China’s Tencent has held discussions with a host of investors to raise $500-700 million for online food delivery service provider Swiggy, the biggest cheque in India’s food-technology sector, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday.
The financial daily said the fresh investment, if finalised by December, will be its third fundraise this year and could value Swiggy at $2.5-3 billion. The firm has raised $310 million so far this year, with its previous fundraise in June propelling it into the unicorn club with a valuation of $1.3 billion.
The newspaper quoted an unnamed person familiar with the talks as saying the “talks are yet to take definite shape and will take another three-four weeks to crystallise”. South African Internet and entertainment group Naspers is likely to invest $200-250 million and Tencent—which owns multi-purpose messaging app WeChat—wants to contribute a significant portion of the new funding.
Existing investors Naspers, China’s Meituan Dianping, U.S.-based hedge fund Coatue Management, and Russia’s DST Global, too, are expected to participate in Swiggy’s latest fundraising, the paper reported. It added the other suitors include growth equity firm General Atlantic and Chinese hedge funds Tybourne Capital and Hillhouse Capital.
Swiggy was founded in August 2014 by IIM Calcutta and BITS Pilani alumnus Sriharsha Majety, his BITS-Pilani college mate Nandan Reddy, and IIT-Kharagpur graduate Rahul Jaimini. They were a part of Fortune India’s 40 under 40. Since then, Swiggy has expanded its footprint to 15 cities and partnered with 35,000 restaurants. To ramp up its game, it also acquired food startup 48East last year.
The online food delivery and ordering segment is becoming more competitive in India. Earlier this year, Ant Financial—an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group—invested $150 million in Zomato, valuing the Indian food search and delivery service at more than $1 billion, according to media reports.
In 2017, the food-tech industry witnessed a growth of over 15%. The sector is expected to touch at least $2.5 billion by 2021 from its current size of about $700 million, according to a report by consultancy firm RedSeer Management.