Excl: Online grocery startup ZopNow set to get funding from Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures

5 Jul, 2012

Bangalore-based ZopNow Retail Pvt. Ltd., which runs online hypermarket ZopNow, is all set to raise first round of funding from Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and media group Bennett Coleman & Co. Though the deal is not yet closed, sources close to the development told Techcircle.in, it is in its final stages.

Accel Partners, one of the most prolific investor in consumer Internet businesses in India, typically invests around $1-2 million in early stage investments. Qualcomm Ventures, an investment arm of Qualcomm, has a broader investment range starting from $0.5 million to $10 million, though this investment could be in the lower part of the range. Bennett Coleman & Co typically backs consumer facing businesses through ad-for-equity deals swapping ad space with minority equity stake.

ZopNow sells a varied range of products including groceries, beverages, snacks, health foods, cleaning supplies, electrical equipment, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hair care, dental care, cosmetics, baby products, office stationery and health and wellness products.

When contacted by Techcircle, ZopNow co-founder Bal Krishn Birla, declined to comment on the developments. Email queries sent to Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Bennett Coleman's Brand Capital (formerly Times Private Treaties, which invests through ad-for-equity deals) did not elicit any response till the time of filing this report.

Techcircle has also learnt the money raised would be used for improving logistics and last-mile delivery, increasing inventories and for expanding the technology bandwidth. The online store is also working towards developing a mobile technology with an eye on the surge in mobile internet adoption in India.

ZopNow currently operates only in Bangalore. The site promises delivery in less than three hours or at a pre-defined time specified by the customer. Customers can place the order either through telephone or the internet. It has bundled offers known as Zopkets, similar to supermarkets, for its customers.

ZopNow was founded by Mukesh Singh and Bal Krishn Birla in September last year. An alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and IIT-Kanpur, Singh has previously worked with Zoesis, eGain Communications, Sumtotal System, Timeline Studios, Amazon India and MakeMyTrip. An IIT Kanpur product, Birla has previously worked with Infosys, Arcot, Potluck Restaurant and has served as the CTO of Asklaila, a local information service.

ZopNow competes with other online grocery stores such as, EkStop, which recently raised (angel funding), BigBasket, funded by private equity fund Ascent Capital, and Mygrahak, among others.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)