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Zomato Ltd plans to invest $1 billion in startups over the next two years, founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal said on Wednesday, even as the food delivery company’s loss widened on higher customer acquisition costs.

The planned investment would be in addition to the $275 million Zomato spent across four companies in the past six months. This includes a $100 million investment in hyperlocal grocery delivery service Grofers.

“We plan to deploy another $1 billion over the next 1-2 years, with a large chunk of it likely to go into the quick-commerce space," Goyal wrote in a company blog post.

The food delivery startup has agreed to spend $75 million for an 8% stake in Bigfoot Retail Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs business-to-business (B2B) logistics technology player Shiprocket. The investment would be part of Shiprocket’s $185 million funding round.

Zomato will also invest $50 million in Samast Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates hyperlocal discovery platform Magicpin.

Meanwhile, Zomato has divested sports discovery startup Fitso to fitness firm Curefit for $50 million for an equity stake in the latter. Zomato will also invest $50 million to pick up a cumulative 6.4% stake worth $100 million in Curefit.

The investment would be made at a valuation of $1.5 billion, making Curefit the 36th Indian startup to enter the unicorn club this year. This is the second startup unicorn Zomato would create with its investment after Grofers. Unicorns are privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more.

“We believe the food delivery market in India is still nascent, and there is an opportunity to grow the market at least 10 times over the next few years. In order to make this happen, we are going to continue investing heavily in market creation, in addition to investing in ecosystem companies around our food delivery business so that the cost of running a better food delivery business goes down with time," Goyal said on Zomato’s move to invest in startups in complementary business areas.

“We are currently in talks with various restaurant point-of-sale (POS) players, e-vehicle fleet operators, among others, to evaluate investments in these companies, keeping the long term in mind," he said.

Zomato’s investments come when it has shuttered the grocery and nutraceutical verticals to focus on its core food delivery business. On Wednesday, the company said it will close its subsidiary in Lebanon, its only remaining international business. It also has dining-out operations in the UAE.

Goyal said customer traffic on its platform in India rose to 59 million average monthly active users in the September quarter from 45 million in the June quarter.

Consolidated revenue grew 22.6% to 1,420 crore from 1,160 crore during the period. However, consolidated loss widened to 430 crore from 356 crore.

“This (loss) was due to investments in the growth of our food delivery business. Three reasons to be specific—increased spending on branding and marketing for customer acquisition, increased investments and growing share of smaller/emerging geographies in our business (which are less profitable today compared to more mature cities), and increased delivery costs due to unpredictable weather and increase in fuel prices," Goyal said in the blog.

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