EazyDiner, the restaurant discovery and reservation startup, has raised $ 4.6 million in a Series B funding round from new and existing investors. Singapore based early stage venture capital firm Beenext along with an undisclosed family office from the Middle East are the new investors in the startup. Apart from existing investors DSG Consumer Partners and Saama Capital, EazyDiner is also backed by Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh. A news daily reported, the company will be valued at Rs. 250 crores before the investment.
Speaking about the investment, CEO of EazyDiner Rohit Dasgupta said, “We will be focusing on improving our technology stack and expanding our footprints within and outside the country’s borders.” The company plans to expand to six more locations using the fresh funds by the end of the current fiscal year. A portion of the funds will also be used to expand their international reach to set up operations in Abu Dhabi by the third quarter of 2018.
The online restaurant and reservation platform was founded in late 2014 by various veterans of the hotel industry such as Vir Sanghvi, Sue Reitz, Sachin Pabreja, Shruti Kaul, Ruchika Dhamija and Manish Kutula. The platform allows users to book tables and offers an EazyDeal with every table booking in the form of a free glass of wine or popular desserts in some of the standalone restaurants and 5 star hotels. Currently, the app allows users to book reservations in eight Indian cities and in Dubai. The company claims to have around 53,000 restaurants listed on their app and close to 15 lakhs subscribers every month.
In July this year, EazyDiner raised an undisclosed amount from Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, via his venture fund YouWeCan. In August 2015 they raised $ 3 million in a funding round led by Saama Capital and existing investor DSG Consumer Partners. So far, EazyDiner has raised close to Rs. 51 crores from across various funding rounds.
Walmart To Invest In Flipkart. Should Amazon Be Worried?
The world’s biggest retailer, Walmart Stores Inc., is in talks to invest in homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart to acquire a minority stake. According to people close to the development, the deal could be finalized as soon as March this year.
The retailer has reportedly started advanced talks to buy a 15% to 20% stake in Amazon.com Inc’s main competitor. The Economic Times reported, Walmart’s Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon along with ecommerce CEO Marc Lore and future CEO and President Judith McKenna visited Flipkart’s Bengaluru office early last week.
Both Flipkart and Walmart declined to comment regarding the rumors stating, “As a policy, we don’t comment on market speculation.” Walmart spokesperson added, McMillon had been in the country to review its three units in the country.
This potential investment by the retail giant in Flipkart could mar Amazon’s expansion in India. On the global front, Amazon acquired the 400 store network of Whole Foods last year. In India, Amazon has invested close to $ 3 billion in Amazon Seller Services in line with Jeff Bezos’ commitment to invest $ 5 billion in the Indian retail industry.
Walmart’s investment in Flipkart combined with backing from SoftBank could provide the homegrown ecommerce firm the firepower to capture the majority of the market share. In September last year, Walmart completed the $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com following which the company further acquired 15 startups seeking talent and technology to make it a dominant online player as well.
Last year, Flipkart claimed to have a higher sale during the festive season sale, beating Amazon for the top spot. Although Amazon refuted the claim, Flipkart reported a 43% rise in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) for the six months quarter which ended on 30 September 2017. Amazon Inc., on the other hand, claims it is the second largest player in traffic, accounting for 58% traffic on personal computers, 129% on mobile web and has 52% more app downloads.
The Indian food retail industry has been gaining a lot of attention from international investors including Alibaba which is in talks to buy 40% stake in BigBasket. If Walmart’s investment in Flipkart goes through, the Indian ecommerce industry could see a significant change soon.
Amazon To Strengthen Amazon India With Another Investment
Amazon.com, the global ecommerce giant, is investing another $306 million in its Indian arm Amazon Seller Services Pvt., Ltd., as a continuation of its quick pace of investments in the country. According to filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC,) Amazon Inc., and its Singapore based division, Amazon Corporate Holdings Pvt., Ltd., made the investment in the Indian arm.
According to a news daily, this record capital will add more firepower to the Indian arm as retail giant accelerates efforts to race past larger domestic rival Flipkart. In 2017-2018, Amazon India has received Rs. 8,150 crores, or about $1.3 billion from its parent company. As per filings with the RoC filings, the latest capital infusion marks the fourth time Amazon has invested in India since Flipkart raised $ 4 billion from SoftBank last year.
In November last year, Amazon also invested Rs. 2,900 crores ($446 million) in its Indian unit, making it the single largest infusion into the country’s operations till date. Simultaneously, Amazon Seller Services also doubled its authorized share capital from Rs. 16,000 crores to Rs. 31,000 crores. Currently, the ecommerce firm claims to have over 250,000 registered sellers on its platform.
In 2015, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also committed to investing $ 5 billion in India towards acquiring new customers and growing market share. So far, the company has pumped in Rs. 19,790 crores, or about $3 billion, into Amazon Seller Services. Meanwhile, Amazon India’s subsidiaries Amazon Wholesale, Amazon Pay, Amazon Transport and Amazon Data Services have received a combined Rs. 2,868 crores since 2016. According to Indian corporate database Capitaline, Amazon is the second largest Indian company in terms of authorized capital, next to Reliance Jio at Rs. 61,000 crores.
The battle between homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart and Amazon India is only expected to intensify as both the companies turn towards the grocery retail industry. Recently, Amazon India established a beachhead with Amazon Pantry and hyper local delivery service Amazon Now. At the same time, Flipkart relaunched its grocery delivery service supermart and is expected to expand the services to six cities, outlining this as a major focus area.
Swiggy To Raise $ 200 Million From Naspers and Tencent
Swiggy, one of India’s fastest growing online food ordering and delivery platform, is reportedly in talks with venture capital firms Naspers and Tencent to raise $ 200 million. The Bengaluru based foodtech startup initiated the discussions with Chinese investment conglomerate Tencent and existing investor Naspers for a potential investment.
A news daily reported, South African Internet group Naspers will be leading this round of funding according to three people briefed on the matter. This move to raise fresh capital comes after the company ended independent funding discussions with SoftBank and Flipkart for a $ 200 million investment. The sources also added this deal could value Swiggy at $ 600- $ 650 million before the investment. In the last Series E funding round where Swiggy raised $ 80 million from Naspers, SAIF Partners and others, the company was valued at $ 400 million.
According to sources, China based venture firm Tencent has been looking to co invest in Swiggy along with SoftBank before those discussions came to an end. However, Tencent will now be forging a strategic partnership with Naspers to join the Swiggy bandwagon as a new investor. Sources also suggest Tencent proposed to increase their investment in the startup to around $ 100 million.
The India foodtech industry is considered to be a very lucrative sector. In November last year, Swiggy was also reported to be in talks with rival restaurant discovery and food delivery rival Zomato for a stock based merger. However, Swiggy later denied all rumors stating the company would not like to comment on baseless speculations. Swiggy was launched in 2014 by Sriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy, and Rahul Jaimini and since then the company grew fastest in terms of revenue. For the financial year 2016 – 2017 Swiggy’s revenue grew by six times to $ 20.6 million as losses increased by 50%. In the past three years, the foodtech firm has also managed to raise close to $155 million in equity and $8 million in debt.
After the entry of global taxi hailing startup Uber launched their food delivery service UberEATS in India, Ola also recently acquired food delivery startup Foodpanda to enter the foodtech industry.
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