Online grocery delivery startup Nanjing Eight Days Online Network Technology Co., Ltd (8天在线) announced the completion of a 200 million yuan ($30 million USD) series B + round on Thursday, led by Chinese cosmetic company Longliqi Group.
Grocery delivery has been covered by many Chinese players including Yihaodian, JD.com, and Tmall along with other product categories, but Eight Days focuses on a particular group: university students.
“Deep in the campus is where food delivery takes a longer time, and we found a market opportunity in that. That’s why our focus is the university campuses. We were welcomed by many students and spread out fast among them,” said Eight Days CEO and Founder Gu Wen in a press release.
China’s post-90s generation is one of Eight Day’s core group of customers, specifically post-95s who are now university students.
“[The] post-95 generation is self-centered and follows their own accord in purchase. They are very clear about what they want and make firm decisions that lead to actual purchases,” Eight days Online co-founder Zhang Yue told TechNode.
Eight Days’ product categories cater to university student needs, including groceries, midnight snacks, and laptops. When registering, students can select their university and purchase goods through the platform. It also has a social network function to share photos.
As of the end of February 2016, Eight Days is available in 50 cities and 1200 universities around China. The company has also opened 100 new convenience stores under their own brand. After the completion of this round of financing, Eight Days plans to expand its online coverage to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, and nearby office buildings. Offline, the company hopes reach 1,000 convenience stores.
“As a new convenience store chain, we will leverage our data and algorithms to understand the user’s requirements,” says Mr. Zhang. “Fast-moving consumer goods will be the future, and we will develop on providing more fresh products to our users. Our marketing and logistics algorithm will help reduce our costs as well as help our customers get more benefits.”
Eight Days is not the only company trying to cater to university students. 51Qiquai.com also delivers fresh grocery to university students, while Shanghai-based Yo.ren provides online convenience stores. Founded by a Japanese founder, Yo.ren adopts Japan’s CRM program.
“The Japanese convenience store industry is very developed, and it is worth learning from their offline convenience store business. I think the retail business in China needs more experience to learn about the user-centric mindset,” says Mr. Zhang.
Most of the food delivery companies choose to base themselves in Beijing (Benlai.com), Shanghai or Hangzhou, leveraging logistics companies around the area. However, Eight Days was founded in Nanjing.
“[Nanjing] had a good atmosphere for starting the business. There are now 60 companies in Nanjing that have raised A round funding and venture capital firms are increasing in the area. We also developed our own logistics channel here,” Mr. Zhang said.
Founded in 2012, Eight Days received a round of series B financing in September 2015 led by Shunwei Capital and Bosun Kinzon Capital.
Image Credit: Eight Days