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BigBasket - Success Story of India's Largest Online Grocer

Company Profile is an initiative by ListMyStartUp to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by BigBasket.

Online grocery shopping is fast gaining popularity among Indians. According to the recent Redseer report, India's online grocery retail market is all set to touch $10.5 billion by 2023. A company that holds a huge share in this fast-growing market is BigBasket.

Founded in 2011, by the dot-com bubble survivors - V.S. Sudhakar, Hari Menon, V.S. Ramesh, Vipul Parekh, and Abhinay Choudhari, Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt. Ltd., trading as BigBasket, is a household name soon after it came to existence.

Headquartered in Bengaluru, BigBasket is currently known as India's largest online grocer receives over 150,000 orders per day.

With the recent deal, Tata Group became the owner of BigBasket by acquiring a majority stake of 64% in the company. BigBasket's valuation rocketed to around $1.85 billion, as of May 2021. Tata Sons have acquired a majority stake in BigBasket, putting the Indian conglomerate in a direct race with e-commerce players Amazon, Walmart, Flipkart, and Reliance Industries. The stake was bought by Tata Digital Limited, a unit of Tata Sons. India's antitrust body had in March approved the acquisition of up to a 64.3% stake in BigBasket by Tata Digital.

Read About BigBasket Company Profile, Story, Founders, Competitors, Business Model, Revenue, Funding, Acquisitions, and more.

BigBasket Company Details

  • Startup Name-BigBasket
  • Headquarter-Bangalore
  • Founders-V.S. Sudhakar, Hari Menon, V.S. Ramesh, Vipul Parekh & Abhinay Choudhari
  • Industry-E-commerce, Grocery, Grocery Delivery
  • Founded-October 2011
  • Operating Revenue-$1.57 bn (Rs 12,595 crore in FY22)
  • Total Funding-$1.3 Billion (June 2022)
  • Valuation-$2 Billion+
  • Parent Organization-Tata Digital Limited
  • Website-bigbasket.com

BigBasket - About

BigBasket is into delivering everyday cooking essentials like ghee (clarified butter), diced coconut, fragrant basmati rice, and more, amounting to a total of over 40,000 items, along with other household products ranging from bread to laundry detergents for the customers to shop from. The company gets all of them delivered to their doorsteps. The target motive of the company is to enable the ease of grocery shopping online to avoid traffic and the drudgery of supermarket visits.

To explore new opportunities, the company has also launched 3 new businesses - BB Daily, BB Instant, and BB Beauty.

BBDaily is a subscription-based service that allows customers to order milk and fresh groceries. With this platform, the customers have to place the order before 10 PM, and they eventually get the goods delivered between 5 AM - 7 AM the next day.

BB Instant is BigBasket's unmanned vending machine that is mostly available in corporate offices, tech parks, and apartment buildings in Tier I cities.

BB Beauty allows consumers to choose from a wide range of beauty and personal care products and order online.

BigBasket has also launched Fresho stores, which is currently serving as the first offline retail store of BigBasket that has already been opened at Basaveshwar Nagar in Bangalore. These BigBasket stores are technology-driven, self-service stores for the customers.

BigBasket - Founders and Team

BigBasket was founded by V.S. Sudhakar, Hari Menon, V.S. Ramesh, Vipul Parekh, and Abhinay Choudhari in 2011. Prior to BigBasket, the founders also founded Fabmart.com, an online platform that sold books, toys, and groceries in the year 1999. Fabmart was sold to a grocery chain in 2006.

Founding team at BigBasket - Bigbasket owner

Big Basket - Founders

V.S. Sudhakar

BigBasket Co-founder V S Sudhakar was the CEO of Planetasia. He has vast experience working in the IT sector.

Hari Menon

BigBasket CEO Hari Menon comes with vast experience in diverse fields. Prior to Big Basket, Menon was the CEO of Indiaskills, the Vocational Education joint venture of Manipal Group with City & Guilds, UK. An alumnus of BITS Pilani, Hari Menon also worked as the Country Head at Planetasia, one of India’s first Internet services businesses. Hari also held top positions with IT majors like Wipro Infotech.

V.S. Ramesh

V.S. Ramesh is the Head of Logistics & Supply Chain at BigBasket. An Electronics Engineering graduate from Karnataka University, V.S. Ramesh has over 21 years of experience in the Indian Navy handling Operations and Logistics. Ramesh is an Electronics Engineer, who earlier co-founded Fabmall.

Vipul Parekh

Vipul Parekh is the Head of Finance & Marketing at BigBasket. Vipul is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and worked with a range of companies holding key leadership positions including Wipro Limited and Trinethra Super Retail Ltd. He also worked with Peepul Capital Advisors Pvt Ltd., a leading Private Equity Fund as an Investment Director. Parekh also co-founded Fabmall before co-founding BigBasket.  


