SoftBank, others may pump $55-$60 million into Grofers to help fight bigger rivals


Grofers is in the final stages of raising $55-$60 million from its largest investor, SoftBank Vision Fund, as well as other existing backers, two people in the know of the matter told ET.

The latest funding round comes at a time of heightened activity in the e-grocery space, with market leader BigBasket currently
in talks to divest a majority stake to the Tata Group, as ET reported on October 28.

“SoftBank Vision Fund is expected to invest around $30 million, with the rest of the capital coming from other internal investors,” a person who is aware of the discussion said, refusing to be named as the talks are private. “The company is looking to bring in an external investor, but it has been difficult to rack up funds in view of the competition from bigger players in the sector.”

The Japanese conglomerate is the largest investor in the Gurugram-based e-grocer, with around 46% shareholding. Existing investors Tiger Global and South Korean investment firm KTB Ventures are likely to pump in about $30 million.

The online grocery delivery company’s valuation is expected to remain flat, at round $650-$700 million, similar to its previous fundraising round, another person in the know on condition of anonymity.

Albinder Dhindsa, the cofounder and CEO of Grofers did not comment on its fundraising plan. A SoftBank spokesperson said, “We do not comment on speculation.”

“Grofers has grown its topline 80% compared to pre-Covid-19 levels and has clocked Rs 2,600 crore in gross sales since April,” a company spokesperson told ET. The company is also profitable on every order and is exploring an Initial Public Offering, the spokesperson added.

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Read:
BigBasket, Grofers, others may clock $3 billion sales

Growth sustaining in grocery e-commerce

Deep-pocketed rivals such as Reliance Retail, Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, which are making serious inroads into the online grocery category, have dented the fundraising prospects of independent platforms like Grofers.

The online grocery segment witnessed substantial growth during the lockdown in the first quarter of the current financial year, and growth in the segment has sustained even as the shelter-at-home rules were relaxed.

According to analysts tracking the sector, market leader BigBasket made around Rs 3,300-3,400 crore in gross sales during the first two quarters of the current financial year.

“The online grocery sector clocked between Rs 9,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore in gross merchandise value, or GMV, in FY20 and this is expected to grow 1.8-2 times in FY21,” said an analyst who declined to go on record as he closely works with several companies in the sector.

Read:
Covid-19 pandemic is teaching us to do more with less: Grofers CEO Albinder Dhindsa

Separately, Goldman Sachs said in a report in July that BigBasket and Grofers accounted for more than 80% of the grocery e-tailing market in 2019.

It further highlighted that online grocery has been growing at over 50% year-on-year for the last few years, but with the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent entry of Reliance JioMart, the growth will go up to 80% for the next four years.

“We do see grocery as a large category for two or more players to co-exist over time,” it said in the report.

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SoftBank Vision Fund will invest early; back enterprise, SaaS companies: Rajeev Misra





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