Gurugram-based grocery delivery startup Grofers has reportedly entered the unicorn club, after raising $120 million from IPO-bound food delivery platform Zomato and Tiger Global. The duo has reportedly signed a deal, valuing Grofers at a little over a billion dollars, putting it in a growing pool of Indian unicorns. A unicorn is a private company valued at or more than $1 billion. The deal comes at a time when more consumers are buying groceries online, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the current round, Zomato will invest about $100 million in the SoftBank-backed online grocery firm, while existing investor Tiger Global will put in the rest. New York-based Tiger Global is an investor in both companies, while SoftBank Vision Fund owns about 50% of Grofers. The development comes as Zomato’s rival Swiggy is aggressively pushing daily essentials delivery through Supr Daily and quick grocery delivery service Instamart.
Grofers has, so far, raised close to $662 million across equity and debt rounds. Its investors include Sequoia Capital India, Trifecta Capital Advisors, SoftBank Vision Fund, Abu Dhabi Capital Group as well as Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd, reported Business Insider.
Zomato’s experiment with grocery delivery during the initial months of the pandemic was discontinued as it was not cored to its business.
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“We did grocery through Zomato Market because the food delivery business was negligible during the lockdown. For three-six months, it worked really well and helped us get through the crisis. Eventually, it didn’t make sense,” Deepinder Goyal, co-founder, and CEO of Zomato told ET in an interview in March.
According to data from PGA Labs—the market intelligence unit of Praxis Global Alliance— Grofers had a 13% market share in FY21, while market leader BigBasket had 37% and Reliance’s JioMart 4%. This data showed the Indian e-grocery market is estimated to touch $22 billion by 2025. Industry data estimated the market at about $3 billion last year.
The Zomato investment round in Grofers follows the Tata Group acquiring a majority stake in BigBasket and investing another $200 million in primary capital in the company. Horizontal e-tailers such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart are also ramping up grocery plays as consumers increasingly migrate online for essentials.