Amazon in talks with NinjaCart for potential investment

Amazon Pantry is Amazon India’s platform to sell grocery and fresh foods in Indian online retail space. Better big on this space, the US giant has invested $500 million in a separate venture for this to comply with the Indian laws on FDI on food retail etc. Now, there are unconfirmed reports of Amazon taking an interest in an Indian startup in the fresh vegetables and fruits category, NinjaCart.

Bengaluru-headquartered NinjaCart is said to be in discussions with another American entity, Tiger Global Management, for a possible infusion of $100 million as a fresh funding exercise. It is when these talks are progressing that Amazon has put in its pitch, the sources have told Economic Times. Last heard, NinjaCart had been funded by SteadView Capital though the amount invested is not known. There may be other online retailers keen to take a position in NinjaCart but none of that is in the public domain.

Both Amazon and NinjaCart have declined to comment on the development, as it usually happens. As mentioned, Amazon is already selling groceries on its platform. It is the fresh foods category that the online retailer is still to plunge into. Handling fresh foods comes with many challenges both on the supply chain end as well as the storage and last mile delivery operations.

Startups BigBasket and Udaan are already in the fresh foods segment, apart from many localized online retail fresh foods operators.

NinjaCart has around half a dozen co-founders and one of them is the CEO, Thirukumaran Nagarajan and equal number of investors. The key investors are Accel Partners US and Accel Partners India, Qualcomm Ventures, Trifecta Capital, NRJN Trust – (the investment entity set up by Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani and wife Rohini), Jo Hirao, the founder of ZiGeXN, and Russian firm HR Capital.

NinjaCart has a B2B model aggregating fresh vegetables and fruits directly from some 170 villages and making delivery of 25,000 tonnes a month.

Food retailing is seen as having a massive future in the overall retail segment in the Indian context.