SoftBank, Goldman Sachs mint unicorn in Indian commerce startup ElasticRun

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 has led a $300 million investment in ElasticRun as the Japanese conglomerate doubles down on its commerce bet in the world’s second largest internet market.

Goldman Sachs and existing investor Prosus Ventures also participated in the Pune-headquartered startup’s Series E round, according to regulatory filings ElasticRun made on Monday. The new round values ElasticRun at $1.5 billion.

TechCrunch reported early last month that SoftBank and Goldman Sachs were in talks to back ElasticRun.

ElasticRun helps hundreds of thousands of neighborhood stores across hundreds of Indian cities and towns secure inventory from top brands and working capital. It collaborates with e-commerce firms and other big brands to help these stores boost their revenues. The e-commerce firms and brands, in turn, gain access to a large market that has historically proven difficult to penetrate.

The new round, which pushes ElasticRun’s all-time raise to over $430 million, brings more capital to the startup than it had raised in all its previous funding efforts combined.

ElasticRun has developed a crowdsourced, asset-light logistics network of partners who deliver the services to the neighborhood stores (popularly known as kiranas). Some of the major firms that work with ElasticRun to tap this network include Amazon, Tata Consumer Products, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Reliance Retail, India’s largest retail chain.

The startup is the latest in a series of bets SoftBank has made on India’s commerce market. The firm has also backed Flipkart and social commerce startup Meesho.