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InnoVen offers venture debt to Alibaba-backed Xpressbees
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Xpressbees, the Alibaba Group-backed e-commerce logistics company, has raised Rs 35 crore ($5 million) in venture debt from InnoVen Capital. 

The company will use the fresh capital to beef up infrastructure and support growth, it said in a statement.

The latest infusion takes the total capital raised by the Pune-based company till date to $56 million. It had last raised funds in January 2018 when Alibaba.com Singapore E-commerce Pvt. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, invested around $35 million as part of its Series D round.

Other investors in the company include venture capital firms SAIF Partners, IDG Ventures India, NEA, Vertex Ventures and Valiant Capital.

Innoven, backed by Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings and Singapore-based lender UOB, has supported a slew of startups including OYO Rooms, Swiggy, Byju’s and Pepperfry. Overall, it invested about Rs 700 crore across 42 companies in India last year. 

In addition to Xpressbees, it expects to close six more transactions in the next few months, the lender said in the statement.

Xpressbees

Xpressbees started as the logistics arm of Pune-based baby products retailer FirstCry about eight years ago. In September 2015, the business was spun out from FirstCry and commenced independent operations as BusyBees Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Today, the company offers first- and last-mile delivery and reverse logistics chiefly to the e-commerce sector. It serves more than 30 clients including Snapdeal, Paytm, Flipkart, Reliance, Clubfactory and Firstcry. 

It has a presence in more than 1,000 cities and serves more than 10,000 pin-code areas through 53 hubs and 1,300 service centres across the country. It claims to execute more than 300,000 shipments daily.

Xpressbees reported a 46% jump in net sales to Rs 270.8 crore for the financial year ended 31 March 2018 from Rs 185.4 crore the year before. Net loss narrowed a tad to Rs 57.2 crore from Rs 57.7 crore, even though total costs surged 37% to Rs 327 crore.

Competitive landscape

Xpressbees operates in a crowded market. Its competitors, most equally well-funded by venture capital and private equity investors, include Delhivery, Ecom Express, Rivigo and Blackbuck.

The competitive landscape is set to intensify with SoftBank Vision Fund slated to pick up a 37.87% stake in Gurugram-based Delhivery. Multiple media reports had previously stated that Delhivery was looking to raise anywhere between $250 million and $450 million from potential investors, including SoftBank. In March 2017, private equity firm The Carlyle Group along with existing investor Tiger Global had put in $100 million (Rs 655 crore then) in Delhivery. 

Rivigo, also based in Gurugram, inched closer to the unicorn club this month when it raised $35.6 million in a fresh round of funding from existing investors Warburg Pincus and SAIF Partners. TechCircle estimates show that Rivigo raised the fresh capital at a valuation of $947.8 million, just short of the coveted unicorn status accorded to privately held firms valued at $1 billion or more. In all, Rivigo has raised a little more than $200 million in external funding so far. 

Bengaluru-based Blackbuck raised Rs 87.02 crore ($12.43 million) from existing investors in December, just two months after securing Rs 202.96 crore ($27.4 million) in a round led by new investor Sequoia Capital. 

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