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Accel, others pump fresh funds into B2B marketplace Ninjacart

Bengaluru-based 63Ideas Infolabs Pvt. Ltd, which runs business-to-business agri-marketing platform Ninjacart, has raised around $4.9 million (Rs 33.70 crore) in a fresh funding round from existing investors, two persons directly familiar with the development told VCCircle.

The round was co-led by Accel Partners and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust, one of the persons mentioned above said. Japanese investor Mistletoe also put money into the firm.

Ninjacart is yet to close this funding round and is in talks with other investors to sign a larger cheque, the second person mentioned above said. However, the person did not disclose the identity of the investors or the targeted final ticket size.

The company raised this sum at a post-money valuation of roughly around $30-33 million (Rs 206-227 crore), the second person added. Back-of-the-envelope calculations by VCCircle show that this represents nearly 67% rise from Ninjacart’s last known major funding round.

In April 2017, Ninjacart raised Rs 37 crore ($5.5 million) from Accel Partners, NRJN Trust, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures and M&S Partners. This round was raised at a post-money valuation $19.4 million (Rs 133.68 crore at current rates), as per VCCircle estimates.

In March this year, it had raised about $1.1 million (Rs 7 crore) from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital.

Email queries sent to Thirukumaran Nagarajan and Kartheeswaran KK, co-founders of the venture, did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report.

Ninjacart
The company was founded in July 2015 by Kartheeswaran, Nagarajan, Sharath Loganathan, Ashutosh Vikram, Sachin P J, and Vasudevan Chinnathambi, all of whom have had prior stints at Commonfloor, OlaCabs, HT Media, Verizon Labs, Taxiforsure, and others.

The firm’s agri-marketing platform allows farmers to sell vegetables and fruits directly to business establishments such as shops, retailers and restaurants. The three-year-old venture originally started out as a hyper-local grocery delivery company but then pivoted to the present B2B setup.

As no middlemen are involved in the entire transaction, Ninjacart claims that the farmers on its network earn 20% more revenue than in the existing market. Likewise, the price benefit is also passed on to the retailers, who source the produce at a rate that is 5-10% less than the regular cost, information on the company’s website shows.

While the company offers a one-stop-sale platform for all produce that includes proper weighing, doorstep pickup and prompt bank payments, it also takes care of the last-mile delivery to the end buyers. The company is operational in Bengaluru and Chennai, the company website states.

At the time Ninjacart raised venture debt from Trifecta, co-founder and CEO Nagarajan said that the company was processing more than 150 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per day in Bengaluru alone. Its Chennai operations are also expected to scale up to 100 tonnes a day soon, he said then.

Nagarajan, an Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode alumnus, had previously launched two startups—Shout App, a location-based social network and EduRaft, an education information platform based out of Chennai.

For the financial year 2016-17, Ninjacart clocked a nearly ten-fold rise in operational revenues at Rs 26.57 crore, up from Rs 2.69 crore. Gross expenditures rose a little over seven-fold to Rs 45 crore, up from Rs 5.9 crore the previous year. Consequently, losses widened to Rs 21.5 crore as compared to Rs 3.1 crore in 2015-16.

Recent deals in B2B e-commerce
Broadly, Ninjacart operates in the larger B2B e-commerce space, which has seen some significant investor interest over the past few months.

This month, Lal10, an online marketplace that connects artisans and bulk buyers; fashion and lifestyle supply chain digitisation platform Wholesalebox; and online procurement portal for office supplies Kobster raised capital.

Last month, Aahaa Stores, an online B2B store for office supplies, raised $2 million (around Rs 13.6 crore) in a fresh round of funding from UAE-based investment group Calega.

In May, Bizongo, a B2B marketplace for packaging materials, raised $22 million (Rs 146.7 crore) in a Series B round of funding from B Capital and International Finance Corporation (IFC) as well as existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures.

In April, Temasek’s venture debt arm InnoVen Capital committed another Rs 40 crore ($6.16 million) to online buying hub for small and medium enterprises Power2SME.

In February, Udaan raised $50 million (Rs 324 crore) in a Series B round from new and existing investors.

In January, WOTU, a B2B e-commerce for food and beverages, raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round of funding from Claris Capital and Mumbai Angels Network.

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