India has just witnessed the largest ever funding round by a food-technology startup in the country.
Bengaluru-based Swiggy today (Dec.20) said it has signed agreements to raise $1 billion (Rs6,993.50 crore) from a clutch of investors led by South Africa’s Naspers. The round will also see participation from new investors Tencent, Hillhouse Capital, and Wellington Management, and existing ones such as DST Global, Meituan Dianping, and Coatue Management.
Swiggy has till now raised up to $1.26 billion, including this latest round, it said.
“As India’s appetite for online food ordering grows, Swiggy will use the funds to bring more quality food brands closer to consumers and address gaps in supply,” the company said in a press release. “Additionally, Swiggy will use the capital to hire top-notch talent, especially for machine learning and engineering roles across mid and senior levels.”
The funds will also help Swiggy focus on building a next-generation artificial intelligence-driven platform for hyperlocal discovery and on-demand delivery, it said.
Founded in 2014 by Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) alumni Sriharsha Majety and Nandan Reddy, and IIT-Kharagpur graduate Rahul Jaimini, Swiggy became one of the fastest Indian startups to turn unicorn—India’s 11th—earlier this year.
In June, it raised $210 million in a round that valued the company at over $1 billion.
“Since the last funding round six months ago, Swiggy has expanded to 42 additional cities and doubled in gross merchandise value,” the company release said. The company now has over 50,000 restaurant listed on its platform across more than 50 cities.
Swiggy is also reportedly looking to launch its business overseas, beginning with Dubai and Jakarta in 2019.
“We first partnered with Swiggy in April 2017 because we recognised the Swiggy team had built a sustainable, long-term business, that stood out amongst others in India. Now, nearly two years later, we have even more confidence Swiggy has the winning formula,” Larry Illg, CEO for food and ventures at Naspers, said in a statement. “Swiggy has 10x the number of orders per month since our first investment, (and) has expanded throughout India to tier 1, 2 and 3 cities.”
Swiggy’s successful funding round comes at a stage when there is no clear brand loyalty with either Zomato or Swiggy, according to industry experts.
“There is still a window to capture the market and Swiggy’s move to secure such huge funding at this juncture is very strategic,” Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO of Greyhound Research told Quartz. “Swiggy can gather crucial learnings from Naspers.”