The funding comes at a time when venture capital firms have become more cautious about investments. According to industry experts, the mandate has now shifted to earning revenue and reducing cash burn.
Food delivery start-up Swiggy, owned by Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has raisedRs.230.34 crore in a Series C funding round, with existing investors SAIF Partners, Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Apoletto Asia Ltd together pumping in about Rs.181 crore, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies.
The company attracted two new investors, New York-based venture capital firm Harmony Partners Ltd and Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm RB Investments Pte. Ltd, who together accounted for the remainder.
News of the possible fund-raise was first reported by The Economic Times on 30 November, although details such as the identity of the investors are just coming to light now.
Swiggy co-founder and chief executive Sriharsha Majety confirmed the development. “Our first two cities—Bengaluru and Hyderabad—will become operationally profitable by April. We will want to stamp our presence and become an undisputed number one in all the eight cities where we are present. We will be hitting a million monthly orders in the next two to three months,” said Majety.
According to the documents, SAIF Partners India invested the most (Rs.66 crore) followed by Accel India (Rs.59.39 crore) and Norwest Venture Partners (Rs.49.50 crore). Apoletto Asia invested Rs.5.93 crore while Harmony Partners and RB Investments put in Rs.26.40 crore and Rs.23.10 crore, respectively, the documents show. Avendus Capital advised Swiggy on the deal.
Harmony Partners is also an investor in San Fransisco-based delivery start-up Postmate. RB Investment and Accel Partners had backed online furniture store Capricoast last December.
The funding comes at a time when venture capital firms have become more cautious about investments. According to industry experts, the mandate has now shifted to earning revenue and reducing cash burn, as against splurging millions of dollars on customer acquisition.
Some food tech start-ups have shut down following a slowdown in investment while some have been acquired by well-capitalized rivals. While Internet-first kitchen Spoonjoy (Emvito Technologies Pvt. Ltd) was bought by hyperlocal delivery start-up Grofers (Locodel Solutions Pvt. Ltd) in October last year, another start-up, Dazo, shut shop the same month. Eatlo Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd closed down in December.
Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd, which is also the most well-funded home-grown food tech start-up, with about $224 million in its kitty, has cut some jobs. So has Tinyowl Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which raised $20 million from Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners and Nexus Venture Partners.
Even for Swiggy, existing investors accounted for more than three-fourths of the latest round, an indication that the market is still choppy. Usually, existing investors prefer a new investor to lead the round.
“There is a funding slowdown. Typically, in a soft market, new investors do not like to invest a lot early on. When the market is soft, they enter with a small sum and ask existing investors to pump in most of the money. Once they spend enough time, they will step up the investment. This is bound to happen in soft markets,” said Abhishek Goyal, co-founder of Tracxn, a start-up tracker. “Again, for the top performing companies, existing investors need to commit more to get external interest. New investors putting in more money holds true when markets are normal,” he added.
And they are far from normal now.
The fresh infusion of funds is likely to give Swiggy an edge over Tinyowl and Foodpanda. With the latest round, Swiggy has raised at least Rs.340 crore.
The company raised a Series B round of Rs.101.60 crore in June last year. Norwest Venture Partners led that round with Rs.46.80 crore. Accel Partners put in Rs.20.28 crore and SAIF Partners Rs.26.52 crore. Apoletto Asia Ltd invested Rs.8 crore. The company had raised about Rs.12 crore from Accel Partners and SAIF Partners in a Series A round in April 2015.
Swiggy faces stiff competition from Zomato, which entered the food delivery business in April last year. In an interview with Mint in December, Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal said it will invest $40 million in food-ordering over the next six months to capture a dominant share of the market in India and the UAE.
With Foodpanda battling several cases of internal fraud and systemic issues and Tinyowl struggling to raise fresh capital, the food delivery industry has largely been reduced to two firms: Swiggy and Zomato.
Zomato, backed by Temasek and Infoedge, currently handles close to 12,000 orders a day at an average ticket size of Rs.500-600, while Swiggy gets 15,000-18,000 orders a day at an average value of Rs.300-350, according to industry estimates.
Industry experts say food tech start-ups have been faltering because of poor unit economics, which leads to high cash burn. The burn rate could be as high as $1.5-2 million a month as they splurge on gaining market share.