Agritech start-up Ninjacart, which racked up $100 million (Rs 700 crore) from Tiger Global Management last week, has held discussions with multiple supermarket chains to be their supplier for fresh fruits and vegetables (F&V) as it looks at new customer segments for growth. There are on-going pilots with Future Group’s Big Bazaar in Chennai and Nilgiris Supermarket in Bengaluru, Ninjacart Co-founder Vasudevan Chinnathambi said.
Ninjacart, the biggest in its category, operates supply chain network that delivers fresh farm produce in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune in 12 hours. The company is also setting up its network in Delhi-NCR. Currently, Ninjacart supplies about 600 tonnes of F&V a day in these regions.
“Around 120 collection centres across India allow us to source the best quality of fruits and vegetables at a better price than the market rate and that is where some of the supermarket chains see value,” said Vasu, as he is commonly known.
According to Vasu, Ninjacart wants to focus on small vendors, mom-and-pop stores and unorganised provision stores — a segment it currently caters to and where the efficiency of its model lies. Ninjacart has 20,000 customers, including restaurants.
The company is also exploring new category lines like rice and pulses — food items that have longer shelf life — and dairy products. However, the strategy is still being chalked out. The latest fundraising comes as one of the biggest solo cheque in the recent past by Tiger, which has stepped up the pace of investments in India. In the past six months, Tiger has invested in CleverTap, Fyle and Facilio, among others.
The deal has made Ninjacart the top-funded Indian start-up operating in agri-tech space. The fresh funds also make for an ample runway for Ninjacart to install its agri supply chain network throughout the country.
“In the past three years, we have built a template for the business which is creating value for all stakeholders,” said Kartheeswaran K K, chief operating officer and one of the six co-founders of Ninjacart. “Our focus is how we can take this to 1 million farmers in 10-15 cities across India and make it into an alternative supply chain for fruits and vegetables,” he said, adding that their goal is to supply 2,000 tonnes of F&V by the end of this financial year.
Ninjacart was launched in 2015 by a group of product managers at Taxiforsure, led by Thirukumaran Nagarajan. After scaling the business in Bengaluru in the first two years, it launched in Chennai and Hyderabad.