Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group (LCIG), the venture capital arm of popular electronics brand Lenovo, is foraying into India with an investment in Gurgaon-based Aaidea Solutions, the company behind micro-delivery service Milkbasket, a source aware of the development told e27.
A few of Milkbasket’s existing backers, in addition to new investor Blume Ventures, are also likely to co-invest in this pre-Series A round. As per the person mentioned above, some of its previous investors are likely to part-exit the company.
When contacted, Milkbasket Co-founder and CEO Anant Goel confirmed that the startup is in the final stages of securing a financing round, but declined to share the names of investors. Goel said Milkbasket intends to use the capital to expand in Gurgaon, grow its consumer base, acquire new consumers, as well as to increase sales volume.
Milkbasket has earlier raised two rounds of funding — one in March last year and the other in December — from investors, including Empower Investment, Hofan Capital, Draphant, Peter Zou (CEO, YeahMobi), Vinay Bansal (ex-CFO, Wildcraft), Vikas Chauhan of 1mg, Deepak Jain of Bain & Co, and a few select Milkbasket customers.
Also Read: Indian e-grocer BigBasket raises US$7M in debt funding from Trifecta to set up new warehouses
Milkbasket was launched in early 2015 by INSEAD alumnus Goel, with friends Ashish Goel, Anurag Jain and Yatish Talvadia. Started off as a fresh milk home-delivery service, Milkbasket later added over 5,000 grocery items. It now fulfils over 5,000 orders a day in pre-select areas in Gurgaon.
In order to enable frequent and frictionless buying, Milkbasket has introduced a 1-click ordering and contactless delivery. One can place orders till midnight. The company’s delivery team will place the orders at the consumer’s doorstep at around 7:00 am.
The delivery is free and available 7-day a week. With a combination of hybrid inventory and clustered last-mile logistics (akin to existing newspaper distribution), Milkbasket claims to have reduced its operating costs.
Goel claims Milkbasket is world’s first pre-paid e-commerce. “We are working like a mobile phone. Once you put money in our wallet, you can start placing orders. If you don’t have money, you cannot place orders. Consumers can also top up their wallet with any pre-defined amount. They can also request a cash collection.
Milkbasket is also on Android and iOS platforms, besides on the web.
According to Geol, over the last two years, the firm has completed 1.5 million orders. With 100 per cent of logistics in-house, Milkbasket controls the entire life-cycle of the order, originating from its hybrid sourcing model to the customer’s doorstep drop-off before 7:00am.
Hybrid sourcing is the unique way in which the startup uses statistical forecasting to determine which products to keep in stock and which to source on demand through a hyper local approach.
When asked if the startup is looking to expand beyond Gurgaon, Goel said that the city itself is a billion dollar-plus grocery market. “We are barely scratching the surface. We would like to achieve at least 50,000 daily orders here before launching in other cities.”
While there are quite a few grocery delivery companies including multi-million dollar BigBasket and Grofers, none of them are laser-focused on micro-delivery of grocery.
Launched in May 2016, LCIG aims to integrate its global resources, enhance its Internet services and intelligence ecosystem via investments and foster innovation within and outside of Lenovo. LCIG invests in core-technology and Internet related areas globally, investing US$500 million initially in projects through the Lenovo Capital Phase II Investment Fund, which will focus on areas including cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, robotic and Internet services.
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