Bahrain-listed Investcorp acquired a stake in Xpressbees, a logistics start-up based in India.
The alternative asset manager did not disclose the value of the deal, but its backing is part of a $110 million Series E funding round that also includes investment from Norwest Venture Partners and Gaja Capital, according to reports. A Series E round usually precedes a company going public.
“Xpressbees is, in our view, at the strategic sweet spot of the consumption shift to digital and e-commerce, and the significant growth potential of the $200 billion-plus logistics industry in India,” Varun Laul, a member of Investcorp India's private equity leadership team, said.
Founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Amitava Saha and Supam Maheshwari, Pune-based Xpressbees has a presence in more than 2,000 towns and cities in India, with more than 1,000 customers across industries including e-commerce, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, retail, manufacturing, electronics and consumer durables.
The company handles more than 2 million shipments a day across Asia's third-largest economy.
“We will use this investment for further automating our hubs and sort centres, increase investments in technology and to expand our delivery footprint to cover the entire country,” Mr Saha, who is chief executive of Xpressbees, said.
Investcorp, which counts Mubadala Investment Company as its biggest shareholder, is aiming to increase its investments in India, especially in the consumer tech, healthcare, financial services and technology sectors.
Other than Xpressbees, the company has invested in eight businesses in these sectors – InCred, ASG, Zolo, Citykart, Intergrow Brands, Bewakoof.com, NephroPlus and FreshToHome.
The company is targeting deals involving “first-generation entrepreneurs scaling up businesses with asset-light models,” it said.
E-commerce has surged globally this year after governments introduced movement restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. India enforced a strict two-month nationwide lockdown in April and May.
Digitalisation and technology adoption are expected to gain traction across India in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, driving growth of the country's logistics sector at a compound annual rate of 7.2 per cent until 2025, according to research company Frost & Sullivan.