- Ethnic grocery marketplace Bakkal has raised $3 million in seed funding from new and existing investors, raising its valuation to $20 million, the startup announced Thursday.
- The company said the capital will help it fund technology development, grow its engineering team and expand marketing activities.
- In a blog post on Thursday, founder and CEO Murat Karslioglu said the company plans to improve the user experience on its mobile app in the next 30 days, update its Bakkal Stores application and modernize its procurement process.
Similar to the marketplace models Instacart and DoorDash employ, Bakkal allows customers on its app to order groceries from brick-and-mortar stores — specifically small grocers focused on ethnic food.
Bakkal handles orders for pickup or delivery, does not have an order minimum and lets customers shop in any of eight languages, according to its website. The marketplace’s partners offer a range of ingredients, including Asian, Indian, European, Middle Eastern, kosher and halal food products.
“Ethnic grocery options deserve more than a tiny corner of the grocery store," Karslioglu said in the funding announcement. "We are digitizing the ethnic grocery supply chain and making it easier for small local stores to source inventory. By helping high quality and international brands stock their products reliably at stores, we increase affordable food options."
Along with its marketplace, Bakkal provides last-mile delivery services, inventory solutions, marketing assistance and procurement services, according to the blog post. Bakkal also has an advertising network that its grocery partners can tap into.
Launched in late 2021 in Los Angeles, Bakkal expanded to the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year. The company works with more than 100 small businesses in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The company’s name not only reflects its focus on ethnic food but also ties into several cultures. “‘Bakkal’ is originally an Arabic word meaning grocery. From Arabic, the word Bakkal has passed into Farsi and Turkish, and from Turkish into the Greek, Latino, Russian and several Balkan Languages,” the company says on its site.
Prior to its $3 million seed round, Bakkal completed two pre-seed rounds, one earlier this year that raised $250,000 and another last summer that brought in $800,000, according to Crunchbase.