Walmart-owned e-commerce platform Flipkart has led a $60 million investment in Shadowfax, which offers an on-demand, last-mile logistics network.
The Series D funding round also saw the participation of Eight Roads Ventures, NGP Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Mirae Asset Naver Fund, and the World Bank-backed International Finance Corp.
“We have seen strong synergies with Shadowfax through our existing engagement with them, and their investments in tech-enabled innovations will help us significantly reduce delivery time and provide superior customer experiences across product categories. By leveraging kirana stores and the deep delivery capabilities of Shadowfax and other Flipkart-led innovations, we are building a strong foundation to make inroads into a dynamic hyperlocal consumer market," said Flipkart chief executive officer (CEO) Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
Flipkart has an existing partnership with Shadowfax for logistics across various categories for its e-commerce business. It is working towards bringing kirana stores into the e-commerce fold by enabling them to be a part of this offering, it said. Its hyperlocal approach aims to place inventory closer to customers, leveraging existing investments of space and working capital of kirana stores to accelerate delivery timelines.
Shadowfax, which was founded in 2015, enables delivery of 10 million monthly shipments across diverse segments, ranging from hot food to grocery to fashion and electronics. Its clients include a slew of e-commerce firms such as Swiggy, Amazon, Paytm, Snapdeal, and BigBasket.
“We aim to grow 10x in the next four years and take the company public. The growth has been fantastic in the last two years. We also plan to invest in backward integration and build automated warehouses, taking the six warehouses we have now to 10. It will also enable us to innovate with the largest online platform in India and build core capabilities that can be democratized for the larger logistics ecosystem," said Abhishek Bansal, CEO, Shadowfax, in a telephonic interview.
Shadowfax aims to creating a million micro-entrepreneurs in the next five years, Bansal said.
It also plans to use the funds to enhance tech capabilities, recruit talent, increase the number of shipments to 100 million a month and expand its geographical presence to 1,000 Indian cities.
Flipkart’s revenue grew 42% to over $6 billion ( ₹42,878 crore) in the year ended 31 March 2019, compared with ₹30,164 crore ($4.2 billion) in the previous fiscal year, according to the annual financial statement filed by its Singapore holding firm in November.