Online grocery retailer Zepto becomes first unicorn this year

Online grocery retailer Zepto announced on Friday that StepStone Group led a funding round in which it secured $200 million (about Rs 1,653 crore) and that the business wants to go public by 2025.

According to Zepto, the cash will make the business the sole startup to become a unicorn this year. The founders of the Mumbai-based company, Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, stated that it intends to go public by 2025.

Zepto said it has raised $200 million in fresh funding at a valuation of $1.4 billion, making it the first startup in the country to cross the billion-dollar valuation mark in nearly a year.

Zepto said it raised the funds “in the midst of the deepest downturn in capital markets in over a decade” from U.S-based investment firms StepStone Group and Goodwater Capital. Existing backers including Nexus Venture Partners, Glade Brook Capital and Lachy Groom also participated in the deal.

Zepto, which promises delivery of groceries in 10 minutes, was started in 2021 by two 19-year-old Stanford dropouts. It competes with SoftBank-funded Swiggy and Blinkit, which are all betting on fast deliveries in the so-called quick commerce sector. Even among them, Zepto’s CEO Aadit Palicha said the company has the quickest average delivery time of 13 minutes.

Zepto’s rival Swiggy plans to list in India’s stock market next year.

Zepto plans to use the funds to go deeper into the seven Indian metros. It is currently present in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, where it makes a monthly revenue of $50 million-$60 million, Palicha told Reuters.

“Operating in a bear market has forced us to be more disciplined. There is no (question of) growth or profit, it has to be both.” The company is also planning an initial public offering in 2025, he said.