Alibaba Group Holdings, China’s online commerce giant, is looking to pick up a significant minority stake in Logistics company XpressBees. The company will be investing close to $ 100 million in the Pune based logistics firm, according to three sources.
A source close to the development told The Economic Times, “The deal is likely to close in the next two three weeks.” Both the companies, according to the news daily, have been in talks for a potential investment for the past 18 months. However, the percentage of the minority stake Alibaba will be picking up in XpressBees was not disclosed.
In 2017, the Chinese conglomerate invested in multiple Indian startups including online payments platform Paytm and online grocery delivery services BigBasket. In July last year, reports suggested Alibaba was looking to invest in Gurgaon based logistics startup Delhivery along with XpressBees. Alibaba’s aim with these investments was to build the ‘iron triangle’ of businesses in ecommerce (Paytm Mall, Bigbasket), payments (Paytm) and now logistics to establish an Amazon like network in India.
XpressBees, founded by Amitava Saha and Supam Maheshwari in 2015, spun out of baby products retailer FirstCry. The ecommerce logistics company, owned by Busybees Logistics Solutions, aims to fulfill comprehensive supply demand needs of India’s online industry. XpressBees offers services including last mile delivery, cross border services, reverse logistics, drop shipping, vendor management, payment collection, fulfillment services and tailored software solutions. The company claims their team delivers 6000+ shipments every day. The company also managed to raise close to $ 12.5 million in a Series A funding round from existing investors SAIF Partners, IDG Ventures, Vertex Ventures and Valiant Capital in 2016.
Another source further added, “Alibaba wants to make XpressBees the Cainiao of India and over time logistics operations for all companies like Paytm Mall and Bigbasket may get consolidated under it giving it a larger captive customer base.” Post these investments in BigBasket and XpressBees, Alibaba’s total investment in India through its payments affiliate Ant Financial will be close to Rs. 11,000 crores.
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