Bengaluru-based B2B agritech startup Ninjacart on Wednesday raised Rs 250 crore funding led by Accel US, Syngenta Ventures, Jo Hirao, Founder of ZIGExN, Neoplux, HR Capital and Trifecta Capital. Existing investors Accel India, Nandan Nilekani, Mistletoe and Qualcomm Ventures also participated in the round. The RainMaker Group acted as the sole advisor to Ninjacart for the Series B funding round.
Last year, Ninjacart had raised debt funding of $1 million led by Trifecta Capital. It had earlier raised Rs 37 crore ($5.5 million) from investors, including Accel Partners, Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures and M&S Partners. With this round of funding, Ninjacart aims for geographical expansion, strengthen its technology and product and invest in building a stronger and robust supply chain infrasturcture.
With this fund raise, Ninjacart aims to expand to 10 cities and open over 200 distribution centres across India and scale its hiring. Total funding raised by Ninjacart is now at Rs 350 crore.
Speaking of the fundraise, Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Founder, Ninjacart, says,
"One of the key focuses for the fundraise will be geographic expansion. For a long time we focussed on Bengaluru and then we expanded to Chennai and Hyderabad and focused on growing deep there. With this funding we first want to enter Mumbai and Delhi and expand further across India."
Founded in May 2015 by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran KK, Vasudevan Chinnathambi, Ashutosh Vikram and Sharath Loganathan, Ninjacart has a network of over 3,000 farmers, from whom vegetables and fruits are procured to cater to the needs of 4,000 retailers in less than 12 hours on a daily basis.
Speaking of the investment, Shubhang Shankar from Syngenta Ventures said in a press statement:
“We have been impressed by Ninjacart’s success in developing a solution that provides improved market access to Indian farmers while at the same time delivering high quality practices across the farm to fork supply chain. We look forward to supporting Ninjacart on this journey, ultimately delivering benefits to numerous farmers and consumers throughout the country.”
Ninjacart started as a hyperlocal delivery platform by December 2015, and the company pivoted its model to become a full-fledged B2B marketplace. Ninjacart helps supermarkets, kirana stores and standalone shops to source fresh fruits and vegetables, staples and FMCG goods at competitive prices directly from farmers and brands.
Commenting on why they chose to invest, Subrata Mitra, Partner at Accel India, said in a press statement - “Ninjacart has been attempting to alleviate major issues in India’s fruit and vegetables supply chain over the past several years. The team has managed to get into a clear leadership position in that ecosystem, especially around South Indian cities. With the current round of financing, we expect them to continue to scale rapidly, enter new cities, and enable direct relationships with farmers and shop owners across even more categories.”
Agritech startups are fast growing in India and it is no surprise as agriculture still accounts for 22 percent of India’s GDP. In February, Agricx Labs raised funding from Ankur Capital. According to an IBEF report, several players have invested in the agricultural sector in India, mainly driven by the government’s initiatives and schemes.
Later in March, Indore-based agritech startup Gramophone raised $1 million in pre-Series A funding led by Info Edge. Other agritech startups who raised funding include CropIn, which last month raised $8 million funding led by Chiratae Ventures (previously known as IDG) and Agrostar, which raised funding from Aavishkar. There is also BigHaat, an agritech ecommerce company.
Speaking of the agriculture sector, Thirukumaran says, "Agriculture in India is one of the largest sectors and yet it is also the most tech-deprived sector. The space is therefore ripe for technological disruption. The more the startups, the better it is for the space at large. The fruits and vegetables market alone is worth $200 billion and we all still have a long way to go."