Angel investors back grocery e-tailer Delybazar
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Kolkata-based e-grocery startup Delybazar has raised $300,000 (Rs 2 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round a clutch of investors, Abhirup Basak, co-founder and chief executive at Delybazar, told VCCircle.

The investors included Pune-based Kalyan Guha, a senior executive at a French multinational, and Kolkata-based Rana Safui, who runs a real estate business in West Bengal and Orissa. Brandshoots Ventures, which is backed by Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of media house Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), also invested in the company, Basak said.

Brandshoots Ventures is an accelerator platform aimed at startups in the eastern states of India. It is a joint initiative of Sumedha Fiscal, Mayabious, Infinity and The Times Group.

Gurgaon-based mid-market-focused investment banking firm Access Capital Advisors served as the adviser to Delybazar for the transaction.

The firm will use the funds to expand its operations to other cities such as Bhubneshwar, Hyderabad and Bangalore. “We will raise our next round of funding very soon to expand our operations, hire more human resources and also for advertising,” Basak added.

Delybazar was founded in 2015 by Basak, Abhinava Ray Chaudhuri (chief operating officer), Subhasis Sasmal (chief technology officer), Kumaresh Bhattacharjee (product head) and Bijoy Kar. Basak and Kar are engineering graduates from Jadavpur University, while the remaining co-founders are alumni of West Bengal University of Technology.

Run by Online Delybazar Internet Retail Market Pvt. Ltd, the startup sells fresh fruits, vegetables, raw meat and other daily essentials online. The company sources the goods from local farms and vendors and retails them on its online platform.

“We take orders through our portal a day in advance and deliver it to the customers at their desired time-slot. We don’t deal in frozen meat and try to deliver the product as fresh as possible, which we believe is our USP. We also have the largest variety of fresh fish and meat,” said Basak.

The startup also provides different varieties of exotic meats including pork meat, duck meat and even Quail and Turkey meat in our offerings. For this offering, it has tied up with a West Bengal government initiative, he added.

The company, which is currently operational in Kolkata and delivers an average 10,000 orders a month, claims to have earned a turnover of around Rs 4 crore during 2017-18.

“We are operating almost at a break-even point and are likely to become EBITDA positive in the coming months,” Basak added.

Other startups that sell raw meat online include Zappfresh, which last week raised Rs 20 crore ($3 million) in a round led by Amit Burman, vice-chairman of consumer goods major Dabur India Ltd. SIDBI Venture Capital also participated in the round.

In March 2017, Bangalore-based online meat and fish ordering platform Licious secured $10 million (around Rs 65 crore) in a Series B funding round from Mayfield India, Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital, Russia-based Sistema Asia Fund and Korea-based Neoplux Technology Fund.

BCCL, which publishes The Times of India and The Economic Times newspapers and operates television channels as well as a host of websites, strikes ad-for-equity deals where it picks up a stake in companies in lieu of advertisements.

BCCL makes its ad-for-equity investments mainly through its unit Brand Capital. Another BCCL unit that makes investments is Times Internet Ltd, which acquires stakes in tech firms in media and entertainment. A VCCircle analysis in November 2017 showed that BCCL, along with Brand Capital and Times Internet, is one of the most prolific private equity and venture capital-style investors in India.

BCCL’s most recent investments include Mumbai-based online lending firm FinReq, Bangalore-based online home decor startup Livspace, e-commerce firm ShopClues and online food delivery platform FreshMenu.

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