Two sources told the publication that discussions with JD.com are “in a preliminary stage” and have been for more than five weeks. Shadowfax, which is reportedly seeking a fundraise of up to $25 million, is also in conversations with U.S. venture capital firms for the Series C round, reports noted.
Shadowfax, based in India, secured a modest $300,000 in 2015 led by Snapdeal and other backers. In 2016, the company raised $10 million led by Eight Roads ventures and a series of other, existing backers.
At the time, Shadowfax said it would use the funding to add new services as it focuses on last-mile delivery and logistics services for corporate customers.
According to Entrackr, JD.com has yet to invest in an Indian startup despite other leading Chinese internet giants including Alibaba and Tencent having already done so. One unnamed source mentioned JD.com’s acquisition of crowdsourced logistics player Dada Nexus in China; a stake in Shadowfax, the source said, is likely to be a similar deal.
Shadowfax currently operates in 75 cities in India and claims to be the market’s largest crowdsourced delivery platform, facilitating an estimated 3 million deliveries a month, reports said.
JD.com has made previous investments in the logistics and supply chain management space. Last year the company announced a partnership with APICS, a supply cain management company, to co-develop industry standards to optimize supply chains in China.
APICS developed the JD Supply Chain Academy under JD.com’s JD University to promote development and research of eCommerce supply chain management processes.
“JD.com is strongly committed to having the most retail supply chain professionals in China within three years,” JD.com’s Y Business Unit President Yu Yongli said in a statement at the time.