UKIBC Member CDC announces major investment in India’s Food and Drink industry

By Oliver Rice

The CDC Group have announced a $40m equity investment in Supermarket Grocery Supplied Pvt Ltd (SGSPL), owner of BigBasket - India’s largest online supermarket and wholesale grocer which deliver household needs to people’s doorstep across 28 cities.

The BigBasket brand is one of India’s newest ‘unicorns’ sourcing ethically and directly from over 3,000 local Indian farmers and employing thousands of people in the process. This makes it a promising investment for the CDC Group whose deal has already seen BigBasket’s valuation rise to $1.2 billion.

CDC are the UK’s development finance institution who pioneer support for businesses creating jobs and investment throughout Africa and South Asia. Though this is the first time CDC has invested in an Indian startup, it has invested over $1.3 billion in India over almost three decades.

CDC’s capital investment will help SGSPL increase their impact in the communities it operates in whilst driving further growth in its core business. This is important for supporting job creation across SGSPL’s supply chain, with a focus on the employment of disadvantaged communities.

SGSPL actively support the economic empowerment of local supplier farmers, guaranteeing fair pricing as well as providing production and quality crop training. CDC’S capital will therefore directly contribute towards increasing the number smallholder farmers supplying Bigbasket, helping to boost local income and living standards.

Backing this high-growth brand with a sustainable and responsible approach to expansion goes to the heart of CDC’s investment strategy. CDC are proud to support a business that provides a direct route to market for smallholder farmers, as well as contributes to large-scale employment in India.

India’s online grocery market is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, fuelled by demand from users attracted to the ease and speed of technology-enabled services. Founded in 2011, SGSPL is headquartered in Bengaluru and its market leading technology platform will help the business deepen penetration and continue to upgrade the user experience.

Srini Nagarajan, Managing Director and Head of Asia at CDC India Advisers, said:

“Key to CDC’s investment approach is creating a meaningful difference in people’s lives. This is done by backing businesses that fuel job creation to support economic empowerment within communities. This is the reason behind CDC’s investment in SGSPL and brand BigBasket. The business’s innovative model progressively addresses these topics, increasing its rate of employment and positively impacting people’s lives such as its network local supplier farmers and workers. CDC and SGSPL will also jointly look into climate friendly initiatives such as implementing sustainable farming techniques.”

UKIBC congratulates CDC on their investment into the Indian food and drink industry, the full press release for which can be found here.

Food and Drink is an important sector for UK-India trade and investment and recently the UKIBC took leading UK food and drink brands to Delhi and Mumbai on a Trade Mission lead by the Chief Executive of the UK’s Food and Drink Federation, Ian Wright, to advocate for UK companies in this sector.

UKIBC works closely with business and Government stakeholders to advocate for greater trade in the food and drink market between the UK and India. For more information about our Food and Drink Strategy and how to get involved, read ‘Advocating Business Success in 2019’.


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