BigBasket, India’s Largest Online Grocer, Is Now A Unicorn

Alibaba-backed BigBasket is raising $150 million in fresh funding.

BigBasket is raising $150 million in fresh funding at valuations that will make India’s largest online grocer the nation’s newest unicorn.

The startup’s board approved $50-million fundraise from existing investor Alibaba Group, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies. The U.K. government-owned CDC Group, known for its investments in Africa and South Asia, will put in another $40 million. South Korea’s Mirae Asset Global Investments will plough $59.9 million.

BigBasket will issue 100 equity shares at $11.43 apiece, and one million compulsory convertible preference shares at $114.29 each. At this price, the startup will be valued at about $1.2 billion, according to BloombergQuint’s calculations. That makes the online grocery company India’s second startup to join the unicorn club—valued at more than $1 billion—in 2019 after Delhivery.

The fresh capital will give BigBasket firepower to take on Amazon India and Flipkart, both of which are focusing aggressively on grocery. Amazon operates two grocery delivery platforms Amazon Pantry and Prime Now—which promises two-hour delivery for household items and daily essentials.

BigBasket, which delivers close to 20,000 products from over 1,000 brands, had raised $200 million last year in a round led by Alibaba. At the time, the startup was valued at around $912 million, according to BloombergQuint’s estimates. The investment comes a month after its rival Grofers raised $60 million at a valuation of $400 million.

After the latest fund infusion, Alibaba will continue to be the largest shareholder with around 26.2 percent stake, followed by Abraaj Group at 16.2 percent and Ascent Capital at 15.5 percent. BigBasket’s promoters hold around 10 percent including the employee stock ownership plan.

Over the last few months, BigBasket added more categories such as beauty and home essentials. The company also introduced a subscription programme, called BBStar, to offer discounts and faster deliveries. To expand its operations, it had acquired Bengaluru-based micro-delivery startup Morning Cart and Pune-based milk subscription platform RainCan.

(Corrects an earlier version that misstated CDC’s investment)