Investments

eCommerce Startups Find Funding Favor In India

India money

In India, funding activity over the past weeks headed into the end of August showed that eCommerce startups focused on home delivery gained traction, as measured by funding rounds.

As tracked by PYMNTS, total funding activity along sectors as far-flung as logistics, eCommerce, alternative finance and payments tech stood at roughly $2.3 billion USD. Breaking that down a bit, logistics stood at just over 47 percent of the total, at a bit more than $1 billion, and eCommerce stands at $259 million.

FreshToHome

Getting a bit more granular in eCommerce, and amid recent deals, in one case, FreshToHome, a firm based in Bangalore that focuses on selling food — spanning fresh vegetables, fish, chicken and other items — grabbed $20 million in a Series B funding round.

The investment was led by Iron Pillar, with, as TechCrunch noted, additional participation from Joe Hirao, the founder of Japan’s ZIGExn. The Series B come relatively soon after a Series A financing round was announced three months ago. The total raised to date comes in at $33 million.

The company, which operates its own eCommerce marketplace, has built its own supply chain, according to reports, and has recently expanded into the Mumbai and Pune regions, with perishables delivered the same day. FreshToHome has also expanded to include physical stores in Bangalore and Chennai, and says its total customer base spans 650,000. Management has said that annual top line sees more than $30 million in direct to consumer sales. The startup also began operations in UAE recently.

In a statement tied to the funding announcement, Anand Prasanna, managing partner of Iron Pillar, said, “FreshToHome’s brand proposition has been to provide 100% fresh food with 0% chemicals — not an easy thing to achieve in India at a large scale. By smartly using big data and machine learning, they have created a sustainable supply chain, which offers a fair price to consumers, fishermen and farmers, for their premium produce.”

In other food delivery news, and in a nod to the attention the space is attracting, Swiggy, another delivery startup (backed by Tencent), has launched Swiggy Go — and the service has expanded beyond food. Swiggy Go reportedly exists as a service that lets users — consumers and businesses alike — get delivery of all sorts of items (laundry, for example, or keys, or, well, anything) within a city.

RentoMojo

Separately, RentoMojo, an online appliance and furniture rental platform, reported a Series C funding round worth as much as $3.8 million USD. That funding came from existing investors including Accel Partners, IDG Ventures, Bain Capital and with additional participation from former LendingClub Chief Executive Renaud Laplanche. The website yourstory.com reported that there is, additionally, participation from a new Japanese investors, GMO VenturePartners.

The money for RentoMojo — which also provides maintenance and facilities for storing the items — will be used to fund growth through expansion into new cities. The Series C round comes after a July 2017 Series B funding round worth $10 million that was led by Bain Capital.

As reported, the company faces a number of competitors in the furniture and appliance online rental space, which includes Furlenco and Urban Ladder, among others.

ATMs, Too

In New Delhi, news came that $6.3 million USD equivalent was invested in BTI Payments Private, Ltd. The joint venture is backed by Banktech Group and funds managed by ICICI Venture, according to a release. This time around, the money came from Banktech and India Advantage Fund Series 4, which is in turn managed by ICICI.

BTI has said it has an installed base of more than 5,100 ATMs across 15 states in India. The new capital will help expand into new geographies. Expansion goals include doubling the number of these white label ATMs to more than 10,000 by 2021. The white label machines are sold under the India1 ATM brand, and exist as the second largest white label ATMs networks across the country and the third largest brand as measured across rural regions, spanning 20 million customers.

In a statement, K Srinivas, CEO of BTI Payments Private Ltd said, “ATM density in rural India is one of the lowest at one ATM per 20,000 people. Over the last 5 years, BTI has been building ATM infrastructure in these under-served areas to improve basic access to the semi-urban and rural populace of the country.”

Wefast

Beyond the confines of eCommerce, and in logistics, courier Wefast, with operations in India (though headquartered in Moscow), said it raised $15 million in a Series B funding round that was led by Vostok New Ventures. Other investors included Flashpoint and Addvenure. Wefast will use the capital to expand its regional reach and marketing efforts.

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