India online grocer BigBasket bags USD 14 million amid heated competition

Amazon India and Flipkart are also drooling over the country’s online grocery market.

Source: Unsplash

Alibaba-backed India’s largest online grocery operator BigBasket has raised USD 14 million earlier this week in what it claims to be the largest venture debt financing in the country from Venture capital firm Trifecta Capital, just three months after its most recent Series F round in May.

The fresh funding will be used by the Bangalore-based company in what appears to be a series of moves to ramp up its supply chain and fuel its subscription and vending machine efforts. Those moves will include building up new warehouses and reinforcing the cold chain.

Additionally, the company will set up facilities for reprocessing fresh fruits and vegetables, and for scaling up the supply chain in an aim to strengthen its newly launched BB Daily milk subscription business and BB Instant the vending machine arm.

In an interview with local media YourStory, the firm’s co-founder Hari Menon said that he’d expect BB Instant and BB Daily to account for 15-20% of BigBasket’s overall business.

“A significant part of our business is fresh fruits and vegetables, the bulk of which is sourced directly from farms. It is crucial that we maintain the quality right up to the last mile,” Hari Menon, the company’s co-founder said in a press statement.

The funding comes at a significant time in India’s evolving digital grocery market, which was worth USD2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 5 billion by 2020 according to consulting firm RedSeer.

Founded in December 2011, BigBasket claims to be the largest online grocery player in India with half of the country’s digital grocery market and a revenue of USD 465 million in fiscal year 2019. It runs operations in 26 cities across India, two times its rival Grofers, and has an inventory of more than 19,000 products from over 3,000 brands.

BigBasket marked its entry into the unicorn club at a valuation of USD 1.2 billion this May, after receiving a Series F round of USD 150 million from South Korea’s Mirae Asset, British CDC Group, and existing investor Alibaba.

The e-grocer’s closest rival in India is the SoftBank-backed online grocery venture Grofers, which raised a USD 200 million in an ongoing Series F round in May 2019. And Grofers isn’t the company’s only trouble, it is also facing fierce competition from local e-commerce players Flipkart and Amazon who just stepped into the market.