Unilever Ventures leads $10.5 mn funding for grocery delivery firm Milkbasket

Unilever Ventures leads $10.5 mn funding for grocery delivery firm Milkbasket
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4 Jun, 2019

Grocery delivery startup Milkbasket has raised its largest funding worth $10.5 million (Rs 73 crore at current exchange rate), led by existing investor Unilever Ventures, the venture arm of consumer products company Unilever Plc., and joined by Mayfield India, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and a few Indian family offices.

The development follows a couple of funding rounds in the recent past. TechCircle reported in April that the company had raised Rs 20 crore ($2.86 million then) in debt financing from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal.

Bansal’s investment came less than five months after Milkbasket raised $7 million (Rs 49 crore then) in an extended Series A round led by US-based early-to-growth-stage venture capital firm Mayfield Advisors.

With the current round, Milkbasket has raised close to $26 million in total from Bansal, Mayfield Advisors, Beenext, Kalaari Capital, Unilever Ventures, Lenovo Capital, Blume Ventures and a few family offices.

“We are steadily and surely moving towards our goal of $1 billion ARR (annual run rate) in 2021. Together with investing in talent and geographic expansion, Milkbasket continues to invest in customer-centric innovation, and this funding will help us focus on all the three areas to build a national market leader in online grocery,” Anant Goel, co-founder and chief executive of Milkbasket, said.

Founded in 2015 by Anant Goel, Ashish Goel, Anurag Jain and Yatish Talvadia, Milkbasket has a presence in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida and Bengaluru.

Unlike bigger players in the online grocery delivery market such as Bigbasket, Grofers, Amazon and Flipkart, Milkbasket positions itself as the online version of local mom-and-pop grocery stores but with more stock-keeping units (SKUs). It claims to have an assortment of over 8,500 SKUs. The startup supplies perishable and non-perishable products that are bought in smaller quantities but with higher frequency.

The company started off by delivering milk, bread and eggs. It has since expanded to a whole range of daily groceries. According to the company, over 70% of its revenue comes from non-milk products. The firm claims to be serving over 100,000 households today, growing 20% month-on-month.

In an interaction with TechCircle last year, CEO Anant Goel had said that Milkbasket aimed to expand to the top 10 cities in India over the next two years.

Milkbasket’s largest funding round comes at a time when the online grocery market is accelerating, with large venture capital funds flowing in. Grofers and Bigbasket raised fresh investments recently and Walmart and Amazon are ramping up their grocery operations.

Last month, Grofers secured more than $200 million in a funding round led by existing investor SoftBank Group Corp while Bigbasket raised $150 million led by South Korean firm Mirae Asset.

Bigbasket, which is currently considered the market leader, operates in 10 large cities and 15 Tier-II cities. In an interaction with TechCircle around a year ago, Bigbasket co-founder Hari Menon had hinted at unmanned offline grocery stores, along the lines of Amazon Go in the US and Alibaba’s Hema store in China.

Meanwhile, Flipkart opened its fifth India physical grocery store in Mumbai last month.

Amazon is aggressively expanding its food retail business in India after overcoming regulatory hurdles. According to recent media reports, Amazon Retail India Pvt. Ltd (ARIPL) plans to take its operations to 60 more small cities in the country over the next year or so. ARIPL is currently present in 100 Tier-II and Tier-III cities.