International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, has proposed to invest up to $5 million (around Rs 32 crore) in Bizongo, an online business-to-business marketplace for packaging materials.
IFC is looking to make an equity investment of up to $5 million as part of the company’s fundraising round with additional capital being provided by existing and new investors, it said in a disclosure.
“Many SMEs in this sector lack professional expertise to market and distribute products, leading to low (less than 50%) capacity utilisation. Bizongo is able to provide incremental demand and process knowhow which has led some suppliers to increase capacity utilisation, significantly improving efficiency,” IFC said.
The investment proposal will be placed before IFC’s board on 9 March.
An email query sent to Bizongo did not elicit a response.
Bizongo operates as a B2B technology platform providing one-stop-shop packaging solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large companies. The company curates, on-boards and provides access to SME packaging material manufacturers across India.
Founded in April 2014 by Aniket Deb along with Ankit Tomar and Sachin Agrawal, alumni of IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay, the startup currently deals in products such as boxes, containers, pouches and bags, targeting industries such as food & hospitality, FMCG, retail & wholesale and ecommerce.
Bizongo has more than 2,500 registered small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
IFC has made two investments in B2B ecommerce space in India. Noida-based MOGLILABS Pvt. Ltd, which operates online B2B industrial goods marketplace Moglix, raised $12 million (around Rs 77 crore) in its Series B round of funding from IFC and Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund Rocketship.
IFC also proposed an investment of up to $10 million (Rs 64 crore) in Gurgaon-based BEBB India Pvt. Ltd, which runs Power2SME, an online buying hub for SMEs.
Owned and operated by Smartpaddle Technology Pvt. Ltd, the company had raised $3 million (around Rs 20 crore) in Series A round of funding from IDG Ventures and existing investor Accel Partners in November 2016. Accel had invested an undisclosed amount as seed funding in the company in October 2015.
A number of ventures in the broader B2B ecommerce space have raised funding in recent months.
IFC’s portfolio firm Power2SME raised an additional $26 million (Rs 166 crore) in its Series E funding round from existing investors Inventus Capital Partners, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital and Nandan Nilekani early in September last year.
In the same month, Chennai-based Aahaa Stores Pvt. Ltd, an online B2B store for office supplies, raised $1 million (Rs 6.4 crore) in its second pre-Series A funding round led by YourNest Angel Fund.
In August 2017, Just Buy Live Enterprise Pvt. Ltd, an e-distributor that connects shopkeepers with consumer brands, raised $100 million (Rs 640 crore) in Series B funding from Dubai-based investment banking firm Ali Cloud Investment.