British International Investment

A view from an investee company

By Vipul Parekh, Co-Founder of Big Basket


2019 was important for Big Basket. We saw a growth in our customer base and we grew 40 per cent, boosted by the $40 million CDC invested in our business.  

The capital we’ve received from CDC has enabled us to make changes in two significant areas.  

Firstly, we’ve been able to invest heavily in our delivery model, establishing 70 ‘dark stores’ in India’s 10 largest cities, to keep produce closer to customers. When you move the storage closer to customers, it means more deliveries can be fulfilled on bikes, rather than via vans, which is cheaper and more sustainable for the environment. Now around 65 per cent of our deliveries are on bikes.  This change also significantly improves the customer experience and increases customer loyalty as we have been able to reduce costs.  

Secondly, with CDC’s investment, we’ve been able to develop our agri-supply chain, working directly with around 30,000 farmers who supply our fresh fruit and vegetables. We’ve put in place more collection centres near major Indian cities. The farmers supply their produce to our collection centres which are run and organised by trained agronomists, who work with the farmers to provide training and support.  

We’ve also used the capital from CDC to set up two model farms, where we can teach our farmer suppliers about the best processes and fertilisers, helping them to become more effective in their trade and increase their productivity.  

We are already seeing results as farms are becoming more sustainable and reducing waste. Currently, our waste from farm to customer is 6 to 7 percent, compared to the market average in India of 20 to 25 percent.  

Working with CDC has enabled us to build out our supply chain and reach more customers while bringing more farmers into our network. We’ve been able to expand where we work and ensure that we do this as sustainably as possible.   


This article is taken from our Annual Review 20129: Towards a decade of action. Read it here.

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