SoftBank Vision Fund leads over $200m funding in Indian online grocer Grofers

Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

Masayoshi Son isn’t losing his appetite for backing money-losing startups.

Son’s SoftBank Vision Fund is leading an investment round of more than $200 million in Grofers, the Indian online grocery startup said in a statement. Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital and new investor KTB joined SoftBank in the deal, which pushes the company’s valuation to almost $1 billion even as it competes against powerful rivals: Walmart Inc.-controlled Flipkart, Amazon.com Inc. and BigBasket, backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The investment comes just after SoftBank-backed Uber Technologies Inc. flopped in its initial public offering, a sign that some investors are souring on tech startups with big dreams and bigger loses. Uber had a $3 billion operating loss last year on revenue of $11.3 billion.

While Grofers operates in a $600 billion market with many competitors, the company said it’s prioritizing profit given the sliver of market share served by online merchants. Walmart and Amazon have been investing heavily in India because they see the country as the last unclaimed major market in the world. Last year, Alibaba led a $300 million investment in BigBasket, pushing its valuation to $950 million.

SoftBank Group Corp. and Alibaba are such close allies that Son sits on the Chinese company’s board, while Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is a director at SoftBank. Yet in India, they are backing startups that go toe-to-toe. Grofers is in 13 cities, is already profitable in Delhi and getting there in Kolkata, according to Dhindsa.

“Grofers had a top line of $400 million and grew 8X in the last two years,” said Albinder Dhindsa, co-founder and chief executive officer. Grofers would become India’s largest online grocer this quarter, he said.

India’s grocery market is projected to grow at 55% per year through 2021, according to TechSci Research, making it the leading growth segment in online retail. SoftBank is an existing investor in Grofers along with Sequoia and Tiger Global.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.