Why Khatabook, OkCredit’s kiranatech failed to fly off the shelves

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When Bengaluru-based OkCredit decided to shut down its digital storefront for Kiranas (mom-and-pop stores)—OkShop—in April 2022, it wasn’t the first to do so. The digital bookkeeping startup was simply following in the footsteps of its close rival Khatabook, which also shut down a similar offering called MyStore in November 2021. Bengaluru-based Dukaan pivoted completely earlier this year, focusing on small direct entrepreneurs to consumers rather than Kiranas.

Kiranatech—technology solutions designed to Kiranas— constitutes a large part of the Indian “dukaantech” or shoptech industry. Not surprising, given that there are more than 12 million Kiranas scattered in every nook and cranny of the country. But it’s a segment that looks down the barrel of what increasingly looks like an existential crisis.

Dukaantech, in its purest form, is about building technology for stores. All shops. Whether it’s a kirana or, say, a medium-sized supermarket chain.

A senior executive in the dukaantech industry

Startups have been

hunt the Kirana market


hunt the Kirana market

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for a while now, eyeing the treasure trove of data from the ecosystem. Much of it goes uncaptured due to the chaotic and disorganized nature of the segment.

Accounting was a way to help Kirana the owners keep track of their transactions and optionally put them online. “It wasn’t even about solving problems,” says a senior executive at a dukaantech start-up. “It was about presenting this as a new way of doing business.” Them and others in the industry The Ken requested anonymity as they did not want to be seen publicly commenting on the matter.

The accounting segment quickly became popular – four-year-old Khatabook

complaints


complaints

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have over 10 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of January 2022, while six-year-old OkCredit

would have


would have

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had 5.5 million in November 2021. The money also poured in. Khatabook and OkCredit raised $187 million and $85 million in total, according to data provider Tracxn.

However, neither company is profitable. During the fiscal year ended March 2021, Khatabook

checked in


checked in

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a loss of Rs 32.5 crore ($4.2 million), while earning an income of Rs 19.1 crore ($2.4 million).

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