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BigBasket raises $300M from the Alibaba Group and others

Online grocer BigBasket has raised $300 million from the Alibaba Group, with participation from other investors, the company informed. It didn’t mention who the other investors are, but this The Economic Times report mentions that existing investors UAE-headquartered private equity firm Abraaj Group, US-based venture capital firm Sands Capital, and International Finance Corporation (IFC) participated in this latest round of funding.

The funds will be utilised for improving technology, analytics, and infrastructure. Bangalore-based BigBasket currently operates in 30 cities, and partners with about 1800 farmers across the country. The company also mentioned that it recently crossed the 8 million customers mark, but it’s not clear if these are registered customers or monthly active customers.

We’ve written to the Alibaba Group to learn more about this deal. We’ll update once we hear back from them.

E-commerce majors Amazon and Flipkart have both bet big on the online grocery space:

  • Last month, Amazon launched its hyperlocal grocery delivery service called NOW Store on its online grocery platform Amazon Now, and it is expected to start selling local grocery produce online through its wholly owned subsidiary in India from March this year. Thus far, Amazon has committed $500 million investment in food retail, following the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s (DIPP) approval of Amazon’s plans to stock and sell local grocery produce online in April, 2017.
  • On the other hand, Flipkart has decided to have a second bite at the online grocery space with ‘Supermart’, which was launched in November last year starting with Bangalore. It had earlier shut down its online grocery service Flipkart Nearby in February 2016, about 5 months after its launch.

Following the latest round of investment, BigBasket is in a stronger position to compete with the likes of Amazon and Flipkart, as well as Grofers. Also, note that BigBasket had received approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Indian government, which enables the company to retail food products manufactured and produced in India, in August last year.

BigBasket’s previous fundings

  • The company had raised Rs 32.65 crore from Helion Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Trifecta Capital, Brand Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Ascent Capital, in October last year.
  • Earlier in the same month, it had raised additional Rs 5.5 crore from Trifecta Capital, which was believed to be the extension of its previous round of funding in March 2017.
  • In March 2016, BigBasket raised $150 million from the Abraaj Group with participation from IFC and Sands Capital, as well as existing investors.
  • In August 2015, the company raised $50 million from Bessemer. Prior to that BigBasket had raised Rs 200 crore in September 2014, and $10 million from Ascent Capital in March 2012.

Alibaba’s investments in India

  • The investment in BigBasket comes on the back of Alibaba’s Ant Financial investing $150 million in Zomato, plus acquiring an additional 6.66% stake in the restaurant listing and food delivery company from Info Edge for $50 million.
  • Last month, the Alibaba Group also invested $100 million against a minority stake in Pune-based logistics company XpressBees.

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