- Investment will assist European grocers and FMCG suppliers to respond to the necessary digitization of commerce during and after covid-19 crisis
- Alkemics to launch in Scandinavia, Germany and Benelux
- Highland Europe leads latest fundraising
Paris, June 11, 2020 – Alkemics, a platform enabling brands to launch products with retailers, has raised €21 million in a Series C funding round, as it experiences soaring demand from grocers and suppliers responding to the rapid shift to omnichannel shopping.
Growth stage fund Highland Europe has joined the company’s investors, while Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, SEB Alliance and Serena Capital have renewed their support. Analysts now expect the online grocery market to grow by 25% in 2020, having seen sales leap by 30% during April. 
Since raising €20 million in 2016, Alkemics has worked with France and the UK’s largest grocery retailers (including E.Leclerc, Intermarché, Casino, Tesco and Ocado) to digitise their commercial processes with more than 17,000 brands. The platform connects retailers like Intermarché and Tesco to multinational suppliers such as Nestlé, as well as small local producers. In 2019, more than 7.5 million messages were exchanged through the platform.
Building on three years of collaboration and innovation with the company’s key clients, the Alkemics platform has digitised the different stages of supplier-retailer relations: product discovery, listing, and sales across all channels. As consumers increasingly demand very detailed information and greater transparency about the products they consume, Alkemics has proved to be the ideal tool for retailers and suppliers who need to share rich information quickly and consistently.
An ever-faster digital transformation for businesses
The COVID-19 crisis has shown how manufacturers and retailers need to be able to react and collaborate in real-time to meet consumer needs. Using Alkemics, retailers were able to rapidly source substitutes for out-of-stock products and secure new lines of supply. As pressure grew on supply chains, exacerbated by remote working, many suppliers began using the platform to start conversations with retailers and to sell their excess products.
“Our aim is to make B2B business quick, easy and interactive. Any manufacturer should be able to put a product on the market as easily as if they were posting a message on a social network, and any store should be able to find the products that consumers are looking for by simply searching through an app,” explained Antoine Durieux, Co-founder and CEO of Alkemics. “The Alkemics platform is helping thousands of suppliers and retailers across Europe to work closely together, to simplify their collaboration, to speed up products go-to-market and to ensure that product data is always as transparent and up to date as possible”.
Towards a Europe-wide business platform
Already well-established in France and in the UK, Alkemics will use the new funds raised to launch in other parts of Europe, beginning with Germany, Benelux and Scandinavia.
“The last two months have demonstrated to everyone how retail technology is a critical part of our infrastructure. Alkemics’ high level of technological functionality and ultra-flexible data model can tackle all different verticals in the retail industry. And is therefore able to respond rapidly and effectively to unprecedented levels of demand, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. As things start to return to normal, retailers and suppliers will want to continue with this new digitized collaboration through the platform, which has helped to increase their productivity as well as ensuring that the shopper has all the information they need to make an informed purchase,” Tony Zappala, Partner at Highland Europe, said.
“Since 2016, we have been supporting the talented team at Alkemics. We share their vision of making B2B commerce more agile and transparent. Alkemics has already performed major developments in recent years and its successful implementation in the UK demonstrates the platform’s international potential. We are delighted to reinforce our commitment to enable Alkemics to continue to accelerate its international expansion,” adds Jacky Abitbol, Partner at Cathay Innovation, which is supporting the digital transformation of retail with – in addition to Alkemics – investments in PinDuoDuo and Glovo.
Michel-Edouard Leclerc, President of the leading distribution network in France, E.Leclerc, said of the retail tech company (via linkedin – 12/2019): “Alkemics has understood the need for collaboration, centralisation and simplification in retail, and has truly contributed to the public good through their work! In 2019, all of E-Leclerc’s entities began using Alkemics to communicate with their suppliers (from SMEs to multinationals). And this is a true virtuous circle that benefits our consumers, as product information can also be used in consumer apps! Alkemics has become the indispensable platform for retail.”
Alkemics enables suppliers and retailers to share product data (composition, packaging data, labels, visuals, rich content, etc.) via a secure platform. Large retailers (E. Leclerc, Intermarché, Casino, Metro, Tesco, Ocado and more) use the platform to discover, list or launch products from more than 16,000 brands. Brands and suppliers use the platform to increase their visibility among retailers, as well as to offer greater transparency to their consumers, as they can share their product catalogue across all types of channels. With a team of 90 people, the French scale-up offers a variety of career opportunities in France and in Europe, and has recently joined the Soonicorn Club 2020 by Tracxn.
The last fundraising of €20 million (one of the 10 largest in the IT sector in France in 2016) was led by Cathay Innovation and Serena Capital, in collaboration with Index Ventures, Partech and SEB.
For more information, visit https://www.alkemics.com
About Highland Europe:
Highland Europe invests in exceptional growth-stage software and internet companies. Active in Europe since 2003 as Highland Capital Partners and formally launched in 2012, Highland Europe has raised over €1 billion and has invested in companies such as Adjust, Bitmovin, ContentSquare, Featurespace, GetYourGuide, JobTeaser, Malwarebytes, MatchesFashion, NewVoiceMedia, Nexthink, Smartly.io and WeTransfer. Highland’s collective history of investments across the US, Europe and China includes 46 IPOs and 19 billion-dollar-plus companies.
To learn more, visit: www.highlandeurope.com
About Cathay Innovation:
Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital partnership, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital. It was founded around the shared conviction that supporting innovation entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform bridging 3 continents – North America, Europe and China – constitutes a particularly powerful value-creation strategy. As a multi-stage fund, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs, committed to the sustainable transformation of the world through innovation and technology. Such transformation is accelerated by leveraging Cathay Capital extensive network with corporates and solid experience in operational excellence. Cathay Innovation has offices in San Francisco, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore.
To learn more, please visit www.cathayinnovation.com or follow us on Twitter @Cathayinnov.
About Serena Capital:
Created in 2008 by Marc Fournier, Philippe Hayat and Xavier Lorphelin, Serena Capital is an investment firm renowned in France and across Europe, managing more than €250M of investment. Specialising in the market of digital innovation (Internet & Media, Mobile & Telecom, Software, Big Date, Electronics), the company currently invests up to €15M in innovative, rapidly-growing businesses (e.g., AramisAuto, Augure, Cheerz, Lafourchette, Melty Group, Prestashop, SanteVet, TextMaster, Worldstores).
About Index Ventures:
Index Ventures is a multi-stage international venture capital firm that backs the best and most ambitious entrepreneurs in the US, Europe and Israel. These leaders are building truly transformative companies that are reshaping the world around us, including ASOS, BlaBlaCar, Criteo, Dropbox, Etsy, Funding Circle, Just Eat, King, Squarespace, Sonos, SoundCloud and Supercell – among many others. Find out more about Index and its companies at www.indexventures.com.
About SEB Alliance:
SEB Alliance is the corporate venture company of Groupe SEB, the world leader in small domestic equipment, Groupe SEB operates in nearly 150 countries with a unique portfolio of top brands including Tefal, Rowenta, Moulinex, Krups, Lagostina, All-Clad, and Supor, marketed through multi-format retailing. Selling some 200 million products a year, it deploys a long-term strategy focused on innovation, international development, competitiveness and customer service. Groupe SEB has more than 25,000 employees worldwide. Groupe SEB has created SEB Alliance to prepare for coming changes in the small domestic equipment market and to extend its innovation strategy to new technologies and expertise. With an initial capital of € 30 million, the fund will prioritize minority stake investments in innovative companies with high technological content or new business models. Find more information about SEB Alliance on www.seballiance.com.