Ankorstore, a curated marketplace connecting up-and-coming specialist brands with the most loved neighbourhood retailers, has raised €25 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures with participation from existing investors Alven, GFC, and Aglaé. The company plans to use the funds to add to its 2,000 brand and 15,000 independent shop partnerships, and expand beyond the existing eight European markets, with the UK planned for early 2021.
Founded in 2019 in Paris by former Etsy executives and serial entrepreneurs, Ankorstore is reinventing the relationship between independent brands and neighbourhood shops. Ankorstore acts as an ambassador for some of the most sought after European brands, and as a partner to shop owners who seek to bring to their customers new experiences and products, curating an offering that reflects their own unique taste and knowledge of their local community.
Instead of expensive distributors, agents, buyers and trade shows, the Ankorstore platform allows a shop owner to find and stock a variety of brands with minimal cost and risk. They could range from a Gothenburg toy producer famed for its beautiful silicon money boxes to a fast-growing stylish Spanish jewellery brand. Even a French saffron specialist can quickly be on shelves.
Crucially, the platform also addresses practical business problems which have plagued independent retail for years. “Within the context of the current retail crisis, independent stores see Ankorstore as a way to control their cash flow, be more responsive, manage their stock as precisely as possible, and gain access to the best European brands,” said Pierre-Louis Lacoste, Ankorstore’s co-founder.
Ankorstore offers the kind of functionality associated with the best consumer e-commerce platforms, and features which go a long way to addressing long standing frustrations.
Benefits for shops
- Minimise their risk on a new brand with a minimum first order of just €100, not thousands.
- 60-day payment terms
- Mark their taste, product mix and local relevance with a vast pool of brands to choose from.
- Simplify ordering and administration with one order for multiple brands.
- No need to navigate the key person to talk to at a company.
Benefits for brands
- Be in a shop window seen by over 15,000 retailers without using an agent or presenting at a trade show.
- Invoices paid by Ankorstore as soon as orders are delivered, without brands having to make a 60 day cash advance.
- See what works where through advanced analytics. Ability to test products in different countries with minimal stock.
It’s hoped an entirely new dynamic could emerge through Ankorstore which promises to level the playing field in the face of the dominance of mass retail and an e-commerce system which rewards big brands and big retail.
“The charm of our towns and villages in Europe lies in the millions of independent retailers. We firmly believe that Ankorstore, with its thousands of unique brands, excellent terms and payment facilities, will allow them to grow in the years to come. We have in fact observed a 20-fold increase in sales between February and October 2020 and are delighted to have Index Ventures’ support as we implement this vision throughout Europe,” commented Nicolas d’Audiffret, co-founder at Ankorstore.
“As a brand primarily sold by independent retailers, we are delighted to work with Ankorstore, as they have helped us acquire lots of new clients all over France and Europe, which we never would have reached otherwise,” said one of Ankorstore’s brand partners, Laurent Manceron, CEO of Les Déglingos.
Ankorstore is available for brands and independent shop owners in eight countries: France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The company plans to expand internationally in 2021, with the first launch in the UK, where it already began onboarding brands.