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Ninjacart: the startup that connects farmers and retailers for easier transport of produce

What is Ninjacart?

All types of fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that are essential for the proper working of the body. But what about the chemical and pesticides that are used in farming which can make its way into our bodies through the produce? Moreover, the harvest often perishes when it reaches your hands. It is not feasible to directly purchase them from the planters either. Have you ever wondered how these fruits and vegetables get transported from the farmers to the markets without being spoilt? Read on to know about a startup named Ninjacart that makes this procedure easy for both the parties.

Ninjacart (1) is a supply chain platform which collects fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers and delivers it to small and medium businesses. It was launched by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Sharath Loganathan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sachin P Jose and Vasudevan Chinnathambi in May 2015. Ninjacart is based in Bangalore and works based on a B2B business model which connects farmers to the markets. With the help of Ninjacart, the farmers no longer have to go through the trouble of delivering the products by themselves. It can be quickly taken to the markets in the shortest time possible so that it remains fresh while selling.

As of now, Ninjacart helps more than 40,000 farmers in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Gurugram and Pune who supply their products to more than 60,000 stores and eateries in these cities. Their productive supply chain helps to transfer the goods from the farms to the markets in less than 14 hours. Ninjacart claims that they have been able to reduce this rate of wastage to less than 4 per cent. The fruit and vegetable market is a sector that is worth around 220 billion dollars and has immense opportunities for a startup like Ninjacart.

The birth of Ninjacart


In the beginning, the founders of Ninjacart wanted to initiate a platform where people could order fresh produce. The orders were communicated to their retail partners who supplied the goods. However, they noticed that many obstacles along the way delayed the efficiency of delivery. Moreover, the customers were not willing to pay the delivery charges just for the convenience provided by online booking. There were various instances of customers dissatisfaction because they received less than what they ordered. The supply chain was filled with many communications which led to the perishing of the goods before it could be sold to the customers. The farmers did not have the essential information regarding markets, and the middlemen struggled to carry large amounts of produce from one point to another.

Due to the numerous layers of carriers, the farmers gained very insignificant profits through this business. The logistics were very poor, and the founders of Ninjacart saw a large room for improvement. They decided to focus on the bigger problem that troubled the agricultural sector. The trouble was building the right team with people who were good at managing the operations needed for transportation. Finally, Ninjacart was modified into a B2B platform which helped the retailers and farmers through an economical way of transporting fruits and vegetables. It reduced a lot of unwanted wastage of money for both the parties.

The farmers could sell directly to the stores and markets without any mediators, which offered them maximum revenue. On the other hand, the retailers no longer had to travel long distances to get their required goods. The technology-driven team, with their mission to help the agricultural sector, is the backbone of Ninjacart. They have helped to make the supply chain more efficient and less expensive for the clients. Over the years, Ninjacart has made this business more convenient and increased the income for the farmers in Bangalore. They have been able to find solutions for most mistakes that existed in the traditional methods used by Indian farmers. By offering innovative solutions and services, Ninjacart has come a long way in this area.

Success through the years

Ninjacart receives its profit from the fees paid by the farmers and retailers. While the receivers of the goods like stores, restaurants etc. have to make immediate payments, the farmers can avail a credit period of up to two weeks. Ninjacart collects a platform and carrier charges from them which is deducted from the selling price. However, unlike other forms of transportations, the farmers do not have to pay a logistics fee, thus leading to a considerable increase in their profits. By the year 2017, Ninjacart was dealing with more than 30 tonnes of fruits and vegetables each day.

With just five years, Ninjacart has been able to make considerable improvements in their farmer networks. They strive every day to enhance the technology that promotes the smooth function of the supply chain. In a field where the business fluctuates with the economy, demand and even the changing weather conditions, Ninjacart has been able to establish a firm hold since 2015. Farmers are a part of the Indian economy that makes significant contributions but often become underpaid. Only by uplifting this section will the country be able to flourish. Efficient logistics and supply chain can come a long way in supporting the farmers and ensuring maximum profit. The team of Ninjacart hopes to build an even more reliable logistics network that can help thousands of more farmers in the years to come.

Ninjacart funding and investments

Ninjacart received 3 million dollars through their Series A funding conducted in March 2016. Accel Partners led another round in April 2017, which raised 5.7 million dollars. In December 2018, Ninjacart carried out a Series B round of funding which was able to bring up 250 crore rupees. The Series C round of funding was conducted in April and July of 2019, the first if which was led by Tiger Global Management. It raised a total of 100 million dollars. 

Walmart made an undisclosed amount of investment in Ninjacart in August 2019. Flipkart, Singapore-based GEC3 and Minu Kataria led this latest round of funding. Using the 10 million dollars secured through this corporate round, Ninjacart hopes to increase their user base, supply to more locations and improve the quality and better transport of the produce.