INDIA – Indian instant delivery service has added 200 “dark stores” to its network since December to bolster its ability to deliver items in ten minutes.  

The Gurgaon-based company now plans to take the number of such mini distribution centers to 1,000 by March to take advantage of the growing demand for quick online deliveries. 

Online grocery platforms have already been in an expansion mode as millions of Indians gravitated to digital commerce as the pandemic raged in the last two years.  

But the ongoing third wave in India is prompting them to be even more aggressive in their quest to lure more customers. 

This is perhaps the reason why quick commerce is more popular in India than anywhere else in the world.  

 “We will double the number of dark stores to 1,000 by March,” Sharma said. Blinkit, which operates in around 40 cities, is also expanding into the eastern region, Punjab, Bhopal and Nashik among others.  

Blinkit’s rival, Tata-owned BigBasket, plans to launch BB Now, its express delivery service of delivering products in 10-20-minute, joining the growing space of quick commerce. 

Currently, Blinkit, Swiggy’s Instamart, Reliance Retail-backed Dunzo and Zepto are active in that space.   

A US$200m boost for Dunzo 

As Blinkit expands its capabilities, rival Dunzo has secured a US$200 million investment from Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited. 

With this investment, RRVL will own 25.8% stake in Dunzo on a fully diluted basis, a statement from the company revealed. 

 The existing investors of Dunzo including Lightbox, Lightrock, 3L Capital and Alteria Capital also participated in the funding round. 

In addition to this funding round, both the companies said to partner for enabling hyperlocal logistics for retail stores operated by Reliance Retail.  

This will add to Reliance’s omnichannel capabilities and also help facilitate last-mile deliveries for JioMart’s merchant network.  

Isha Ambani, director of Reliance Retail Ventures Limited said, “We are seeing a shift in consumption patterns to online and have been highly impressed with how Dunzo has disrupted the space.”  

Dunzo plans to use the capital to enable instant delivery of essentials from a network of micro warehouses while also expanding its B2B business vertical to enable logistics for local merchants across Indian cities.  

“With this investment from Reliance Retail, we will have a long-term partner with whom we can accelerate growth and redefine how Indians shop for their daily & weekly essentials,” said Kabeer Biswas, CEO and co-founder, Dunzo. 

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