Meet Swiggy, India’s New Unicorn with Chinese blood

India’s food-delivery startup Swiggy announced yesterday that it had grabbed $210 million for its newest Series G funding, valuing the startup at $1.2 billion and making it the newest entrant of India’s unicorn club. (Side note: unicorn is a term coined for privately held start up valued at $1 billion or more).

South Africa’s internet and entertainment group Naspers and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s venture capital firm DST Global led the newest round. Other participants include Meituan-Dianping, Chinese food delivery and review giant, as an existing backer and Hong Kong-based DST Global and Coatue Management, a technology sector hedge fund, brought on board as new investors. Meituan-Dianping is reportedly gearing up for a $6 billion blockbuster stock market debut in Hong Kong this month, targeting a valuation of roughly $60 billion, according to Bloomberg’s earlier report.

Swiggy Website

“With this investment, we will continue to widen Swiggy’s offerings, along with bolstering our capabilities and plugging the gaps in the on-demand delivery ecosystem,” said Sriharsha Majety, CEO of the Bangalore-based high-flying startup. Founded in 2014, Swiggy claims to have over 35,000 restaurants and a delivery fleet of over 40,000 partners spreading across 15 cities to date. The company has till now raised a total of $465 million through seven rounds of funding.

This comes four months after Swiggy announced it had scooped a $100 million Series F fund-raise from Meituan-Dianping and Naspers in February.


Naspers is Africa’s largest company by market value and largest shareholder (owns 31.2% stake) of fast-growing Tencent Holdings, China’s tech behemoth and the creator of Wechat. Naspers has been known for investing in media and technology business worldwide with particular interest in online retails such as food delivery. In addition to Swiggy, Naspers has expanded its food delivery portfolio by investing in companies with leading businesses in 40 countries around the world.

Swiggy’s cut-throat rival in India’s food delivery business, Zomato, also a food-tech startup, is in talks to raise $400 million, largely from Alibaba’ Ant Financial, its existing backer, and is seeking a valuation of as much as $2 billion. Zomato now operates in 23 countries and achieved $49 million in revenues in fiscal year of 2017, a growth of 80 per cent over 2016, acording to its annual report.

As to the market share, Swiggy leads in Indian food delivery business with about 11 million monthly orders followed by Zomato about 7 million across India and UAE.


Other rivals include UberEats and FoodPanda that is acquired by the country’s largest ride-hailing platform Ola backed by Chinese internet behemoth Tencent — With Alibaba, Meituan and Tencent backing Zomato, Swiggy and Ola, Chinese investors seem poised to draw yet another food-delivery success in India.