Amid growing competition and investor interest in India’s logistics sector, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is looking to invest $200 Mn-$250 Mn in ecommerce logistics startup Delhivery, which was earlier looking to launch its IPO (initial public offering).

According to sources familiar to the development, the funding will be led via the SoftBank Vision Fund at a post-money valuation of around $1.2 Bn, marking its entry into the much-coveted Unicorn club.

“They have been evaluating Delhivery seriously for the past few months but a transaction is not final yet,” said one of the sources.

An email query sent by Inc42 to Delhivery didn’t elicit any response till the time of publication of this report. A SoftBank spokesperson told Inc42 that the company doesn’t comment on speculation.

Earlier, reports had surfaced that the logistics startup had decided to push back plans for its anticipated $350-Mn IPO, which it had been working on for more than 18 months.

Inc42 in its Annual Indian Tech Startup Funding Report 2017 had listed Delhivery among the 34 startups that have the potential to become a unicorn before 2020. Companies such as Paytm Mall, Swiggy, OYO, PolicyBazaar, and Freshworks, which entered the unicorn club earlier this year, were also listed along with Delhivery.

Delhivery: The Last-Mile Of Ecommerce

The brainchild of Sahil Barua, Mohit Tandon, and Suraj Saharan, Delhivery was launched in 2011 with the aim of disrupting the logistics supply chain market in India.

Later, the trio was joined by Bhavesh Manglani and Kapil Bharati. The startup currently claims to service about 600 cities and 8,500 pin codes in India. It has 12 fulfilment centres for B2C and B2B services and works with ecommerce giants such as Flipkart and Paytm.

The company is backed by marquee investors like Carlyle Group, China’s Fosun Group, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Tiger Global, Renuka Ramnath-led Multiples Alternate Asset Management, Nexus Venture Partners, and Times Internet.

It has raised $257.6 Mn funding since its inception, with two major investments in 2017 — $100 Mn from Carlyle and Tiger Global and another $30 Mn from Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group. During its last fundraise, Delhivery was valued at $650 Mn.

In FY17, the company narrowed down its losses to $36.31 Mn (INR 249 Cr) from $54.10 Mn (INR 371 Cr) in FY16, while revenues rose to $109.52 Mn (INR 751 Cr) from $76.26 Mn (INR 523 Cr).

Logistics Market In India

The Indian logistics market, buoyed by the unprecedented rise of ecommerce in India, has been growing at a fast pace. Apart from Delhivery, there are startups such as BlackBuck, Rivigo, etc, who are offering tech-based logistics services in the country.

On Wednesday (October 3), B2B transportation solution provider GoBOLT announced a $5.46 Mn (INR 40 Cr) Series A funding round led by Aavishkaar Bharat Fund.

Here are a few interesting facts about the logistics industry in India:

  • According to a report by investment bank Avendus Capital, the logistics tech market is expected to surge to $9.6 Bn by 2020
  • Poised to touch $307 Bn by 2020, the logistics sector has been witnessing increasing investments and competition
  • Inc42 DataLabs revealed that the sector recorded 27 deals worth $475.83 Mn in 2017
  • In Q1 2018, the sector witnessed three deals worth $70.3 Mn according to Inc42 Tech Startup Funding Report Q1 2018

SoftBank has been making big bets in India, catapulting startups into the much-coveted unicorn club. It earlier made a $238 Mn investment in PolicyBazaar and a $1 Bn investment in hotel aggregator OYO, valuing each of them at over $ 1Bn. SoftBank’s latest bet, Delhivery, is part of the Japanese investor’s plan to make headroom in yet another key sector in the Indian startup ecosystem.

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