Online grocery delivery startup Zepto has successfully raised $200 million in a Series-E funding round, achieving a valuation of $1.4 billion. This achievement marks Zepto as the first unicorn of 2023. The funding was led by StepStone Group, a US-based private markets investment firm, and is StepStone Group’s inaugural direct investment in an Indian company.
Investors and Existing Supporters
- Joining StepStone Group in this funding round is Goodwater Capital, a consumer-focused venture capital firm from California.
- Noteworthy is the participation of existing investors, including Nexus Venture Partners, Glade Brook Capital, Lachy Groom, among others, who further solidified their support with substantial follow-on investments.
Zepto’s Journey and Funding History
- Zepto, established in response to the pandemic, was founded in 2021 by Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, both dropouts from Stanford University.
- The startup had previously raised $200 million in a Series D funding round in 2022, led by Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, which valued the company at $900 million.
- Zepto’s founders have also expressed their intention to list the company on public markets within the next two to three years.
Quick Commerce Model and Challenges
- Zepto operates in the quick commerce space, delivering a range of over 6,000 grocery products within just 10 minutes through its network of delivery hubs across the country.
- This model, though successful, has faced scrutiny due to concerns about high cash burn and sustainability.
Proven Operating Discipline and Growth
- The company has demonstrated its ability to turn the majority of its dark stores EBITDA positive, significantly reducing burn rate.
- Zepto anticipates achieving full EBITDA positivity within 12 to 15 months. The company has managed to achieve substantial growth, with a 300% year-on-year increase in sales, and it aims to reach $1 billion in annualized sales in the coming quarters.
Technology and Product Focus for Future Growth
- Kaivalya Vohra, Zepto’s co-founder and CTO, underlines the company’s focus on maintaining discipline even with fresh capital infusion.
- The path to EBITDA positivity remains a priority, and Zepto believes that technological advancements and product enhancements will play a significant role in achieving profitability.
Zepto’s Funding Amid Industry Challenges
- The news of Zepto’s successful funding round emerges at a time when other quick delivery platforms like Dunzo are grappling with financial challenges.
- Despite industry headwinds, Zepto’s disciplined approach and customer-centric strategy have positioned the company for growth and success.