Food-grocery marketplace Jumbotail raises $85 mn in Series C funding round

Jumbotail, a leading new retail platform and B2B ecommerce marketplace for food and grocery products, has raised an $85 million in a Series C round led by Artal Asia Pte Ltd, an affiliate of Invus, a global equity investment firm with over $10 billion of capital under management. Ajax Capital, the family office of veteran FMCG entrepreneur Ajay Gupta, also participated in the round. This Series C round was a combination of primary and secondary investments, with early investors Nexus Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital taking minor part-exits in the secondary. This takes the total capital raised by the company to $125 million.

Jumbotail will use the funds to triple its engineering, product, design, data science, category management, marketing, and finance teams. It will also scale its core B2B marketplace to 100 cities and towns across India. It would expand its network of J24 stores and invest in large scale kirana entrepreneur skill development initiatives. It would also further strengthen its go-to-market services to support regional and new age FMCG brands.

“We nearly quadrupled our scale in 2021 and are looking to further accelerate our growth trajectory in the coming year,” said Ashish Jhina, co-founder and COO, Jumbotail. “We will continue to invest aggressively to make Jumbotail the pre-eminent destination for food and grocery brands to reach the overwhelming majority of India’s consumers through our pan-India network of kirana partners.”

Jumbotail was founded in Nov 2015 by Stanford MBA classmates S Karthik Venkateswaran and Ashish Jhina. Venkateswaran served with the Indian Army and is a marketplace tech/product veteran from eBay-US and Flipkart. Ashish Jhina is a 3rd generation apple farmer, and a former consultant with BCG, with deep experience in agricultural production and supply chains.

Francis Cukierman, managing director, Invus Asia and Benjamin Felt, managing director, Invus US will join Jumbotail’s Board of Directors. Cukierman and Felt said that Jumbotail is rapidly emerging as an industry-defining company in B2B e-commerce. “We share Ashish and Karthik’s vision of digitising kirana stores to transform India’s food and grocery retail landscape at scale,” said Cukierman and Felt.

Ajay Gupta, Ajax Capital, said having spent nearly 25 years building FMCG brands in India the hard way, “I believe Jumbotail will make it infinitely easier for the next generation of FMCG brands to scale rapidly and cost effectively.”

Tom Williams, sole GP of Heron Rock, and a board director in Jumbotail said this fundraise is a validation of the top-notch execution demonstrated by the Jumbotail team throughout the Covid pandemic. “They are creating an immense value for brands and kirana store entrepreneurs in an incredibly capital efficient manner.”

Jumbotail connects nearly 2000 FMCG and staples brands and sellers to 150,000 kirana stores across 38 cities and towns in India via its full stack e-commerce model. This consists of its B2B e-commerce marketplace platform and warehousing and logistics supply chain network. Jumbotail’s New Retail platform transforms kirana stores into modern omni-channel convenience grocery stores under the J24 brand within 24-48 hours. It offers kirana retailers a full suite of Retail Operating System for digitizing in-store operations with Point-of-Sale (POS), inventory management, real time data and merchandising insights. It also provides daily fulfillment of thousands of products, a B2C online store as well as loyalty and digital marketing solutions to better connect retailers to their consumers. The company provides direct and indirect employment to over 2000 people across the country.

An estimated 14 million kirana stores in India control more than 95 per cent of the country’s $500 billion food and grocery market. Startups like Jumbotail are poised to transform the kirana store ecosystem at an unprecedented pace and scale over the next few years.