Abhinay Choudhari

Abhinay Choudhari was the Head of New Initiatives at BigBasket along with being a Co-founder. Abhinay is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus. Besides working with leading IT companies like iGATE & Infosys, Abhinay also founded Stylecountry.com, one of India's first online fashion retail stores. Stylecountry.com had to be closed down as it did not turn out to be profitable.

Abhinay Choudhari has taken a silent exit from BigBasket on August 5, 2021. Soon after Tata acquired BigBasket in May 2021, Abhinay decided not to continue working in the same firm, which he finally managed to do in August. As a parting note to his employees, Choudhari has mentioned that he left BigBasket only to build another company from scratch due to "the start-up itch" that has been growing in him for nine years. Choudhari hinted to “solve another equally painful chore for many Indian households” in the form of new business that he will found. Next, he will be looking forward to an online laundry business, as per reports.

TN Hari, who served as the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at BigBasket for 7 long years, has let people know that he has decided to do something different via his Linkedin handle. TN Hari, in his career with BB, which has now found a new, safe home with the Tata Group acquisition, has already spent 20 years in the Indian startup ecosystem. During these years, he boasts of wearing many different hats as an Angel Investor, Advisor to other VC Firms, Mentor at Startup Accelerators, Sounding Board to Founders, Author, and Columnist. Hari has also revealed that he has been a part of 5 startups to date, 3 out of which have already turned into unicorns. TN Hari has also been identified by Linkedin as one of the top voices of India for 3 consecutive years. Establishing the Artha School of Entrepreneurship is the new goal of this top executive of BB. The mission of Artha would be to accelerate the "journeys of the entrepreneurs in scaling their ventures and contributing to economic and social prosperity of their communities."

RainCan, which was originally a daily essential subscription-based startup, later acquired by Big Basket in 2018, was eventually rebranded as BBDaily. The co-founders of the company, however, remained with the BigBasket team so far till November 25, 2021, when Abhijeet Kumar and Munendra Singh finally chose to exit the Tata-owned company in order to start with their own venture. As per sources close to the deal, the new startup that will be founded by RainCan duo will help other startups digitize.

Fabmart.com was an online platform that sold books, toys, and groceries in the year 1999. Back then, only within a few months, they had realized that not just our country but the whole world was not ready to take this buzz of digitization. In the year 2006, Fabmart was merged with a brick-and-mortar grocery chain and the founders ended up selling their startup for a lump sum amount.

Then came the golden year of 2011, when the team reunited and started re-evaluating the idea of again coming up with something new and exciting. Despite all the criticism they had received back in 1999, they stood very strong on the fact that the time to do something that’d put them on the map was then. In 2011, the smartphone market was booming and anything and everything was available except groceries, of course, and that right then was their Eureka moment.

BigBasket used to fulfil its orders by purchasing products from Metro Cash and Carry stores, prior to setting up its first warehouse.

"We had people in the Metro stores, literally operating that as our warehouse" says Hari Menon, Co-founder & CEO of BigBasket.

BigBasket - Name, Tagline and Logo

Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt. Ltd., trades as "BigBasket," the name of which is drawn from the idea of shopping baskets, which the company extends to their customers online.  

The recent tagline of the brand reflects "Har Din Sasta."

BigBasket - Business and Revenue Model

BigBasket’s private label business is driven by lower prices and higher margins. Roughly 35% of the revenue comes from private labels. The aim here is to fill the gap in distinct categories like organic food, and high-end consumer products, to name a few. Also, the company offers a lower price point for staples and fruits and vegetables. They also provide idli/dosa batter on their online platform, which is very rare and does not have a lot of competition.


Moreover, on the B2B side, BigBasket serves its private-label to about a thousand Kirana stores, huge corporates, and HoReCa (hotels, restaurants, cafes). Regarding Big Basket's Business Model, Big Basket follows both the 'inventory model' and ‘hyper-local model’.

Under the inventory model, the company buys products from leading suppliers like P&G, HUL, mills, farmers, etc., stores the products in warehouses, and supplies the same to the customers on order. In the case of the perishable goods, BigBasket further has tie-ups with local farmers and suppliers from whom it procures the goods as per orders and supplies the same to the customers.

Under the 'hyper-local model', BigBasket has tie-up with 2000+ grocery stores across India to deliver products within one hour from the neighbourhood.

With the opening of its physical store, Fresho, BigBasket is also a step ahead in the physical grocery space, which is soon expected to be a revenue generator for the company.

