ankorstore has raised a $283 million Series C funding round (€250 million). Founded in November 2019, it took Ankorstore about two years 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 customers. It is a B2B2C game with an emphasis on offline sales at the end of the series.
You can find a little bit of everything on Ankorstore, from household items to maple syrup, candles, headbands, bath salts, and stationery. Certain sectors do particularly well, such as non-perishable groceries, beauty products, and items for your home.
And it’s doing very well given the company’s trajectory. There are currently 200,000 retailers using the marketplace and purchasing items from 15,000 brands. In May 2021, when Ankorstore raised its Group B, the company told me it was working with 50,000 stores and 5,000 brands.
This brings us to today’s funding round. Bond and Tiger Global also participated in the tour. Some existing investors are putting more money on the table, such as Index Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, GFC, Alven and Aglae Ventures.
There are not many companies competing in this field. Probably the most well-known wholesale market is Faire, a US-based company that has raised more than $1 billion – and has recently begun its European expansion. Creoate and Orderchamp also operate wholesale markets in Europe.
Market without stock
Ancorstor has teams in five countries – France, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden. It sells products in 23 European markets. Retailers can pay for up to 60 days after ordering something and there are no hidden fees on them. Essentially, Ankorstore helps retailers focus on organization and service while the startup takes care of purchases.
As for the brands that list their items on Ankorstore, they offer a 10% discount on every transaction after a top 20% discount on the first order through Ankorstore.
Some brands still have direct deals with major retailers, such as department stores. And Ankorstore does not prevent brands from hiring sales staff, going to fairs, etc. The market is just another sales channel and another opportunity to find customers.
This is the beauty of the wholesale market business model. Ankorstore does not own any warehouse and does not own any stock. The company facilitates transactions between brands and retailers only without any capital investment.
“We think we’re closer to LinkedIn in the way we work – it’s a network of professionals and we help them connect with each other,” co-founder and co-CEO Nicholas Cohen told me.
And like all social networks, there are some powerful network effects as the platform gets bigger. In particular, Ankorstore expects to expand into new categories, such as perishable foods.
The startup already has a deal with UPS to help brands ship. But the company hasn’t done much when it comes to storage solutions for small brands. This is another opportunity in the future.
With 400 employees and plenty of money in its bank account, Ankorstore can serve as a unifying layer for this highly retail industry.