Ninjacart, a fresh produce supply chain company, has raised $145 million from Flipkart and its US-based parent, Walmart Inc, in the largest deal in India’s agriculture market, according to the Indian e-commerce firm.
Flipkart is investing in Ninjacart for the third time. It made an undisclosed investment in the Bengaluru-based business in 2019 and then pumped another $30 million into it alongside Walmart late last year.
In its Monday edition, ET was the first to report on the potential transaction, estimating that the agreement would value Ninjacart at $750-800 million, up from $500 million in its last round and that the funding round might be extended to more than $100 million. Flipkart has announced intentions to expand its 90-minute online grocery service, Flipkart Quick, to 200 cities by the end of 2022. Flipkart will use the Ninjacart investment to bolster its Supermart grocery business.
“We are able to further expand our grocery footprint and offering with this investment, as consumers throughout the country migrate to e-grocery seeking quality and inexpensive options in the fresh category,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group. “Our continuous commitment and success in our endeavor to develop a democratic and organized farm market is a testimonial to our investment and engagement in Ninjacart over the years.”
Ninjacart, which was founded in 2015, is now available in seven cities: Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai. Fresh fruits and vegetables are purchased directly from farmers and distributed to merchants, hotels, restaurants, and even housing complexes.
Thirukumaran Nagarajan, co-founder and CEO of Ninjacart, said, “The money will help us to go beyond organizing the farmer-to-retailer ecosystem to a far wider aim of organizing the entire Agri industry and enabling transparent commerce.”
Flipkart is expanding its grocery sector, according to ET, at a time when it faces competition from Reliance Industries’ JioMart, Amazon India, Tata-owned BigBasket, as well as rapid commerce firms like Swiggy’s Instamart, Dunzo Daily, and newcomer Zepto.
Flipkart claims to have grocery stores in 1,800 cities and towns, with ambitions to expand to 2,000 more by the middle of next year. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be an important component of the expansion, according to the company, which is also investing in technology to provide better services to users. Flipkart has stated that it is working to improve the community e-grocery shopping concept.