BigBasket - Startup Challenges

One of the main challenges of any startup in India is getting the customers to try the service first since the resistance level is really high. This is followed by retaining these consumers despite all the other factors in the market like competitors, local vendors, and buying habits, which were there for BigBasket too.

Also, since it was one of a kind startup dealing with groceries, which was never the case before, it took a while for the consumers to place trust in a brand like BigBasket and start using its services.

Data Breach Issues

Online grocery store BigBasket faced a massive data breach in November 2020 as the company had allegedly leaked the data of over 2 crore users on the dark web. BigBasket, funded by Jack Ma-owned Alibaba Group, Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, and CDC group has filed a complaint in this regard with Cyber Crime Cel in Bengaluru.

According to media reports, Cyble, a cyber intelligence firm, informed that the grocery e-commerce platform BigBasket leaked data including names, email IDs, password hashes, contact numbers, addresses, etc, on the dark web. Also, Cyble informed that a hacker had put the data on sale for over Rs 30 lakh.

Reacting to this, BigBasket said: "A few days ago, we learned about a potential data breach at Bigbasket and are evaluating the extent of the breach and authenticity of the claim in consultation with cybersecurity experts and finding immediate ways to contain it. We have also lodged a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell in Bengaluru and intend to pursue this vigorously to bring the culprits to book."

Bengaluru-based BigBasket also ensured that the confidentiality and security of customers are their priority and it does not store any financial data (including credit card numbers) etc and is positive that this financial data is secure.

"The only customer data that we maintain are email IDs, phone numbers, order details, and addresses so these are the details that could potentially have been accessed. We have a robust information security framework that employs best-in-class resources and technologies to manage our information. We will continue to proactively engage with best-in-class information security experts to strengthen this further,” the statement by BigBasket read.

Cyble also claimed that the breach may have occurred on October 30, 2020, and it has already informed Bigbasket about it.

BigBasket - Growth and Revenue

Bigbasket has recorded gross sales worth $1.1 billion (INR 8000 crore) in the financial year 2021. It has reported 80% growth from the previous year and is expected to keep growing this way. The 2 new advancements that happened during FY21 and delighted BigBasket are:

Tata Digital bought controlling stakes in the company in May 2021

The B2b arm of BigBasket crossed Rs 6500 crore in revenue

BBNow

BigBasket is planning to launch its own quick commerce product named BBNow, which will be tentatively released by February 2022. The new Q-Commerce product will aim to deliver grocery products to the customers in 18-20 minutes within hyperlocal geography.

BBNow will be featured on Tata's upcoming super app, TataNeu along with several other products of the brand including 1MG, Curefit, and more. The app is still in its development stage and though it will be designed to compete with Dunzo, Grofers, and Swiggy, being a rival in the same space,  it will be integrated into the BigBasket platform and not be a spin-off.

‘BBNow’ is estimated to stock up the best-selling essentials, which add to around 2,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs). The app will utilize BigBasket’s existing dark stores network that is currently thriving across metropolitan cities, a source close to the company stated.

Fresho

BigBasket has recently launched its first physical store, "Fresho" in Bangalore, in the last week of October 2021, as confirmed via an internal company email. The mentioned store has been open to the customers of Bangalore's Basaveshwar Nagar since October 25, 2021, according to BigBasket co-founder VS Sudhakar, who informed the same to all the employees of the company. While writing about Fresho in his email, Sudhakar described the opening of the store, which is currently operational from 8 in the morning to 9 in the night, as an “extremely key, strategic initiative.”

BigBasket - User Acquisition

BigBasket's mobile app is currently accessed by over 6 million customers across the country, being operational in 26+ cities in India.

An interesting strategy that BigBasket follows to attract customers is that the company keeps into account the varied needs and different shopping habits of its customers belonging to different cities. The amount of attention the founders paid to little details put them in a competitively better position.

The team did their planning city-wise. They increased the number of leafy greens in Mumbai, supplied a special kind of rice (called Sona Masoori) in Bangalore, and went as far as providing eight different kinds of eggplants to picky customers. All in all, the company ensured its quality was nothing short of perfection.

Timely delivery is the essence of online shopping hence the team put a focused approach to this. They devised a model of customized software that automatically guides drivers to their destinations and helps the company achieve a near-perfect on-time rate. Late deliveries earn customers a 10% discount. Missing items are refunded at a cost that is 50% of whatever the item cost is.

