Alkemics, the Paris-based platform that lets brands collaborate and launch products with retailers, has picked up €21 million in a Series C funding. It follows €20 million raised in 2016.

Backing the round is growth-stage fund Highland Europe. Existing investors Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, SEB Alliance and Serena Capital also participated.

The new investment comes off the back of what Alkemics claims has been soaring demand from grocers and suppliers in response to the coronavirus pandemic and a “rapid shift” to omni-channel shopping. “Analysts now expect the online grocery market to grow by 25% in 2020, having seen sales leap by 30% during April,” says the French company.

Founded all the way back in 2012, Alkemics works with some of France and the U.K.’s largest grocery retailers –including E.Leclerc, Intermarché, Casino, Tesco and Ocado — to help them digitise their commercial processes with more than 17,000 brands. The platform connects retailers to multinational suppliers, such as Nestlé, as well as small local producers, to help them on-board and launch new products.

Essentially, Alkemics digitises the different stages of “supplier-retailer relations,” spanning product discovery, listings, and sales across all channels. This has become increasingly important, especially within the context of online shopping, as consumers demand “detailed information and greater transparency about the products they consume”, notes Alkemics.

“Alkemics enables retailers to manage their business relationship with suppliers to discover, list and market all products to omni-channel shoppers in one single and secure platform,” says Alkemics co-founder and CEO Antoine Durieux.

More broadly, the premise is that by making it easier for retailers to collaborate with brands/suppliers, new products can go-to-market more quickly, while ensuring that product data is always as transparent and up to date as possible.

This is in contrast to the status quo where Durieux says it can take on average 60 days for a producer to get a product in store. “It’s [traditionally] a mix of tradeshows, in-person meetings, hundred of back and forth, XLS files sent over email…,” he explains.

Meanwhile, armed with new capital, Alkemics says it will launch in Scandinavia, Germany and Benelux. The company also plans to expand to different verticals.

Adds Durieux: “Our aim is to make B2B business even quicker, 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”.

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