B2B e-commerce marketplace Udaan raises $225 mn in Series C round
Bengaluru-based Hiveloop Technology Pvt. Ltd, which operates business-to-business e-commerce platform Udaan, has raised $225 million (Rs 1,593 crore at current exchange rates) in its Series C round of funding, a person directly familiar with the development told TechCircle.
The company has raised this sum from its existing investors DST Global, owned by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The investment round marks one of the largest infusions into an Indian startup that is still in the relatively early stages of operations.
When contacted, Amod Malviya, co-founder of the company, confirmed the development but did not disclose any more information.
Udaan secured its Series B funding round in February this year. It had raised $50 million (Rs 324 crore) from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Yuri Milner’s Apoletto Fund. Lightspeed had put in about $30-35 million in that round, while Milner’s fund accounted for the rest.
TechCircle could not immediately ascertain the valuation at which the company raised this round. However, reports in The Economic Times and Times of India, which had reported the development earlier in the day, pegged it at $1 billion. This would make Udaan one of the fastest Indian private companies to enter the unicorn club, having started operations just two years ago.
The company was founded in 2016 by former Flipkart employees Malviya, Sujeet Kumar and Vaibhav Gupta. The firm caters to small and medium businesses. It connects traders, wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers on a single platform via a mobile app.
Udaan helps businesses discover customers, suppliers and products across categories and connect directly with each other for the best deal. The platform also facilitates buying and selling with secure payments and logistics. It also offers escrow protection for seamless payments and round-the-clock seller and buyer support.
The company, which follows an asset-light model, currently operates across fashion, electronics and staples and fast-moving consumer goods.
Malviya was the chief technology officer at Flipkart, while Kumar headed the homegrown e-commerce major’s in-house vendor WS Retail, and Gupta served as senior vice president of finance.
In an interaction with TechCircle in February this year, Kumar said that the company was looking to expand into more verticals within the next two years.
According to the company’s filings with the Registrar of Companies, Udaan posted gross revenues of Rs 1.69 crore in 2016-17 but did not generate any operational revenue, given that it was incorporated in June 2016. The company had started its formal operations during the second half of that calendar year.
Udaan had incurred gross expenditure of Rs 7.57 crore, with employee expenses accounting for Rs 3.08 crore, while administrative overheads, including other expenses, were at Rs 4.43 crore. The company incurred net losses of Rs 5.88 crore during the financial year.
Deals in the space
A number of e-commerce firms in the B2B segment have garnered investor interest in the past few months.
Last month, Bengaluru-based ShopX, a B2B e-commerce platform for small retailers, raised $35 million (Rs 240 crore) in a fresh funding round from Hong Kong-based Fung Holdings.
In July, Bengaluru-based 63Ideas Infolabs Pvt. Ltd, which runs B2B agri-marketing platform Ninjacart, raised around $4.9 million (Rs 33.70 crore) in a fresh funding round from Accel Partners and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust.
In the same month, Lal10, an online marketplace that connects artisans and bulk buyers; fashion and lifestyle supply chain digitisation platform Wholesalebox; and online procurement portal for office supplies Kobster raised capital.
In June, Aahaa Stores, an online B2B store for office supplies, raised $2 million (around Rs 13.6 crore) in a fresh round of funding from UAE-based investment group Calega.
In May, Bizongo, a B2B marketplace for packaging materials, raised $22 million (Rs 146.7 crore) in a Series B round of funding from B Capital and International Finance Corporation (IFC) as well as existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures.
In April, Temasek’s venture debt arm InnoVen Capital committed another Rs 40 crore ($6.16 million) in online buying hub for small and medium enterprises Power2SME.