  • BigBasket Financials
  • BigBasket Financials YoY
  • BigBasket Financials YoY
  • BigBasket Revenue

The BigBasket revenue grew by 36%, from Rs 2,802.6 crore in FY19 to Rs 3818.2 crore in FY20. Its operating revenues further increased by 73% to become Rs 6558 cr in FY21. The operating revenue of BigBasket's B2C arm became Rs 7,098.4 crore ($935 mn) in FY22, while the combined (B2B+B2C) revenue of BigBasket became Rs 12, 595 crores in FY22.  

The groceries and household products made up a significant part (97%) of its FY22 revenues, which grew by 14% during the same fiscal. The remaining part of the company's revenues (2.4%) consisted of the revenues it gained from the advertisements.

BigBasket Expenses

BigBasket expenses increased by 31%, from Rs 3,365.2 crore in FY19 to Rs 4,411.3 crore in FY20, during the same period, and has noticed a further increase to Rs 6983.57 crore during FY21. The expenses of BigBasket ballooned with its surging revenues, by 26%, thereby becoming Rs 7931.8 crore in FY22. Wholesale purchases were the largest cost centre (73.2%) for the company.  

The company also reported a loss of Rs 709.9 crore in FY20, which witnessed a 26% hike from Rs 562.6 crore, as reported in FY19. The losses declined during FY21 becoming Rs 413.16 cr. The BigBasket losses further surged to become Rs 812.7 crore in FY22.    

The EBITDA margin of BigBasket improved from -12.87% in FY20 to become -3.15% during FY21, which indicates that the company might also see a positive EBITDA margin in the upcoming fiscal.

On a unit level, BigBasket's b2b arm spent Rs 1.06 to earn a rupee of revenue in FY21, which became Rs 1.12 in FY22.

Here are some growth highlights of Big Basket:

Has a presence in over 26 cities in India

Serves more than 125 million customers all around the country

Endorsed by the most celebrated celebrity of Bollywood - Shah Rukh Khan

It partnered with the Chinese brand - Alibaba

BigBasket forayed into the offline retail segment with Fresho, a technology-driven self-service store that the company first launched in Bengaluru in November 2021.

Was permitted by the West Bengal government to supply alcohol in the state along with Amazon.

BigBasket - Awards and Recognitions

Among the major awards and recognitions that BigBasket won are:

  • It was declared the 'Retail and eCommerce app of the year' at YourStory's AWS Mobility Awards in 2017
  • Owler has conferred upon BigBasket CEO Hari Menon the Top Rated CEO Award in 2017
  • The company was placed 2nd at the Global E-commerce Award ceremony hosted by Ecommerce Europe in Barcelona
  • BigBasket Co-founder Abhinay Choudhari was awarded the IIMA Alumni Young Achievers’ Award

BigBasket - Partnerships

Some of the BigBasket partnerships include:

Bigbasket partnered with Uber on April 3, 2020, where Uber's driver-partners sought an association with the former to help the company deliver everyday essentials to its customers and others during the pandemic onslaught. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, and Noida were the first four cities to witness the same.

BigBasket partnered with Rajasthan Royals on September 16, 2020, who was declared as the official partner of the IPL team for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League.  

BigBasket also became partners with the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise on October 19, 2021, to deliver food products and groceries in India.

BigBasket - Future Plans

BigBasket has strong plans of retaining its post as the largest grocery delivery platform in India. So, the plan is to set up warehouses in all the 26 operating cities of India to bring down the delivery time to 3 hours.

By 2022, the plan is to grow to 60,000 SKUs and double the farmer base to 5,000. Further, the plan also includes expanding BigBasket’s private label range by using Alibaba’s muscle to source and import a range of merchandise to six times that of large-format supermarkets.

Big Basket has launched Fresho stores, and opened the first of their kinds in Bengaluru, thereby entering the offline retail market. The founder and CEO of BigBasket, Hari Menon has disclosed the plans of the company for opening 800 more of these stores in the next 5 years across 10 Tier1 cities, and clock in Rs 12,000 crore in sales.

FAQs

Which is BigBasket's country of origin?

Big basket originated in India.

Is BigBasket a Chinese company?

BigBasket is an Indian company but has Chinese investors like Alibaba Group and TR Capital. Online grocery retailer BigBasket has so far received greater than $250 million from Chinese companies. It recently received funding of close to $50 million from Alibaba.

Who is the owner/founder of BigBasket?

BigBasket was founded by V.S. Sudhakar, Hari Menon, V.S. Ramesh, Vipul Parekh, and Abhinay Choudhari.

Does BigBasket have offline stores?

No, it is a purely internet-based company and does not have any brick-and-mortar stores.

What is Bigbasket Wallet?

The Bigbasket Wallet is a pre-paid credit account that is associated with your Bigbasket account. This prepaid account allows you to pay a lump sum amount once to Bigbasket and then shop multiple times without having to pay each time.