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Unilever Ventures backs micro-delivery grocery startup Milkbasket
From L to R: Yatish Talvadia, Anant Goel, Ashish Goel and Anurag Jain

Gurgaon-based Aaidea Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs micro-delivery grocery startup Milkbasket, has raised $3 million (around Rs 19 crore) in funding from Unilever Ventures, the investment arm of FMCG major Unilever. The company's existing investors also participated in this round.

Milkbasket will use the funds and Unilever’s expertise to strengthen technology, expand product assortment and customer base and explore monetising opportunities, the company said in a statement.

The firm delivers milk at customers’ home every day at 7 am and is looking to add groceries to its services.

“The endorsement from Unilever Ventures is an important mark of confidence in our potential. We envision to become a strong player in online top-up groceries platform space in India within five years,” said Anant Goel, CEO of Milkbasket.

“We aim to support disruptive emerging commerce models and Milkbasket’s approach, leveraging Indian consumers’ habits and preferences, bringing convenience and attractive unit economics, is definitely one of them,” said Olivier Garel, head of Unilever Ventures.

Goel founded Milkbasket in 2015 along with Ashish Goel, Anurag Jain and Yatish Talavadia. Previously, it raised two rounds of funding from Blume Ventures, Lenovo Capital, Empower Investment, Hofan Capital and Draphant as well as angel investors including Peter Zou (CEO, YeahMobi), Vinay Bansal (former CFO, Wildcraft), Vikas Chauhan of 1MG and Deepak Jain of Bain & Co.

In April 2016, the company raised $500,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by Chicago-based venture capital fund and accelerator EVC Ventures. Chinese investors Peter Zou, CEO of YeahMobi, and Li Jian, founder of Zhu Dao Investments also put money in the round.

In August 2017, the company raised another round of funding to give EVC Ventures an exit. The venture capital firm achieved an internal rate of return (IRR) of 200% on its one-year-old investment in Milkbasket when it sold its stake to early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures and technology major Lenovo through its venture capital arm Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group.

Unilever Ventures invests in early-stage companies, accelerating their growth by providing access to Unilever's global ecosystem, assets and expertise. The fund looks to invest in personal care and digital transformation technologies that include content creation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, e-commerce, internet of things, mobile marketing and video. It has invested in Clavis Insight, Percolate, Blis, Gousto, Instacart, Blow, Nutrafol, Sun Basket, Iluminage Beauty, Froosh, and Voltea.

Bengaluru-based ZN Retail Pvt. Ltd, which runs online grocery property ZopNow, had raised $10 million in 2015 from San Francisco-based Dragoneer Investment Group with participation from existing investors Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Times Internet.

Amazon India has a presence in the hyperlocal delivery space with Amazon Now.

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