British International Investment


Creating opportunities across the supply chain

How an Indian online retailer we invested in supports jobs across its supply chain – in both rural and urban areas.


India’s retail market is growing rapidly and it’s creating opportunities for people to find employment.

The challenge now is ensuring companies operating in the sector receive the investment and support they need to achieve their potential and create quality jobs.

The growth of the retail sector is supporting people in different types of employment. From farmers growing produce, to employees sorting and packaging products in warehouses and drivers delivering goods.

How Bigbasket supports jobs

Bigbasket is India’s largest online supermarket. The company’s recent growth reflects the wider trend across the retail industry in India. It’s gone from around 80 employees to 15,000 in just over five years. Half of Bigbasket’s 5,700 new employees in 2016 were recent entrants to the job market. As well as creating jobs in its warehouses and delivery operations, the company’s success has benefitted 3,000 smallholder farmers across India who supply Bigbasket.

The field: Mahadeva’s story

Bigbasket’s fresh fruits and vegetables are grown by farmers such as Mahadeva Swarmy, who lives in Mysuru, southern India. The company provides an agricultural specialist to work with Mahadeva and other farmers in the region and help them to improve their crop yields.

Mahadeva says that his income has increased since he started supplying the company:

“We receive better prices without the involvement of a middle-man. We also save time and money on transport costs. I can now provide a better education to my children.”

The warehouse: Parajitha’s story

Once the produce comes into the warehouse from the field, customers’ orders are sorted and packed ready for delivery. Parajitha works as a floor supervisor in Bigbasket’s warehouse in Bengalaru. Since joining the company four years ago, her career has progressed and she now manages a team of 200 people:

“I started as a cleaner, whenever I had the chance I would pick and pack products. My managers recognised this and promoted me.”

A steady income has enabled her to provide for her family and care for her husband, who is unwell.

The delivery: Jayakumar’s story

The orders are then distributed to the delivery team, before going to customers. Jayakumar is a student, who uses the money he earns from working as a delivery executive to pay his university fees. After finishing studying for the day, he starts his shift at Bigbasket, delivering around 30 orders a day to people living in Bengalaru.

His job has inspired him to pursue his studies further and look for a future career in India’s retail industry:

“My goal is to study further and become a manager at a company like Bigbasket.

How we invested in Bigbasket

In 2011, we invested in a fund managed by Ascent Capital to enable talented entrepreneurs in India to grow their businesses. The Ascent team identified Bigbasket as an ambitious start-up with significant potential to deliver impact. With investment, Bigbasket has grown to become India’s largest online retailer.

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