Is BigBasket a unicorn?

BigBasket has gained its name in every Indian household by delivering fresh fruits, vegetables, and other grocery items. They began their journey as a tech start-up company in October 2011.

The five dot com bubble survivors made their way to a unicorn through this startup. Those five individuals included Hari Menon, Abhinay Choudhari, Vipul Parekh, VS Sudhakar, and VS Ramesh. However, the current Big Basket owneris TATA Group, which acquired the majority stake in 2021. 

The journey of growth in this venture has brought a revolution in the buying habits of Indian residents.

After multiple rounds of fund-raising and immense work on identifying the right strategy, it has made a mark in the group of Indian start-ups. 

If you are curious to know more about this venture in detail, keep reading.

This blog shares how it has established its presence in the Indian online grocery shopping space. 

What is a Unicorn, and When Did Big Basket Become One? 

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When a privately held startup reaches a value of over $1 billion, it is termed a Unicorn. Capitalist Aileen Lee introduced this term in 2013 to identify unique companies and stand out from the crowd.

Reaching this level requires immense dedication, a powerful vision, and a business strategy. Implementing the strategies and the business plan innovatively leads to a successful business. 

India has experienced 108 unicorns as of 31st May 2023, and the valuation sums up to $340.80 billion. BigBasket, being one of the contributors, entered the list in 2019 by raising over $1 billion.

Collective funding from Mirae Asset Global Investments, CDC Group, and Alibaba Group of $150 million helped BigBasket enter the list of unicorns. 

How Did Big Basket Become a Unicorn?

How Did Big Basket Become a Unicorn?

BigBasket began as an online platform offering a wide range of products to its customers. It currently sells over 10,000 brands and 18,000 varieties of products. The journey of BigBasket began with the just-in-time model.

They did not have a storage of inventory. The products were picked from the retailer as and when they got the order. No storage of perishable or non-perishable goods was practiced. 

With a growing customer base and several products to be delivered, they shifted to the inventory model. Under this model, the company purchased all the products beforehand and stored them in the warehouses.

The products are sourced from P&G, HUL, local farmers, and manufacturers. For delivery, they also acquired a delivery entity, ‘Delyver’. This acquisition made their delivery more quick and effective. 

The Fund Raising Journey

The Fund Raising Journey

The growth of BigBasket has been consistent and quick. It provided the most necessary items to the population of India at a reasonable rate. At the time during which they began, people were being introduced to online shopping for groceries.

There was a lot of hesitation and questions in people’s minds about the quality and prices. However, the way they managed to enter and establish their presence in the market is worth a case study. 

In 2014, the company raised funds of around $10 million and expanded its presence in three major cities in India. Their expanding business gave investors the courage to trust and take calculated risks. Soon, they began getting 5,000 orders daily.

Again, in March 2016, they raised $150 million from Arbaz Capital in series D funding. Till then, the total customer count had reached 10 million. 

In 2017, another fund of $290 million was raised in different funding rounds. Some of the main investors included Paytm, Alibaba, Bessemer Ventures, Helion, Zodius, Lion Rock Capital, and Meena Ganesh.

The Series F funding in 2019 brought BigBasket to the Unicorn List. In 20 different rounds of funding, they have raised $1.5 billion over the years of operating. 

In May 2021, Tata Digital Limited, a unit of Tata Sons, acquired 64% of the BigBasket. This made the Tata Group owner of this company. The current valuation of the company stands at $3.2 billion, with Tata Group as the parent company. With their headquarters in Bengaluru, they are operating all over India. 

Surviving in The Competition After Becoming the Unicorn

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Being a unicorn comes with a lot of responsibilities and expectations from the customers. Maintaining a specific level of quality at the most reasonable prices is what they are known for.

With growing markets, various competitors continuously challenge their presence. They face cut-throat competition from Blinkit, amazon, swiggy, zomato, Reliance Fresh, and other such delivery platforms. 

With the management of Tata Group, this unicorn is now thriving and strengthening its presence despite the competition. However, there is no denial about the strong presence of their competitors either. The increasing customer base and consistency in the best services are what keep the company going. 

What are the Expectations from This Unicorn in The Future?

With its immense growth in these many years, the next target for the company can be to enter the decacorn list as well. They have recently launched ‘Fresho’ stores.

The one-of-a-kind offline retail store in Bengaluru intends to target customers who have not yet shifted to online shopping. 

With self-billing counters, these stores are designed to make grocery shopping extremely easy. BigBasket has set a high-growth trajectory in the last 12 years. The future will bring a business plan merged with AI and new technology.

‘Fresho’ is the next big step for this Unicorn to conquer online and offline space for grocery shopping.