Chaldal, app-based grocery delivery pioneer in the country, has secured a funding of $10 million in Series C, the third stage of startups' growth financing, reports the TechCrunch.
The money equal to around Tk85 crore would be utilised in Chaldal's infrastructure and market expansion, its co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Waseem Alim told the foreign media outlet.
"Before Chaldal our customers had limited access to fresh groceries and didn't have an opportunity to buy them from a single place – and definitely not online", says Waseem Alim, CEO of Chaldal. "Having our own inventory combined with our technology platform allowed us to have real-time availability and deliver orders in the shortest amount of time possible."
Founded in 2013, much before online shopping became trendy in the country, Chaldal is the first grocery delivery startup in the world to pick all the ordered goods from its own warehouses instead of the partner retail stores.
Currently, it has 27 warehouses located in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chattogram and Jashore from which the Chaldal delivery army pick products to deliver to nearby customers' doorsteps.
The startup has plans to expand into 15 new cities with 50 more warehouses this year, according to the TechCrunch.
The latest round of funding was led by Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, Sten Tamkivi, chief product officer of Topia, and Xploration Capital, with participation from the Mir Group.
At the early stage, Chaldal was backed by US venture firms Y Combinator and 500 Startups and a local individual as the angel investor.
Later, it raised further funds from the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the top local financial institution IDLC.
Startup Bangladesh Ltd, the state initiative to support startups, also funded Chaldal.
Understandably, the latest round of funding is even bigger than the total of the two previous rounds as the startup remarkably scaled up.
In an interview with a local media outlet in early August this year, the Chaldal CEO said they have already built a team of 2,600 staff members and delivered three lakh orders to 1.2 lakh customers over July alone.
Ordering groceries online was a niche market among a limited number of early adaptors in Bangladesh even three-four years ago.
The real take-off happened after the pandemic hit and in 2020 Chaldal grew dramatically as families stuck at home found its products not costlier than their nearby brick-and-mortar stores, while it was delivering free and often offered a decent discount on basket size.
Chaldal is a household name, to some extent, in most of the middle class families in the capital.
The TechCrunch reported Chaldal's sales grew by 120% year-on-year over the past 12 months.
It currently sells 8,500 products and aims to increase the number to 30,000 by December this year.
Chaldal is the largest online grocery player of the country, while only supermarket chain Shwapno is ahead of it in the overall grocery retail sector.
In a market where some errant e-commerce platforms are going broke due to their excessive discounts, including those on grocery products for more than a year, Chaldal stands different.
It is scaling up without burning cash and analysts believe the quality of its service and efficient operation made the difference.
Nowadays it is making some profits even, its CEO told the TechCrunch.
Batch delivery by a delivery person made the startup one of the most efficient in their area globally, he said.
Alongside expanding the grocery network, Chaldal is also trying to add new things to support its ecosystem and the growing scale, such as payment services, partnership with farmers and delivering to small merchants.