Retail giant Walmart has backed fresh produce supply chain startup Ninjacart with an investment of $50 Mn, according to a news report today. An ET report said that the startup would receive a first tranche of $10 Mn in the next three weeks and that the US retail company would get a board seat in Ninjacart.
Walmart, which has a majority stake in Flipkart and operates a cash and carry business in India, is looking to go deeper into the market with the Ninjacart investment, which also includes rights to invest further in future rounds.
Further, with Flipkart also expanding its grocery vertical to five cities this year, Walmart could be looking at a future integration of Ninjacart’s supply chain and Flipkart’s distribution. However, at the moment, there’s no such strategic alliance between the two companies.
Ninjacart was founded by Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sharath Loganathan and Vasudevan Chinnathambi in 2015. The company picks up the produce directly from the farmer’s fields and delivers it to the businesses. The company claims to have perfected its sourcing and operations for achieving scale and lowering costs. The company claims to source fruits and vegetables from farmers across more than 20 Indian states and deliver to over 17K local kiranas and restaurants in seven Indian cities.
It is as yet unclear whether the investment is part of the Bengaluru-based agritech platform’s Series C round, which it had said had closed in late June. It had added received $10 Mn from a clutch of investors, including Tiger Global, debt venture fund Trifecta Capital, along with Tanglin Venture Fund, Steadview Capital, and ABG Capital. Interestingly, the company was also reported to be raising funds from global ecommerce platform Amazon.
According to the latest Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by Inc42, both Tiger Global and Tanglin Venture Fund invested about $2.9 Mn each in the agritech startup. Also in June, the company had also completed a $2.8 Mn debt capital round from another existing investor Trifecta Capital, which is also a part of this Series C round. Prior to this in April, the company had received $89 Mn Series C funding from Tiger Global.
Ninjacart cofounder Thirukumaran Nagarajan spoke to Inc42 immediately after the last funding round. “At present, we run 500 small trucks and 150 big trucks — now we need to grow our capacity by 10-20 times to include 5000 small trucks and 1000 big trucks. Currently, we are in seven Indian cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai. With these new fundings, we want to expand our reach in three more cities from northern and western parts of India,” he had said