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How Dotcom Survivors Built a $950 Million Startup in India

Bigbasket is the nation’s largest e-grocer and recently raised $300 million in a round led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Packages of chopped mushrooms sit at a warehouse of Bigbasket, operated by Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt and owned by Innovative Retail Concepts Pvt, in Bengaluru, India, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Bangalore-based Bigbasket delivers everyday cooking essentials like ghee (clarified butter), diced coconut and fragrant basmati rice, as well as 18,000 other items from bread to laundry detergent to eight million customers in 25 Indian cities.
Photographer: Samyukta Lakshmi/Bloomberg
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Tech startups are typically founded by young entrepreneurs with more passion than experience. This is as true in India as it is in Silicon Valley. Then there’s Bigbasket, whose founders are veterans of the dotcom bust and mostly north of 50. Drawing on their successes and failures, they’ve turned their six-year-old startup into India’s biggest e-grocer and are taking on a host of competitors, including Amazon and brick-and-mortar chains operated by the nation’s biggest conglomerates. 

Bangalore-based Bigbasket delivers everyday cooking essentials like ghee (clarified butter), diced coconut and fragrant basmati rice, as well as 18,000 other items from bread to laundry detergent to eight million customers in 25 Indian cities. It’s mostly targeting upwardly mobile young Indians keen to avoid traffic and the drudgery of supermarket runs. Last month, Bigbasket raised $300 million in an Alibaba-led round that valued the grocer at $950 million—just shy of unicorn status.