Agri-marketing startup Ninjacart raises venture debt from Trifecta Capital

Agri-marketing startup Ninjacart raises venture debt from Trifecta Capital
5 Mar, 2018

Bengaluru-based 63Ideas Infolabs Pvt Ltd, which runs business-to-business agri-marketing platform Ninjacart, has raised about $1.1 million (Rs 7 crore) from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital, a company statement said.

The company will use the funds to invest in capital expenditure and strengthen its supply chain infrastructure, the statement added.

Currently operational only in Bangalore, the company plans to establish itself in Chennai.

“We have grown to process more than 150 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per day in Bangalore. We have also done a pilot test of our playbook in Chennai, and are planning a full fledged launch in Chennai by scaling to 100 tonnes per day in a span of three months,” said Thirukumaran Nagarajan, co-founder and chief executive of the venture.

Ninjacart helps farmers sell their fruits and vegetables directly to shops, retailers and restaurants in Bangalore. It started out as a hyper-local grocery delivery company but then later pivoted to the present B2B set up.

The firm was founded in July 2015 by Nagarajan, Sharath Loganathan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sachin P J, and Vasudevan Chinnathambi, all of whom have had prior stints at Commonfloor, Olacabs, HT Media, Verizon Labs, Taxiforsure, and others.

Nagarajan, an Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode alumnus, had previously launched two startups—Shout App, a location-based social network and EduRaft, an education information platform based out of Chennai.

For the financial year 2016-17, Ninjacart saw its losses widen to Rs 21.5 crore as compared to Rs 3.1 crore in 2015-16.

The firm last raised funds in April last year. It secured Rs 37 crore ($5.5 million) from Accel Partners, Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures and M&S Partners.

In March 2016, it had raised $3 million in a Series A round led by Accel Partners.

Trifecta Capital was founded by Nilesh Kothari and Rahul Khanna who manage a target corpus of Rs 500 crore. Trifecta provides early-stage debt capital to Indian companies, mainly in the technology sector. It usually prices its debt between 15% and 17%. The firm also looks to acquire a stake in companies through cashless warrants or partly paid-up shares.

In 18 months since its launch, the fund has supported 18 companies including BigBasket, PaperBoat, Rivigo, Nephroplus, Urban Ladder, Industrybuying, OneAssist, Urban Clap and IdeaForge. RBL Bank and Azim Premji Trust are the anchor investors in the fund.

Its most recent bets include online women’s fashion brand FabAlley, which secured Rs 5 crore ($785,000) from the venture debt firm.

Venture debt is an important tool of funding for companies as it rarely involves stake dilution by promoters. It also provides companies more time to grow. The segment is growing in India even as venture capital activity is seeing a slowdown.

In January, Temasek-owned InnoVen Capital recorded a 25% jump in funding in 2017. It disbursed $75 million (about Rs 477 crore) and committed another $10 million last year.

A new entrant in the venture space is Alteria Capital Advisors LLP, founded by former top executives at venture debt provider InnoVen Capital India Pvt. Ltd. Last week, the venture debt fund marked the first close of its debut fund with commitments of Rs 356 crore ($54.76 million).

Bengaluru-based Capital Float, IFMR Capital of Chennai and Ahmedabad-based Lendingkart are others players offering debt funding to early-stage companies in India.