Looks like Sujeet Kumar, Amod Malviya and Vaibhav Gupta’s decision to jump ship from Flipkart to focus on their own venture is paying off.
The trio announced this morning that their B2B e-commerce startup Udaan had raised $225 million in Series C funding co-led by DST Global and Lightspeed Venture Partners, with capital coming out of the latter’s growth fund. The cash infusion, according to Indian media reports, makes Udaan the fastest-ever Indian startup to be valued at over $1 billion.
Flipkart, one of the most successful e-commerce platforms out of India, sold to Walmart in a $16 billion deal earlier this year. Kumar, Malviya and Gupta, which were the former president of operations, CTO and SVP of business finance and analytics at Flipkart, respectively, departed the company in 2016.
Shortly after setting up the B2B marketplace, the three raised $10 million in a Series A led by Lightspeed in late 2016—then another $50 million earlier this year, also led by Lightspeed, with participation from the venture capital firm’s India office.
Bejul Somaia, a managing director at Lightspeed India that’s been on the Bengaluru-based company’s board since that A round, confirmed the latest funding to TechCrunch.
“We have been fortunate to see the company scale very rapidly from close quarters,” Somaia told me via email. “We’re drawn to the company’s first-principles approach to solving significant problems that are unique in the Indian context.”
Udaan’s mobile app connects 150,000 traders, wholesalers and retailers in India, enabling small- and medium-sized businesses to do business directly with manufacturers. Right now, electronics and consumer goods are for sale on the app, with plans for the company to make industrial goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, office supplies and more available soon.
At just 26 months of age, there are few companies that have raced—or shall we say trotted—into the unicorn club at such a speed. Recent examples include the 3D printing company Desktop Metal, which crossed the threshold 21 months after its founding. Plus, there’s the Craigslist competitor Letgo; it became a unicorn in just two years.
Indian startup unicorns, of which there are fewer, have historically taken longer to earn their unicorn horns.
On-demand delivery platform Swiggy, for example, became a unicorn earlier this year, about four years after it was founded. Zomato, another delivery app, garnered a $1.4 billion valuation in 2017 after nearly 10 years in business.