Metal industry-focused SaaS startup Metalbook has raised $5 Mn in its seed funding round led by Axilor Ventures.
Foundamental, RTP Global, Stride Ventures and some angel investors also participated in the funding round.
The funds will be used to expand geographical footprint, strengthen network of processing centres, grow workforce and develop its platform.
India’s metal industry, which was estimated at $6.79 Bn in 2021, is largely unorganised. Owing to the lack of digitisation, most of the transactions carried out in the industry are through emails or WhatsApp. “While procuring metals, the customers are also wholly dependent on the transparency that is provided by suppliers,” said Pulkit Baldev, founder of Metalbook.
To enable digitisation and transparency in the country’s metal industry, Baldev, Aman Tibrewal and Raghavendra Pratap Singh set up Metalbook in 2021. The startup connects suppliers and customers in the metal industry. It also helps customers to have a seamless metal procurement experience.
In essence, Metalbook integrates the entire supply chain process beginning from manufacturing the raw material to delivering it to customers.
“MetalBook is providing a premium procurement experience to the customer right from providing the raw material to processing capabilities to the customer. Once a customer places an order to procure raw material, we deliver the product to his doorstep as per the decided timeline,” Baldev said.
Metalbook claims to offer its services across the globe including India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, among others.
Offering Value Added Services To Customers
Metalbook presently deals in iron and steel products in the metal industry. Once a customer places a request for the type of iron and steel product he wants, the platform shows a range of options (supplies) to choose from. Besides, the startup offers value additions to customers with logistics and managing the entire supply chain. It provides credit facilities to registered suppliers on its platform as well.
“We are acting as a one-stop solution to the customers, who come to our platform and share an inquiry on what kind of material they need and what kind of timeline they looking at. The onus of providing that material including the logistics and the processing is on us,” Baldev informed.
However, while onboarding suppliers on the platform, Metalbook does a background check including the verification of their experience in the metal industry, inventory they carry, brands they have and SKU they manage.
Meanwhile, when customers join the platform, the startups ask for information including details of their previous suppliers, concerns related to metal procurement and ways to help increase their cost-saving.
Taking into account the monetising structure, Metalbook earns revenue from suppliers as well as B2B customers that are registered on its platform.
“In our case, profit margins are not built as according to the customer or the nature of the customer. They are built whenever we add value to the supply chain. Value addition can be in form of digitization of the supply chain, the logistics that we provide or even in some cases, credit that we provide. There is not a fixed marginal bracket that we have,” Baldev said, explaining the monetising structure.
In the financial year 2021-22, the startup clocked an annualised revenue of over INR 100 Cr and further, said to have grown its ARR by 5x in the current fiscal year.
Facing Competition From Traditional Players
According to the IBEF report, in the financial year 2022, India’s iron ore exports grew to $2.23 Bn, registering an increase of 21.8% YoY. Meanwhile, in the fiscal year 2020-21, the country’s crude steel production stood at 103 MT.
In the metal industry, Metalbook refuses to face direct competition from other players or startups. However, it competes with the likes of traditional suppliers that are selling steel and crude products to B2B customers.
“There are various suppliers, manufacturers, dealers and distributors out there in the iron and steel industry. However, we never faced any direct competition with them because their model is different than what we offer,” he said.
Metalbook claims to manage a network of over 500 global metal manufacturers, dealers and suppliers. It also claims to have more than 350 customers including ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel, Tata Steel, JSW, EU Metals, JSPL, DLF, BL Kashyap and Bygging, among others.
The startup further aims to achieve an annualised run rate of over $100 Mn by the financial year 2024. It also plans to introduce other metal categories–Aluminium and Zinc on its platform.
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