Frontier Markets Success Story – India’s Social Commerce Platform

Frontier Markets is a company that provides life-improving products and services to the rural customer. The company got founded in 2011 by Ajaita Shah. It has rose total funding of $2.3 M to date and generated revenue of INR 3 B in rural communities. Frontier Market has a customer base of more than 500,000 people.
By Digital Yug - Apr 27 2022 3:37PM - 2451 Read
Frontier Markets Success Story – Providing Easy Life to Rural Households

Frontier Markets is a social commerce platform that wants to create an easy life for the rural people by providing them local access to gender-inclusive, climate-friendly, and high-quality products and services. The company also wants to provide clean energy services to every village by investing in rural women entrepreneurs as their connectors to rural communities. So let us get into this article to read the success story of this innovative company.

Frontier Markets - Key Points

  • Company Name – Frontier Markets
  • Founding Year – Aug 25, 2011
  • Founder – Ajaita Shah
  • Headquarters – Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
  • Company Type – Private
  • Industry – E-commerce, Marketing, Retail, Internet
  • Number of employees – 51-100
  • Number of investors - 9
  • Website – www.frontiermkts.com

Frontier Markets – Founder and Team

  • Ajaita Shah – Ajaita is the founder and CEO of the company. She has an experience of over 15 years of in rural India through microfinance, marketing, technology, rural distribution, and gender-inclusive business models. She is also a recipient of Forbes 30 Under 30, Digital Women of the Year.
  • Mehdi Rizvi – Mehdi is the COO of the company and he has over 24 years of experience across the FMCG, Telecom and Retail Industries.
  • Amrit Mohan – Amrit is the CXO of the company and he has 18 years of experience in rural analytics and consumer insights.
  • Ranjan Talwar – Ranjan is the Finance Controller of the company and he holds a dual MBA degree in Finance and Marketing. Ranjan has an experience of more than 27 years in Telecom RA & Billing, Finance & Accounts, Prepaid Finance Market, etc.

Frontier Markets – Brand Name, Logo, and Tagline

  • Brand Name – The company’s brand name resonates with their business and it is easier to recognize it as well.
  • Logo – The company’s logo is in the shape of a flying kite in yellow colour. The flying kite symbolizes the way Frontier Markets helps all the rural people to become independent.
  • Tagline – The company’s tagline is ‘Easy Life’ or ‘Saral Jeevan’.

Frontier Markets – Business Model

Frontier Markets business model is to onboard women entrepreneurs from village areas. They call them Sahelis and provide them with proper training. Each Saheli is given an app that contains a catalogue from which the customers can choose the products and services.

The company’s phygital mode (physical + digital) is designed in a way that it connects companies to understand the rural customer’s voice.

Frontier Markets – Milestones

Some of the milestones achieved by the company are as follows:

  • 2015 – Frontier Markets initiates a gender-smart strategy to bring rural women entrepreneurs on board as the company’s representatives in a rural village.
  • 2018 – The company launched their ‘Meri Saheli’ mobile app (India’s first assisted e-commerce app designed by and for rural women).
  • 2019 – The company expanded to 3 more new states. They added 3000 new rural women entrepreneurs into its rural network.
  • 2020 – The company grows its tech-enabled rural women entrepreneur’s sales force to 10,000 and land provides doorstep delivery to rural households. They also launched AI-enabled assisted e-commerce and B2C digital marketing.

Frontier Markets – USP

Some of the main USPs of the company is as follows:

  • Frontier Market treats everyone with dignity and respect across the value chain.
  • The company is known for creating opportunities and innovations that are inclusive of all participants in the rural value chain.
  • They ensure profit sharing with the entire value chain, driving long-term sustainability for all in the value chain.

Frontier Markets – Growth

Frontier Market has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. Some of the growth factors of the company are as follows:

  • They have over 12,000 Saheli networks.
  • Frontier Market has now 30 branches in the country.
  • They have covered 3456 villages so far.
  • The company has impacted more than 3.5 M beneficiaries through products sold.
  • Their average GMV per Saheli is INR 12 lacs.
  • The company has overall generated revenue of INR 3 B in rural communities.
  • The frontier market has helped in saving 2.5 M tons of Carbon and provided 1 M plus solar solutions.
  • The company has a customer base of more than 500,000 people.
  • Frontier Market has 7 M plus curated products & service solutions on its platform.

Frontier Markets – Funding and Investors

Frontier Markets has raised a total of $2.3 M in over 4 funding rounds. They have 9 investors in total and the latest funding was done on Jul 6, 2020. Some of its funding and investors are as follows:

  • Undisclosed Amount – Seed Round, Seedfund.in, Oct 11, 2011
  • Undisclosed Amount – Seed Round, Dec 31, 2015
  • Undisclosed Amount – Seed Round, ENGIE Rassenbleurs d’Energies initiative, The Rise Fund, Jun 24, 2019
  • $2.3 M – Seed Round, ENGIE Rassenbleurs d’Energies initiative, The Rise Fund, The Singh Family Trusts, Oct 11, 2011

Frontier Markets – Ecosystem Partners

Some of the ecosystem partners of the company are as follows:

  • Unreasonable
  • UN Women
  • Bharat Inclusion Initiative
  • The Woman Foundation
  • UNDP (United Nations Development Program)v
  • Women’s World Banking
  • Supply Chain Labs
  • IFC (International Finance Corporation)

Frontier Markets – Awards and Achievements

Frontier Markets has won several awards and recognition for its outstanding work for the rural people and the marginalized community. Some of the awards won by the company are as follows:

  • UNCDF – Unlocking Public and Private Finance for the Poor
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • SDG Finance Geneva Summit – 2021
  • Women’s World Banking
  • Women Transforming India
  • Sankalp Forum – Social Enterprise Recognition & Regional Summit
  • Catalyst Pitch Competition – 2017
  • Ashden – Sustainable Solutions, better lives
  • Young Business Women - 2016

Frontier Markets – Competitors

Some of the top competitors of the company are as follows:

  • Pollinate Energy
  • Essmart Global
  • Affiliated Resources
  • Angaza

Frontier Markets – Challenges

Frontier Market had to face various challenges in its entrepreneurial journey. Some of them are as follows:

  • Pandemic – The recent COVID-19 pandemic, when the whole nation went into a lockdown, left a huge impact on the rural communities. Initially, it was tough for the company to cope with the situation but it quickly pivoted and expanded its networks. They leveraged the partnerships and fully digitized the workflow.
  • Competitors – Frontier Markets had to face its competitors and it was initially difficult for the company to overshadow them. Some of the competitors of the company have a good market share in the industry and they are performing well on so many levels. It would not be that easy for the company to keep all the limelight on themselves.

Frontier Markets – Future Plans

Some of the plans of the company are as follows:

  • Frontier Market wants to grow their Saheli Network to 15,000.
  • The company wants to cover at least 4,000 villages by the end of FY 2023.
  • Frontier Market wants to increase their number of branches in the country.
  • They will be hiring more employees for better management of the company.
  • They also want to increase their customer base to double in the coming two FYs.
  • The company is also planning to increase the number of products on their platform.
Digital Yug
Digital Yug

Digital Yug is an Indian digital media platform that posts real life stories, events, news, and blogs about startups, entrepreneurs, and successful people. The company was founded by Dr Anil Diggiwal in 2018 and is currently a privately owned, bootstrapped organization. This Jaipur based company publishes & focuses on undiscovered, small startup stories.

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