SoftBank Spearheads $413 Million Investment In Indian Logistics Unicorn

Indian logistics startup Delhivery has raised $413 million from a group of investors led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund as it moves to expand its e-commerce services.

Existing investors Carlyle Group of the U.S. and Fosun International of China also took part in the latest funding round, which valued the company at more than $1.5 billion — making it a so-called unicorn, or a privately held company valued at more than $1 billion. A breakdown of the investments has not been disclosed.

Founded in 2011, Delhivery serves more than 1,800 cities across India and over 10,000 customers, including 500 big companies. The company has expanded by opening a slew of logistics centers in a country with an underdeveloped distribution network. E-commerce orders have been flooding into its automated delivery centers.

“We will be scaling up our newer warehousing and freight services through large investments in infrastructure and technology and global partnerships,” said CEO and co-founder Sahil Barua. The company plans to expand its delivery area by more than 30%.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has previously focused on information technology companies, but the latest investment marks a broadening of scope. The fund recently opened an office in Mumbai as part of plans to ramp up investment in Indian startups. The fund’s other Indian investments include budget hotel operator Oyo Hotels and the Paytm electronic payment service, which is backed by China’s Alibaba Group Holding. The fund also invested in e-commerce company Flipkart but sold its stake to U.S. retailer Walmart.

The Indian online shopping market has nearly tripled from 2015 to around $34.2 billion in 2018, according to U.K.-based Euromonitor International. It is expected to reach more than $85 billion in 2023.―Nikkei Asian Review

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