Gangtok-based social commerce startup NE Origins, founded by one of the most prominent voices representing entrepreneurship in North East India – Rewaj Chettri, has successfully raised funding at a record $2 Million valuation with strong participation from strategic angel investors, including celebrated Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and angel impact investors.
“Our aim is to showcase the North East in a way it has never been done before. Our products are a unique insight into the diversity of the 200+ tribes across these 8 states,” founder Rewaj Chettri said.
With this round, the startup has become one of the firsts in Sikkim to ever raise funding. Chettri credits this accelerated growth and historic fundraise to the company’s selection in a special incubation program by ALSiSAR Impact, a leading double bottom line and frontier market incubator across South Asia.
Anuj Sharma, founder of Alsisar Impact, states, “We see NE Origins as a powerful example of an impact-driven and scalable venture from the North East that highlights the positive effects of entrepreneurship in the region through its unique social commerce platform – Our mission with NE Origins is simple, to make the NorthEast a producer economy.”
Chettri said, “With this strategic investment and mentorship, we will be looking to build a strong online presence and improve the manufacturing and distribution network for the products from seed to store across India-looking to disrupt the nearly USD $6 bn NER consumer economy and larger mainland markets.”
The company aims to make unique products sourced from northeast India household names. From products like Naga King Chili (world’s 3rd hottest chili) from Nagaland, black rice from Manipur, 100% original Darjeeling Tea, to pure Lakadong Turmeric from Meghalaya, and original Nagaland Forest honey they aim to provide a unique buying experience for customers across India.
“I am excited about Rewaj and his team and was drawn in by the larger vision they shared about NE Origins and the role it could play in the Indian ecosystem,” acclaimed footballer Bhaichung Bhutia said.
“I believe that Rewaj’s venture can help to mainstream our heritage, culture, and history through his commitment to thoughtful community commerce,” he added.
NE Origins is the brainchild of Rewaj Chettri, a first-generation entrepreneur with close to 30+ ventures under his belt. He has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship in the North East and was the first from the region to be listed on the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 Asia and has the distinction of receiving Sikkim’s highest civilian honor for his efforts to catalyze entrepreneurship in the state.
NE Origins initially began as a response to support local entrepreneurs who were facing a muted tourist season brought on by pandemic lockdowns.
In just a few months, hundreds of local businesses and producers were onboarded on the platform where they received critical support across marketing, packaging, and distribution- building capacity to deliver their certified organic and indigenous products across Indian and international markets.
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