Chaldal secures $10m foreign fund for expansion
Local online grocery store Chaldal has raised $10 million in a latest round of funding as it looks to expand its inventories in top cities across the country.
The Series-C funding round was led by Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, Sten Tamkivi, CPO of Topia, and Xploration Capital with the participation from Mir Group.
In such rounds, investors inject capital into a successful startup to help it launch new products and expand into new markets.
Chaldal previously received investment from Y Combinator, IDLC Finance Limited, International Finance Corporation and the government's venture capital fund Startup Bangladesh.
According to Crunchbase, a platform that provides investments and funding information, Chaldal has raised a total of $24.8 million in funding over five rounds.
However, industry people say the total investment secured by Chaldal could be a few millions higher than the Crunchbase's figure.
"Before Chaldal, our customers had limited access to fresh groceries and didn't have an opportunity to buy them from a single place – and definitely not online," said Waseem Alim, CEO of Chaldal.
"Having our own inventory combined with our technology platform allowed us to have real-time availability and deliver orders in the shortest amount of time possible," he said.
Chaldal's funding takes the total amount received by Bangladeshi startups to $125 million so far this year, according to data from LightCastle Partners. Of the sum, $121 million came from foreign sources.
The pandemic has proved a boon for Chaldal, thanks to an increased demand for home delivery of groceries, hygiene products and other consumer staples.
In the pre-pandemic period, it used to make 2,500 daily deliveries on average and within one and a half years, it has increased to now cater to around 10,000 deliveries per day.
Chaldal delivers groceries on-demand through a network of warehouses enabled by their technology platform.
Their customers can select from over 8,500 different products and have those delivered within an hour, making it the second-largest grocery player and the largest e-grocery company in Bangladesh, it said in a statement.
In the past 12 months, Chaldal generated $40 million in revenue and catered to 2.5 million orders, growing approximately 120 per cent year-on-year.
The company currently has 27 warehouses located in four cities -- Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chattogram, and Jashore -- and plans to expand to 15 others.
"Traditionally the retail sector in Bangladesh has been dominated by…small family shops with organised retail representing less than 2 per cent of all retail sales," said Igor Kim, managing partner at Xploration Capital.
"We believe that there's a unique opportunity for digital players in Bangladesh. Online retail in Bangladesh may completely leapfrog traditional supermarkets and become the dominant model, just like many Southeast Asian countries that skipped PCs for mobile," he said.
Chaldal has partnered with global organisations such as World Food Programme and United Nations Children's Fund to provide food and other necessities to Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar.
During the lockdowns, the company partnered with the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh to sell basic products at discounts to stop prices from spiralling.
"They have been a huge help to urban residents during the pandemic with their relentless efforts to deliver essentials to residents' doorsteps," said Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for information and communication technology.