CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, said on Tuesday that it has invested $40 million in homegrown grocery delivery firm BigBasket.
The investment is part of a bigger round of $150 million that BigBasket is raising at a valuation of $1.2 billion, making it the latest entrant to India’s coveted unicorn club of startups.
The investment in Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt. Limited, which owns and operates BigBasket is along with an investment of about $60 million from Korea’s Mirae Global Asset Investments, another new investor as well as existing backer- China’s Alibaba investing $50 million, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), and media reports.
“We will help the organization support the economic empowerment of its local supplier farmers as it guarantees fair pricing and provides production and quality crop training,” CDC’s statement said. “Our capital will directly contribute to a substantial projected increase in smallholder farmers supplying the Bigbasket brand, thereby boosting local income creation and living standards,” it added.
The deal also marks CDC’s first deal in the Indian startup space. DC has invested over $1.3 billion in India since 1987. In the Indian renewable space, it has invested $25 million in IDFC Alternatives-backed clean energy firm Green Infra in November 2013. In April 2017, CDC announced an investment of up to $100 million to support the development of renewable energy projects in India.
Mint reported on December 13 last year that CDC had pledged $25 million to Consumer-focused, mid-market private equity (PE) firm Lighthouse Funds. CDC is one of the largest institutional investors in Indian PE funds with commitments of over $1.7 billion since 2004.
Srini Nagarajan, Managing Director and Head of Asia at CDC India Advisers, said “Key to CDC’s investment approach is creating a meaningful difference in people’s lives. This is done by backing businesses that fuel job creation to support economic empowerment within communities. This is the reason behind CDC’s investment in SGSPL and brand BigBasket”
BigBasket’s fundraise at a unicorn valuation was first reported by Mint on October 29 last year, and that it was looking to raise $300-400 million from existing and new investors.
The company last raised $300 million led by Alibaba in February last year. Sands Capital, International Finance Corp. and Dubai-based private equity investor Abraaj Capital participated in the round. The three investors had led BigBasket’s $150 million fund-raise in March 2016. Other investors in BigBasket include Helion Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Ascent Capital.
BigBasket’s fundraise also came after it stopped discussions of a merger with rival Grofers, which has separately raised $60 million in March this year from Japan’s Softbank Vision Fund.