The U.S. multicultural community is expected to grow in coming years, and South Asian digital marketplace Quicklly is raking in investment money to meet that surging demand.
The e-commerce platform, founded by South Asian immigrants Keval Raj and Hanish Pahwa in 2017, closed a $4 million funding round earlier this month in a deal that was led in part by Home Chef founder Pat Vihtelic. Last March, Quicklly completed a $1.27 million pre-seed fundraise.
The Chicago-based platform bills itself as a "one-stop marketplace for Indian-South Asian groceries, tiffins, meal kits and fully prepared restaurant dishes." Quicklly partners with nearly 300 independent businesses across Chicago, New York, New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay area, the company said.
The platform has more than 250,000 unique South Asian and Indian items available for nationwide and local delivery.
This round of funding, led by high-growth technology investors such as JAM Fund (Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen), Great North Ventures, Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler (founders of TechStyle Group) and Vihtelic, will be used to expand its meal kits; create a custom Instacart storefront; and add independent grocery and restaurant vendors to the site.
"As a big believer in the power of digital disruption, I back companies with explosive growth that are making waves in their categories, and Quicklly is doing exactly that," Vihtelic, an early Quicklly investor, said in a statement. "It is not content with simply waiting for the North American food industry to wake up to the importance and market power of South Asian consumers. The team is actively and aggressively building that future every day,"
Quicklly plans to expand its corporate team from 28 to more than 50 full-time and contracted employees. This includes the addition of Divya Dixit as the company's first VP of growth marketing and Maiwand Mayar as head of offline growth.
The team expects to expand same-day delivery to Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles and additional cities throughout the country. Instacart and Quicklly are working to launch 90-minute Indian grocery delivery in 12 cities nationwide in 2022, Quicklly said.
“Quicklly is offering a solution to a problem that has existed for a long time,” Raj, co-founder of Quicklly, told WGB in an email. “Despite being an $8 billion market size, the Southeast Asian market has been one of the most underserved markets, pre-Quicklly era. The South Asian demographic in the U.S. is young, affluent and all about convenience.”
Increased travel to India and a growing Southeast Asian population in the U.S. has exposed non-Southeast Asians to the flavors of Indian cuisine, Raj said.
“We want to connect every pocket of America with the most authentic and delicious Indian flavors available,” he said. “Whether our customers are in the heart of New Jersey's Little India or thousands of miles from the nearest South Asian grocer, we want to provide them with ready and easy access to fresh, premium and delicious grocery items, meal kits, restaurant prepared meals and more."