India’s Milkbasket in talks to raise over $50M – gpgmail


Milkbasket, a Gurugram-based micro-delivery startup, is in talks to close a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprints in milk, groceries, fruits, and vegetables delivery market that has attracted the attention of many in recent months including Amazon India.

The four-year-old startup is in advanced stages of talks with private equity funds to raise more than $50 million, up from $26 million it has secured to date, people familiar with the matter told gpgmail. The round, Series C, is likely to close within the next two months, they said. A Milkbasket spokesperson declined to comment.

Milkbasket, which operates in Bangalore, Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad, and Hyderabad, allows users to order their daily supplies until midnight and delivers it in the early morning hours. It has also started a subscription service for users who need the same set of items delivered to them everyday.

In a recent interview with Indian newspaper Economic Times (paywalled), the startup executives said they are not trying to get items instantly to customers but focus on recurring supplies that need to reach people’s doorsteps at certain hours of the day, thereby mimicking how a traditional milkman and paperboy operate to lower delivery costs.

The startup, which focused on just delivering milk in its early years, is increasingly exploring new categories to enter, and might soon begin delivering prescribed medicine in some cities, one of the people said. Milk delivery is now a small portion of the startup’s business.

It competes with BigBasket and Grofers, both of which are heavily backed and locked in a fierce battle to gain market share. Many more startups are entering micro-delivery territory. Naspers and Tencent-backed Swiggy launched a new service called “Go” yesterday that will enable people in Bangalore to have anything delivered to them.

Google-backed Dunzo is also increasingly gaining popularity and slowly expanding to more cities across India. FreshToHome, a startup that delivers meat and vegetables, recently started to offer milk delivery in select places.

Last month, Amazon launched Fresh to offer fresh fruits and vegetables in parts of Bangalore. The company is increasingly expanding its fulfilment centers across the nation to offer its customers a wider selection of items, Siddharth Nambiar, Director of Prime Now in India, told gpgmail in a recent interview.

The foods and grocery market is growing in India. According to some estimates, it will reach $869 billion in sales in 2023, with digital-based services seen as an important vector for growth.


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Why Walmart’s Flipkart is betting heavily on Hindi – gpgmail


To win India’s next 200 million internet users, e-commerce giant Flipkart wants to speak their language

Flipkart, the largest e-commerce platform in India, said Tuesday it has concluded the roll-out of a range of features to its shopping app in what is its biggest update in recent years.

Chief among these new features is access to Flipkart in Hindi language. Prior to the revamp of the app, Flipkart was available only in English, a language spoken by 10% of India’s 1.3 billion population.

Flipkart says it is hoping that the new features, which includes a video streaming service, would help it reach the next 200 million users in India.

The major bet on Hindi, a language spoken by more than 500 million people in India, illustrates a growing push from local and international companies operating in the country as they adapt their services and business models to go beyond the urban cities.

And that’s where much of the opportunity, which countless startups and companies have trumpeted to investors to successfully raise hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and venture capital in recent years, lies in the nation.


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India’s Reliance to buy majority stake in Google-backed Fynd for $42.3M – gpgmail


Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries is acquiring 87.6% stake in Fynd, a seven-year-old Mumbai-based startup that connects brick and mortar retailers with online stores and consumers, for 2.95 billion Indian rupees ($42.33 million), the two said in a brief statement late Saturday.

Fynd, which was founded in 2012, helps offline retailers sell their products to consumers directly through its online store, and also enables them to connect with other “demand channels” such as third-party e-commerce platforms Amazon India and Walmart-owned Flipkart.

More than 600 brands including Nike, Raymond, Global Desi, and Being Human, and 9,000 stores are connected through Fynd’s platform, Harsh Shah, co-founder of Fynd, told gpgmail in an interview. Many brands also use Fynd’s products to ramp up sales on their own respective e-commerce businesses.

Since Fynd works directly with brands, it offers a wider selection of items and newer inventories to consumers, as well as faster delivery, Shah claimed.

Fynd’s website

Reliance Industries, the largest industrial house in the nation that owns the country’s biggest physical retail chain Reliance Retail, has been a customer of Fynd for more than six years, Shah said. “Reliance runs a few major brands in the country. 25 of our existing brands are owned by them. Our Find Store product has helped their stores plug a lot of sales,” he said.

Fynd, which counts Google as one of its early investors, will continue to operate its existing business and has an option to secure an additional 1 billion India rupees ($14 million) by end of 2021 from Reliance Industries, Shah said. He declined to reveal how much capital his startup had raised prior to this week’s announcement. According to Crunchbase, the amount was about $7.3 million.

“Reliance is taking the majority stake in Fynd, but at the end of the day, for us it is like any other investor coming in. We will still continue to work separately, we have our own independent roadmap, and we have own clients and products that we plan to grow. So things continue as it is,” he said.

Fynd, which takes a small commission on each transaction that occurs online, is already profitable on an operating level and expects to be fully profitable in the coming quarters, Shah said.

It will continue to build and scale its existing products, including OpenAPI that allows merchants to quickly list their products on either their own stores or third-party sites and manage their inventories and sales.

Despite tens of billions of dollars of investment in India’s e-commerce market in recent years by Amazon India and Flipkart, physical retail dominates much of the sales in the country. But e-commerce businesses are growing, too.

The nation’s e-commerce space is estimated to scale to $84 billion by 2021, up from $24 billion in 2017; compared to India’s overall retail market that is estimated to be worth $1.2 trillion by 2021, according to a recent study by Deloitte India and Retail Association of India.

Reliance Industries, run by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani (pictured above), additionally has its own plan to enter the e-commerce business in what could eventually become the biggest headache for Amazon since entering the nation more than six years ago. Earlier this year, Ambani announced that his telecom operator Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail are working on an e-commerce platform.

Reliance Jio, which began its commercial operations in the second half of 2016, recently became the nation’s biggest telecom operator with more than 331 million subscribers at the end of June.

Separately, Amazon.com is in talks with Reliance Industries to buy more than a quarter stake in Reliance Retail, a person familiar with the matter told gpgmail. News outlets Reuters and Economic Times were the first to report this development.


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