Tencent-backed Indian B2B unicorn Udaan raises USD 585 million

Funding will be used to add new product categories and expand across country.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Bengaluru-based horizontal B2B online marketplace Udaan–known for being the fastest Indian startup to get the unicorn status last year–has raised USD 585 million in Series D round from Tencent, Altimeter Capital, Footpath Ventures, Hillhouse, GGV Capital, and Citi Ventures.

Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and DST Global also participated in this round, raising its valuation to USD 2.5 to 3 billion. Since 2016 till date, Udaan has raised USD 870 million in funding. The funding will be used to deepen its presence across India and add new product categories.

“We plan to get deeper into the food category this year and also explore adding other categories such as electricals, industrial equipment,” Vaibhav Gupta, co-founder of Udaan, told local media Mint in an interview.

The Udaan app is a platform that connects wholesaler, distributor, producer, and the kirana (small retail shop) owner bridging the gap between all these parties. The startup enables small manufacturers, brands, mills, and farmers to sell their products across India. It aims to address the gaps along the whole chain right from manufacturing to sales journey with respect to capital, supply chain, logistics, and sales & marketing.

Founded in 2016 by former Flipkart executives Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar, and Vaibhav Gupta, Udaan has its fingers in many verticals like lifestyle, electronics, home and kitchen, staples, fruits and vegetables, fast-moving consumer goods, toys, and general merchandise. Udaan’s logistics service, Udaan Express, takes up 65% of the company’s orders. The firm’s potential to grow further is exponential as the Indian retail industry which is expected to be worth USD 3.6 trillion by 2020 is largely unorganized.

The Indian market has a huge base of small businesses across manufacturing and trade, made up of 100 million farmers, 15 million small manufacturers, and well over 30 million traders, retailers, and service businesses. Mobile technology is enabling these businesses to access the mainstream organized retail channel.

Udaan presently has 3 million retailers across 900 cities and connects them to 25,000 sellers across 200 cities. The unicorn has done USD 2 billion in annual gross merchandise value. It also claims to have fulfilled five million orders last month.

After being granted with NBFC licence, Udaan started lending on its platform in November 2018, and has helped local kirana shops to receive credit from other sources.

Udaan’s contemporaries in the B2B space include Ninjacart, Jumbotail, Amazon, and other players like Metro Wholesale India, and Indiamart. Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries is also bringing this segment into his online commerce business, with the launch of Jio Prime Merchant.