Zepto becomes India’s first 2023 unicorn after $200 million funding

Zepto is an instant grocery delivery startup founded by two teenagers. (Image Credit: Indian Media/Zepto)

Zepto, an instant grocery delivery startup, has successfully secured $200 million in a recent funding round, catapulting its valuation to an impressive $1.4 billion.

This funding makes Zepto the first Indian startup to achieve unicorn status in 2023.

The funding round was led by U.S.-based investment firms, StepStone Group and Goodwater Capital. This marks StepStone Group’s first direct investment in India. Existing supporters, including Nexus Venture Partners, Glade Brook Capital, and Lachy Groom, also participated in the round.

While several other ventures in the same industry have faced challenges lately, Zepto’s innovative approach has injected new vitality into the sector.

The startup is named after Zeptosecond – the shortest unit to measure time. It is the trillionth of a billionth of a second.

Young, visionary founders

The journey of Zepto began in 2021. Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, two Stanford dropouts, founded the instant grocery delivery startup at the age of 19. Having previously collaborated on projects like a ride-hailing commute app for school kids, the duo unveiled Zepto in late November 2021.

The fast-paced e-commerce endeavor initially garnered support from influential backers, including Y Combinator, Glade Brook Capital, and angel investors Lachy Groom and Neeraj Arora.

Their swift rise in the industry is marked by the startup’s ability to process over 300,000 orders daily in seven Indian cities, spanning a wide range of products from groceries to electronics.

Zepto’s current annualized revenue sales exceed $700 million, showcasing an impressive growth rate of 300% year-on-year. Looking ahead, the company aims to achieve $1 billion in annualized sales within the upcoming quarters, according to Palicha, one of the co-founders.

According to Kaivalya Vohra, Zepto’s co-founder and CTO, the infusion of capital will not hinder the company’s commitment to maintaining discipline and driving technical excellence. The startup’s focus on technology-driven enhancements within its supply chain and customer-facing products remains unwavering.

Zepto’s vision extends beyond its current success, with plans to go public by 2025 as a “profitable, growing technology company that customers love.”

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