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Bigbasket raises USD 60 million bridge round led by Alibaba

The demand for grocery products has sky-rocketed during the lockdown in India.

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Online grocery platform Bigbasket has raised a bridge round of USD 50-60 million led by its existing investor Alibaba with participation from South Korea’s Mirae Asset and UK Government-owned CDC Group.

The bridge round would help Bigbasket to streamline its delivery capabilities as it’s struggling to maintain timely delivery due to the surge in demand owing to the panic buying of grocery products as the country is under lockdown till April 14.

According to a report in local media Entrackr, that cited sources, the deal materialized about two weeks ago. “The round materialized about two weeks ago. It’s a much-needed capital for Bigbasket that has been witnessing a surge in demand due to COVID-19,” one of the people told Entrackr.

Grocery comes under essential items that are permitted to be sold by the companies in India during the lockdown. It has thus emerged as a silver lining for a lot of consumer internet companies that have been witnessing a steep slump in demand due to the pandemic and the subsequent nation-wide shutdown.

Seeing the opportunity and demand in this space companies such as Zomato, Swiggy, Meesho, Snapdeal, Box8, and many others have started taking grocery orders.

To beef up its e-grocery deliveries, Swiggy recently raised USD 43 million from its existing backer Tencent and a bunch of South Korean investors, while Zomato received USD 5 million funding from a UK-based fund Pacific Horizon Investment Trust. Meanwhile, American online retail giant Amazon, which has been strengthening its e-grocery operations in India for the last couple of years, has also invested USD 37.5 million in Amazon Retail which sells food and grocery items.

As millions of Indians stay indoors as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, online consumer tech companies are scrambling to get a bigger pie of India’s soon-to-be USD 10.5 billion e-grocery-market.

Bigbasket, which has been in a neck-to-neck competition with Grofers, has reportedly been trying to raise money for about 8-10 months. Mid last year, the Bengaluru-based e-grocer raised INR 100 crore (USD 13 million) in venture debt from Trifecta Capital.

Although Bigbasket got the unicorn tag last year in March after raising USD 150 million in a Series F round which shot its valuation to around USD 1.2 billion, the recent round doesn’t seem to have changed its valuation.

“Bigbasket’s valuation has remained flat in this round,” the report said. “It will help them extend the runway by over six months as the company’s monthly burn is in the range of USD 8-10 million.”