Bengaluru-based B2B agricultural technology startup Ninjacart has raised INR 250 crores in Series B funding round from Accel US, Jo Hirao, Founder of ZIGExN, HR Capital, Neoplux, Syngenta Ventures and Trifecta Capital. Existing investors Nandan Nilekani, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures and Accel India also participated in the funding round.
RainMaker Group acted as the financial advisor to Ninjacart for the funding round. Ninjacart has raised $1 million in debt funding from Trifecta Capital last year. Earlier it has also raised INR 27 crores ($5.5 million) from Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures, M&S Partners and Accel Partners. With the latest development, the total funding of Ninjacart stands at INR 350 crores.
The startup plans to utilize the freshly raised capital to expand its operations to more locations as well as strengthen its technology. Furthermore, it plans to invest in its product and building a strong and robust supply chain system. It will foray its footprints to 10 Indian cities and launch to over 200 distribution centres across the country. Ninjacart will also scale its hiring efforts to build a robust team.
Speaking of the fundraiser, Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Founder, Ninjacart, says, “One of the keys focuses for the fundraising 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 by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Vasudevan Chinnathambi, Sharath Loganathan, Ashutosh Vikram and Kartheeswaran KK in 2015, Ninjacart expands over a network of 3,000 farmers and 4,000 retailers. The startup claims to procure fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers and deliver it to the 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.”
The firm was initially launched as a hyperlocal delivery platform in December 2015. Since its inception, the company has significantly modified its business model to become a B2B agricultural produce marketplace. The company now helps supermarkets and standalone shops to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, FMCG products as well as cereals and stapes at competitive prices.
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 vegetable 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.”
Indian has witnessed a fast growth rate of agritech startups. And it is not surprising because India is an agricultural-first economy and agriculture contributes 22 per cent to India’s GDP. The sector lacks behind in technology and advancement and thus, there are gaps to be filled. According to an IBEF report, multiple players have invested significant amounts in the agritech sector, supported by the government’s initiatives.
Earlier in March this year, Gramophone, an Indore-based agritech startup raised $1 million in pre-series A round from Info Edge. CropIn, another agritech startup raised $8 million from Chiratae Ventures last month. In the same month, Agrostar raised funds from Aavishkaar. Other players like BigHaat has also made significant developments over the last few years in the agritech space.
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. Agritech space is therefore ripe for technological disruption. The more the startups, the better it is for space at large. The fruits and vegetable market alone is worth $200 billion and we all still have a long way to go.”
As per Inc42 Datalabs, the agricultural activities in India witnessed a 100 per cent growth between 2014 and 2015. The exports increased from $24 billion in 2011-2012 to $30 billion in 2015-2016 accounting to a CAGR of more than 6.75 per cent. According to a report by Accenture, the digital agricultural services market will touch $4.55 billion marks by 2020 which points out the ample scope and future of agritech startups in India.