For the third time, e-commerce behemoth Flipkart has invested in Ninjakart, the agritech startup, after it (along with its parent company Walmart) pumped in $145 million on Monday to mark the biggest deal in the growing agritech sector in India.
Flipkart had earlier invested in Ninjacart back in 2019 (for the first time) and later invested around $30 million in late 2020 in Ninjacart. The proceeds from the current investment will be utilized towards building world-class teams and scalable tech platforms to organize and grow its network. It will also accelerate Ninjacart’s journey towards building technology and infrastructure to organize, empower and enhance the lives of millions of Agri value chain participants including farmers, resellers, retailers, consumers, and supply chain participants.
“With this investment, we are further able to strengthen our grocery footprint and offering as consumers across the country throng to e-grocery for quality and affordable options in the fresh category,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive, Flipkart Group. “Our investment and partnership in Ninjacart over the years is a testament to the continued commitment and success we have seen in our endeavor to create a democratic and organized agriculture market.”
The e-grocery segment has been gaining momentum steadily in India, and competition has intensified in this sector in recent times with the entry of names such as JioMart, Amazon India, Tata-owned BigBasket, as well as quick commerce startups like Swiggy’s Instamart, Dunzo Daily, and Zepto. Flipkart has also been working on its grocery business and has plans to scale up its Flipkart Quick offering (completing deliveries in just 90 minutes) to 200 cities by the end of 2022.
This investment will also be leveraged by Flipkart to strengthen Supermart, its online grocery store. Flipkart already offers groceries in 1,800 cities and towns and plans to take it to around 2,000 more towns by the middle of next year, and is working to bring efficiencies in the community e-grocery shopping model. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be an integral part of the expansion, along with investments in technology capabilities to offer better services to users, Flipkart said.
Ninjacart is a strategically suitable investment for Flipkart. The six-year-old startup, founded by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sharath Loganathan, and Vasudevan Chinnathambi, has helped over 1,00,000 farmers across 150 villages to generate better revenues and currently operates in seven cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai. It claims to be India’s largest fresh produce supply chain company that is solving one of the toughest problems in the world through technology – it connects producers of food directly with retailers, restaurants, and service providers using in-house applications that drive end to end operations.
“India is at a cusp of formalizing the agriculture industry, with the advent to better road connectivity, GST, seamless payments, digital infrastructure, etc. This opens up a tremendous opportunity to organize our agro-ecosystem landscape like never before. We are investing in this huge potential to create value,” said Thirukumaran Nagarajan, co-founder, and CEO, Ninjacart.