Bigbasket is an online grocery platform founded in 2011 by a team of five experienced entrepreneurs – Hari Menon, VS Sudhakar, Vipul Parekh and AbhinayChoudhari, Bigbasket is headquartered in Bengaluru and serves customers across India. It is currently operating in eight metro cities and 10 Tier II cities. The company sells over 19,000 products across 1,000 brands, including fruits, vegetables, meat, beverages and personal care products and claims to be fulfilling over one million orders per month.
Bigbasket has closed a $150 Million funding round led by The Abraaj Group. In this round, the entry of new investors such as International Finance Corporation, Sands Capital and participation from existing investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Helion Advisors, Zodius Capital and Ascent Capital was seen.
Bigbasket had earlier raised Rs 200 crores led by Helion Ventures and Zodius Capital in September 2014. Then in June 2015, it acquired Delyver, a Bengaluru-based hyperlocal delivery start up in a cash and stock deal. Then a few months later, it announced that it had raised $50 million from existing investors led by Bessemer Venture Partners.
Now in 2016, Bigbasket has been seeing a five-fold increase in monthly revenues over the last 18 months, supported by supply chain optimisation and an increased proportion of high margin private label products. Bigbasket’s own brand of products currently account for 33% of revenue and are projected to reach 40% by the end of this year.
Bigbasket claims to have over a million downloads for its app and currently competes with other funded players like Grofers, Peppertap and recently launched Amazon Now. Most recently Flipkart was running pilot operations for its ‘Flipkart Nearby’ service but then ceased operations. Reports also suggest that Ola will shut down its hyperlocal delivery service completely by the end of March.
Future plans for Bigbasket
Bigbasket aims to use the proceeds of this round to finance its growth through further penetration into existing markets, expansion into Tier II cities across India, scaling-up of its recently launched express delivery and specialty store business that caters to top-up and emergency purchases, and increasing the product range offered to customers.
The Abraaj Group currently manages close to $ 9.5 billion across regional, sector and country-specific funds globally and has been present in India since 2006. The partnership with Bigbasket marks its third investment in India over the past five months, with previous transactions including Care Hospitals and the development of a gigawatt scale renewable energy platform in partnership with the Aditya Birla Group. Commenting on the investment, Omar Lodhi, Partner and Head of Asia for The Abraaj Group, said,
We are excited about the investment opportunities in India, a key geography for us, where we continue to identify and partner with market leading companies. Abraaj will leverage its experience in the consumer sector to enable Bigbasket to further enhance its strong domestic position.
VS Sudhakar, Co-founder of Bigbasket feels that the company has good opportunity to become a frontrunner in the grocery sector – both online and offline – in India. He said,
We intend to increase the reach of our just-launched one-hour express delivery service and also launch our marketplace for specialty stores in the coming months. This coupled with an expansion in our range of private label products will create a solid foundation for growth in both revenue and profitability.”
Several on-demand grocery start-ups raised funding last year, especially early-stage start-ups. However, a slew of them wound up their operations while some, like Bengaluru-based Jiffstore, got acquired. Unit economics is a challenge in delivering grocery and other daily essentials in the current on-demand model, considering the negligible margins and the low delivery fees that companies charge customers. However, Bigbasket has managed to raise funds at regular intervals. The company’s strategy to roll out its own labels (like rice and pulses) is helping it improve margins. The company is also ensuring it has other differentiating elements, like focusing on organic products. While Bigbasket has launched a marketplace business, especially to deliver bakery and meat products quickly, it is still relying on its inventory model. This focus on a relatively traditional model seems to have kept it ahead of its on-demand peers. Time will tell if that advantage will last.