Naspers leads funding in ‘unicorn’ Swiggy as India’s online food arena heats up

JOHANNESBURG — It’s incredible to watch how Naspers has gone from a traditional newspaper publisher to essentially a venture capital company that is spreading its money across the globe. The latest Series G investment in Swiggy, which has been led by Naspers, comes as the food delivery space in India heats up. A quick look at the Swiggy website reveals that the startup is a serious player in this space. And with Swiggy having notched up a valuation of over $1bn, it’s no wonder that the deal is grabbing tech headlines around the world, including in the much respected Silicon Valley-based tech site TechCrunch (read their story by clicking here). – Gareth van Zyl

By Saritha Rai

(Bloomberg) – Indian startup Swiggy has raised $210 million in a round led by South Africa’s Naspers Ltd. and investment house DST Global, setting a stage for a battle between well-funded players in the sizzling food-delivery sector.

The financing values the four-year-old startup at well over $1 billion, according to people familiar with the deal. That makes Swiggy the second unicorn to emerge from the segment, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private details, after New Delhi-based Zomato.

Swiggy, India, food delivery

Startups that specialise in delivering all-time favourites from paneer tikka to mutton biryani have snagged at least half a billion dollars in financing this year from some of the world’s largest internet investors and companies. Zomato received $150 million in February from billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial, while Swiggy’s latest round comes on the heels of a $100 million financing in February that was also led by Naspers.

Its valuation has jumped by over a third in the course of a few months, said one of the people familiar with the deal. New investors this time included DST and Coatue Management, joining existing backers Naspers and Meituan Dianping, the Chinese food-delivery juggernaut. The startup said it would use the funds to improve its supply chain and technology while expanding into new markets. Bangalore-headquartered Swiggy already lists 35,000 restaurants and 40,000 delivery people across 15 cities.

The revival of interest in online food ordering began last year when Uber Technologies Inc. introduced UberEATS across the country. That same year, domestic rival Ola acquired FoodPanda’s local operations and pledged $200 million to the unit. That’s a remarkable turnaround from just a couple of years ago, when investors around the globe wrote off the sector, drying up capital and forcing dozens of startups to shut.