India's Jasper Infotech, which runs e-commerce site Snapdeal, has acquired a stake in local grocery-ordering app provider PepperTap, which would give the two companies a chance to use each other's capabilities.
SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Snapdeal led the $36 million investment, meaning it put in the biggest share, and was joined by existing investors -- venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and SAIF Partners, PepperTap said, in a press release Tuesday.
The on-demand grocery delivery startup, which is only about nine months old, is looking to raise an additional $20 million in coming weeks, it said, underscoring the scorching pace at which e-commerce startups in India are spending money to build out their businesses.
Jasper founder Kunal Bahl has said his aim is to build an ecosystem -- much like China's Alibaba Group Holding -- on top of which a multitude of different online transactions can be conducted by consumers and businesses. Snapdeal recently made an entry into India's increasingly competitive mobile wallet business, with one built in-house at FreeCharge, a mobile payments technology company it acquired in April.
PepperTap is projected to reach an annualized $250 million in total value of goods sold on its mobile phone app by the end of the year, from about $1 million at the start of the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2016, the company said. Gross merchandise value is one measure of the growth of privately held e-commerce companies though it doesn't directly reveal any information about revenue or profits.
With more money at its disposal, PepperTap plans to expand to 75 cities in India, with a staff of 5,000, by the end of the current fiscal year. It will also "invest heavily" in technology and its supply chain, according to the company.
Other new investors who joined in this round include Ru-net, a venture investor in Snapdeal; Palo Alto-based Jafco Ventures; and BeeNext, a Singapore-based venture capital company.