Ecommerce marketplace Flipkart and its US-based parent Walmart have jointly made their second investment — amounting to about $30 million — in fresh produce supply chain startup Ninjacart, a person in the know of the deal told ET.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, Flipkart and Walmart said that the investment would deepen their partnership with Ninjacart and would improve its offerings and enhance customer experience.
The investment comes at a time when the online grocery sector has seen massive growth due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The entry of Reliance Industries’ JioMart has also spurred competition in the e-grocery space.
“The e-grocery market in India has seen tremendous growth over the past several months,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO at Flipkart Group. “We will continue to make investments to offer the best produce to our customers and support livelihoods and sustainable growth for local farmers, producers and the supply chain ecosystem.”
Flipkart, which has been a laggard in the grocery segment compared to its main rival Amazon, is using Ninjacart’s supply of fresh produce to power its online grocery service Supermart and hyperlocal delivery service Flipkart Quick.
Walmart and Flipkart first backed Ninjacart in December last year, and has since then worked on a farm-to-fork pilot with the startup. During the lockdown at the end of March, Ninjacart started deliveries of fresh produce to apartment complexes, and also partnered with food delivery services to enable deliveries.
Ninjacart also launched FoodPrint, a platform that allows traceability of all products on its platform to improve safety.
“The fresh set of investments from Walmart and the Flipkart Group takes us one step closer to our vision of making food safe and accessible for the billion people and changing the way food reaches our plate,” said Thirukumaran Nagarajan, cofounder and CEO at Ninjacart.
The company said that it will utilise the fresh capital to expand into new markets and build new offerings for emerging customer segments. Flipkart and Walmart added that the deal is expected to be closed by the end of October 2020.