Unilever - investing in Indian start-up.

Unilever - investing in Indian start-up.

Unilever's in-house venture capital arm has invested in Indian start-up Milkbasket.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant's Unilever Ventures arm led an investment round of around US$3m in Gurgaon-based Aaidea Solutions, which runs the grocery delivery service.

Milkbasket's owner said it will will use the funds to strengthen technology and expand its product assortment and customer base.

The firm delivers milk, bread, eggs and butter to customers' homes every day at 7 am and is looking to add further grocery lines to its service.

Customers put their orders in via an app up to midnight on the previous day.

Milkbasket currently takes 6,000 orders a day. They are predominantly in the Gurgaon area but the company has ambitions to expand into places such as Pune and Hyderabad.

Anant Goel, CEO of Milkbasket, said: "The endorsement from Unilever Ventures is an important mark of confidence in our potential. We envision to become a strong player in the online top-up groceries platform space in India within five years."

Olivier Garel, head of Unilever Ventures, said: "We aim to support disruptive emerging commerce models and Milkbasket's approach, leveraging Indian consumers' habits and preferences, bringing convenience and attractive unit economics, is definitely one of them." 

Milkbasket, founded in 2015, has raised money in two previous funding rounds, including one in August that gave EVC Ventures an exit.

Unilever Ventures, which invests in early-stage companies, was established in 2002.

It now has EUR450m (US$554m) under management and has 40 direct investments, including organic and non-GMO ingredients business Sun Basket, grocery store delivery business Instacart, recipe box business Gousto and smoothie brand Froosh.