Tiger Global-backed agri-tech startup NinjaCart raises more debt from Trifecta Capital

Tiger Global-backed agri-tech startup NinjaCart raises more debt from Trifecta Capital
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15 Nov, 2019

63Ideas Infolabs, the Bengaluru-based company that owns B2B agri-marketing platform NinjaCart, has raised $4.18 million from venture debt provider Trifecta Capital.

According to the company’s latest regulatory filings, NinjaCart raised this sum by issuing non-convertible debentures (NCDs). This is NinjaCart’s second venture debt fundraising in about five months. The company had raised $2.87 million from Trifecta in June.

Early this year, the company had raised $100 million led by New York headquartered alternative investments firm Tiger Global Management. The round brought in new investors such as Steadview Capital, NPTK Emerging Asia Fund and US-based HNI investor Clark Valberg. Existing investor Tanglin Venture Partners also participated in that round.

The second tranche of venture debt from Trifecta comes amidst reports that Amazon is in talks with NinjaCart for an investment.

NinjaCart was co-founded in July 2015 by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Vasudevan  Chinnathambi, Kartheeswaran KK, Sharath Loganathan, Ashutosh Vikram and Sachin PJ.

It began as a hyperlocal grocery delivery company but later shifted to the B2B segment. Farmers can sell vegetables and fruits directly to business establishments such as shops, retailers and restaurants via the startup’s platform.

The company, which has raised over $150 million in total funding so far, counts venture capital firm Accel, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures and M&S Partners among its other backers.

It recently expanded its operations beyond South India to Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. Co-founder Chinnathambi, at the time of the announcement, had told TechCircle that the company was looking at Ahmedabad as its next market and assessing, among others, Lucknow, Kanpur, Surat, Baroda and Nagpur, as its next ports of call.

In a December 2018 interview, co-founder Nagarajan told TechCircle that the company’s geographical expansion strategy would entail satellite cities after entering major cities. He added that optimising supply chain and becoming profitable in existing markets would be its primary goals over the next two years.

Investors flock to agri-tech

Agri-tech investments have been gradually gathering pace in India over the past few years. According to a recent report from Nasscom, investments in India’s nascent agri-tech sector grew 300% during the first six months of the year to $248 million against the same period last year. 

Further, India is now home to more than 450 agri-tech startups, with B2B startups emerging as a key constituent, the software services industry lobby said, citing the findings of an in-house report titled ‘Agritech in India -- emerging trends in 2019’.

Other notable developments in the sector include a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Tata Trusts to set up the India Agritech Incubation Network (IAIN) at IIT Kanpur. The network of incubators aims to promote innovations for farmers holding small parcels of land.

Also, startup incubator T-Hub and Melbourne-based Beanstalk AgTech recently launched the Graft Australia-India AgTech market access programme which aims to support 12 startups every year that solve challenges in the agricultural sectors of India and Australia.

Just as NinjaCart raised a new round of venture debt, Jumbotail, an online marketplace for food and grocery items that caters to wholesale buyers, secured Rs 14 crore from its existing investor Nexus Venture Partners. Earlier in June, the company had raised Rs 90 crore in a Series B round of funding.

B2B ecommerce marketplace Udaan, which also enables farmers sell their products to kirana stores and restaurants, raised $585 million in a growth round from an investor consortium that included Tencent Holdings, Altimeter Capital, Footpath Ventures, Hillhouse Capital, GGV Capital and Citi Ventures last month. Udaan has raised $870 million so far.

In May 2019, DeHaat, a Gurugram-based online marketplace for farm products and services, acquired VezaMart, a platform that builds farm management solutions for farmers. In the same month, DeHaat had raised Rs 20 crore in venture debt from Trifecta Capital.