Swiggy backs bike taxi platform Rapido in $180 million funding

Swiggy has led a $180 million financing round into bike taxi startup Rapido as the Indian food delivery giant looks to broaden its fleet network across the country, the two firms said on Friday.

Rapido’s Series D financing round also saw participation from TVS Motor Company and existing investors Westbridge, Shell Ventures and Nexus Ventures. The new round values Rapido at over $800 million.

The six-year-old startup, which also counts Kunal Shah of CRED and Amarjit Singh Batra of Spotify India among its backers, offers its two-wheeler service in about 100 Indian cities. Rapido, which has raised $310 million to date, says it has amassed over 25 million customers and 1.5 million driver-partners who it calls captains.

At a time when most other fleet startups and firms, including Ola and Uber, have struggled to make deeper inroads in India (in part because of the unfeasible economic model), Rapido’s major focus on two-wheelers has allowed it to continue to slowly grow. A number of other firms, including Swiggy’s chief rival, Zomato, have been looking to back Rapido in recent months, a person familiar with the matter said.

“We hold a lot of respect for the resilience Rapido has displayed in transforming the mobility and logistics space in India,” said Sriharsha Majety, co-founder and chief executive of Swiggy.

“Swiggy and Rapido share a vision to build a logistics platform that empowers riders through more opportunities and higher earnings. While we’ve already been working together, this investment facilitates closer alignment to leverage the synergies between the platforms and improve the value we provide to both consumers and delivery executives/captains across the country,” he added.

Aravind Sanka, co-founder of Rapido, said the startup will use “learning from Swiggy’s experience” to scale “throughout” the country and enhance its riders’ experience.

“Besides, TVS Motor, who are very passionate about EVs and the future of mobility, will help us in further expansion. We hope to accelerate our pace of becoming a household name as we increase our geographies and services, on the backbone of our robust, global-standard technology,” he added.

The startup hopes to expand to serve 50 million customers in the next year, he said.