INDIA – SoftBank-backed Grofers, an Indian online grocer has raised US$20 million by issuing equity share and a warrant to Bennett Coleman Private Limited (BCCL), also known as Times Group.

Times Group has picked up one equity share worth INR1.31 million and a warrant, defined by Grofers as a debenture, worth INR1.43 billion (US$20.12 million).

A debenture is a medium- to long-term debt instrument used by large companies to borrow money, at a fixed rate of interest.

Preliminary data shows that, Grofers (which turned unicorn following its US$200-million SoftBank-backed Series F round earlier this year) has raised a total of US$532.6 million in funding over nine rounds.

The series F funding round also attracted investors like Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, and KTB. The online grocer has also secured US$10 million in funding from Abu Dhabi Capital Group.

Grofers, founded by IIT graduates Albinder Dhindsa and Saurabh Kumar in 2013, operates in India’s intensely competitive online supermarket space.

It has expanded its own range of brands over the last year and has over 800 products spread across various categories such as staples and kitchen ingredients, and FMCG products. The company is now present in 13 cities across India.

The start-up also recently forayed into the milk business with the launch of its milk brand, G-Fresh Milk. Grofers plans to expand its catalogue to 1,500 products by the end of 2020.

Grofers major rivals in the highly contested market include BigBasket Flipkart, Supermart Swiggy and Amazon. Amazon has committed to invest Rs 172.5 crore (US$24.35 million) in its India food retail business as part of a US$500 million planned investment in the course of the next five years.

Walmart owned Flipkart recently announced that it will be entering the food retail business and has created a new entity called “Flipkart Farmermart Pvt Ltd” seeking to invest $258 million in the new venture.

The online food and grocery retail in India is estimated to hit US$10.5 billion by 2023 driven by an increased assortment of products and efforts like express delivery operations, according to a recent report released by consulting firm Redseer.