Logistics firm Xpressbees rejigs board in wake of Alibaba funding

The board of Xpressbees has witnessed a major reshuffle in the wake of the Pune-headquartered logistics firm raising Rs 225 crore (around $35 million) from a subsidiary of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

On Tuesday, VCCircle had reported that Xpressbees had raised funding from Alibaba.com Singapore E-commerce Pvt. Ltd.

This had followed media reports that the e-commerce behemoth was likely to invest as much as $100 million in the logistics firm.

According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) filings, there were three major exits from the board a day before the fundraising took place.

Sudhir Sethi, the chairman & founder of IDG Ventures India, Ravi Adusumalli, managing partner at SAIF Partners India, and Ben Mathias, managing director and head of India at Vertex Ventures, all stepped down from the Xpressbees board.

It is not clear if these investors currently have representatives on the rejigged board. It is also unknown whether the same investors partially or fully exited their investment in Xpressbees after Alibaba's infusion.

Two board appointments were made to accommodate Alibaba representatives. Jason Pak Tung Yip, secretary and general counsel at Alibaba Group Holding, and Ting Hong Kenny Ho, senior director of finance at the same firm, are now members of Xpressbees' board.

E-mail queries sent to the three departing board members did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

Operated by BusyBees Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Xpressbees started out in 2012 as the logistics arm of FirstCry and was built by the baby products retailer's founders Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha. In 2015, Xpressbees became an independent venture.

Saha also did not respond to an email query from VCCircle.

Before the recent infusion, Xpressbees had in early 2016 raised about $12.5 million (around Rs 86 crore) from existing investors SAIF Partners, IDG Ventures India, NEA, Vertex Ventures and Valiant Capital.

Xpressbees' direct competitors include Delhivery, Ecom Express and Vulcan Express.

Ecom Express is backed by private equity fund Warburg Pincus while Delhivery is backed by Carlyle Group, Fosun Group and Tiger Global. Vulcan Express was Snapdeal's e-commerce arm until being acquired by Future Group last week for $5.5 million.

Xpressbees reported revenues of Rs 185 crore in the financial year 2016-17, more than double the Rs 84 crore it garnered the previous fiscal.

However, the firm's losses also increased to Rs 58 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 36 crore the year before that. Expenses doubled to Rs 240 crore in the last financial year from Rs 119 crore in 2015-16.

Separately, in September last year, media reports stated that Pune-headquartered Brainbees Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which operates FirstCry, was in talks to raise Rs 666 crore ($101 million) from multiple investors, including Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

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