By Chandini Monnappa
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail arm has invested $200 million for a 25.8% stake in Indian online delivery platform Dunzo to get a foothold into the rapidly growing market of superfast dispatch of household goods.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries said on Thursday its retail arm led a $240 million funding round in Bengaluru-based Dunzo which offers lightning fast delivery of groceries and medicines and even offers to pick up and drop off documents and other items.
“Our merchants will get access to the hyperlocal delivery network of Dunzo to support their growth,” said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, adding the partnership will help them take advantage of the shift in consumption patterns towards online services.
Demand for services like Dunzo and SoftBank-backed Swiggy’s Genie boomed during the pandemic when people were ordered indoors and only delivery of essential items was allowed. This massive demand has also led players to intensify their battle in ensuring users are able to get their orders in 15 minutes or less.
Reliance has been ramping up its JioMart e-commerce arm in an effort to stave off competition from Amazon.com and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart in an e-retail market India forecasts will be worth $200 billion by 2026.
“Reliance is getting into every key form of online retail. It is still early to gauge how this may pan out, but it looks like they aim to replicate their offline omnipresent dominance to online now,” said Bharat Birla, director at Anand Rathi Advisors in Mumbai.
Dunzo, which counts Alphabet Inc’s Google and Lightrock among its backers, will use the funds to expand to 15 cities from its current seven-city operation.
Founded in 2006, Reliance retail owns brands across segments panning groceries, neighborhood convenience stores, electronic goods, clothes, jewellery, furniture and medicines.
(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru and Abhirup Roy in Mumbai; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)