Startup Circle: How is Express Stores boosting micro entrepreneurship and transforming Kirana stores function?

By : |April 27, 2021 0

According to an EY report, the 2020 Covid pandemic has led to a renewed trust in the local Kirana stores. In metro cities, the local Kirana stores saw a rise of 50% new consumers while non-metro cities reported a rise of 79%. But the sector is still highly unorganised. Retail Tech Express Stores solves the biggest problems of these local Kirana stores with the adoption of technology.

The startup provides them inventory management, automated supply, optimization of products, prices and procurement, customization, access to a structured credit system, branding and marketing, retail management, by offering a franchise model. Read Apoorv Jain, CoFounder and CEO, Express Stores talk about how the startup aims to organize and further boost Kirana stores.

What is Express Stores about? Tell us about the team.

We founded Express Stores in 2019 with an aim to modernize the local Kirana stores with its franchise model; setting up within a size of 200-500 sqft. We aimed to convert the existing Kirana stores into modern, organized and standardized stores and provide 360-degree solutions to these Kirana stores. Now, we provide a complete transformation of Kirana stores within three to four days. We also help them adorn the look of modern-day superstores, thereby improving the infrastructure, hygiene, and feel of their shops.

Express Stores is a brainchild of Kartik Gupta, a BITS Pilani alum, and I, an IIT Delhi alum. Both of us come from a technology background and are technology entrepreneurs. We aim to be the “preferred daily needs store for the neighbourhood”. The name “Express Stores” came to us with the vision that it will stand out from other Kiranas stores. Ye, the name is generic enough to expand beyond groceries. We have achieved product-market fit with a unique, scalable, and technologically driven and contribution margin positive business model.

What is your business growth?

Our business model enables Indian Kirana store owners to become a part of grocery retail expansion. Meanwhile, they still retain the ownership of their stores. The model also enables consumers to avail organized shopping experience at their neighbouring Kirana stores.

We have helped various Kirana stores to turn around their entire business processes, offer a great deal of customer satisfaction. Thus, we have helped store owners to improve profitability.

The pandemic has affected every sector. How are you coping?

Pandemic has affected almost every sector. But the demand for local Kirana stores has grown during the lockdown and acted as a blessing in disguise. The unorganized grocery retail segment has been witnessing tremendous changes post COVID-19. This has been a strong pivot and breakthrough for the Kirana store.

But we are a unique concept and our own competition. The team focuses day and night on enhancing value deliverance to its consumers and partners. We are currently present in the Delhi NCR market and aim to open 100 plus stores in the Delhi NCR region.


We have recently raised seed funding of Rs 8 crore. The round was led by early-stage venture capital firm Venture Highway (founded by Neeraj Arora, ex-Whatsapp& Samir Sood, ex-Google). It also saw the participation of marquee individual investors – Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal (Snapdeal), Anupam Mittal (People Group) and Amit Singhal (Google) among others. We aim to use the funds for product-market fit, initial growth, talent addition, supply chain and technology.

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