The Future Of Retail Is Local: Co-Leading Ankorstore’s $100M Series B
by Allison Xu and Merritt Hummer
We aspire to partner with marketplaces that are transforming the way their respective industries operate, and that’s what we found in Ankorstore and the European wholesale market.
Our investment thesis on the future of retail can be summed up in four words: staples online, specialty offline. It is indisputable that e-commerce platforms will always win on price, selection, and convenience. As more consumers buy staples online, offline retail will recast itself as a venue for discovery and awakening the senses. Plenty of merchandise needs to be seen, touched, tasted, smelled or tried for it to be fully appreciated.
Whereas online shopping is designed to save time, offline shopping will purposefully consume time, an activity for the wanderers among us in search of je ne sais quoi. Local independent retail is the perfect venue for such merchandise: curated, diverse and singular, with an element of surprise. No two items are ever exactly the same.
While curation is the heart of independent retail, retailers themselves still suffer from cumbersome processes to obtain that inventory. Discovering new products requires travelling to trade shows. Placing an order is often done by phone or email through a broker. There are few financing options available when order minimums are high and cash is due upon order. Wholesale trade is woefully analog compared to the B2C e-commerce world, where consumers can search for and order merchandise with a few clicks.
Our team firmly believes that the next ten years will be characterized by the rise of B2B commerce through verticalized online marketplaces (more about that here).
We are excited to announce that BCV and Tiger Global are co-leading the $100 million Series B round for Ankorstore, a B2B wholesale marketplace for independent retailers and brands in Europe.
Ankorstore is a Paris-based wholesale marketplace that empowers local, independent retailers across Europe by allowing them to search and transact with brands online. Ankorstore provides an efficient way for retailers to discover and purchase inventory. With €100 order minimums that are far below industry average, retailers can try new brands or products without fear of accumulating excess inventory. Ankorstore also offers free shipping and favorable financing options.
The benefits of Ankorstore also extend to the brands themselves. To date, Ankorstore has helped over 5,000 brands grow their wholesale businesses to an audience of over 10,000 retailers. On top of expanding their reach, Ankorstore allows brands to easily manage backend administration associated with managing small orders from independent retailers. Brands can onboard their existing retail partners onto the Ankorstore platform for 0% commission on all future transactions.
Ankorstore has gotten off to an incredibly fast start, already live in nine European markets and launching more this year. The European wholesale market is a textbook candidate for marketplace disruption. Here’s why:
- Both sides of the marketplace (brands and retailers) are highly fragmented.
- High frequency of transaction activity between buyers and sellers because retailers are constantly reordering brands they like and trying new brands to refresh their inventory.
- Importance of discovery: merchandising stores with new, interesting brands is essential to compete with online platforms.
- “No-brainer” value proposition for both sides of the marketplace: it’s cheaper and easier for both sides to transact online.
- Independent retailers have disjointed access to financial services today, making Ankorstore a natural channel to provide embedded financial services at checkout.
- Cross-border transactions are rife with inefficiency (VAT, regulations, foreign exchange, different languages, regional logistics networks, and so on). This complexity is Ankorstore’s revenue opportunity.
Bringing the wholesale market for independent brands and retailers online is an enormous global opportunity, and Ankorstore has rapidly emerged as the winner across Europe.
Ankorstore’s co-founders Nicolas d’Audiffret, Nicolas Cohen, Pierre-Louis Lacoste, and Mathieu Alengrin are the right team to seize this opportunity. Collectively they bring the strategic vision, depth, maturity, experience, and ambition that defines our very best founders. We are proud to partner with this exceptional team as they scale an international platform that transforms wholesale trade.
If you are interested in working at Ankorstore, you can see a list of open positions here.