Founded in 2013, Bangladesh Chaldal was one of the first grocery delivery startups in the world to use the “dark” store model, picking up orders from its own warehouses rather than retail stores. Now, the company says it is the second-largest grocery player in the country and the largest grocery e-commerce platform, with 27 warehouses located in four cities. Chaldal plans to expand to 15 new cities with a recently closed $ 10 million Series C. The round was led by Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise; Topia Product Manager Sten Tamkivi; and Xploration Capital, with the participation of Mir Group.
When Chaldal launched in Dhaka eight years ago, it first picked up orders from local grocery stores. But most of the city’s retailers are very small, and Chaldal couldn’t guarantee that the items would be available to its customers. As a result, he decided to start building his own warehouse network.
“When we started, Instacart was still the dominant model, but we took a different stance and said we want to deliver from our own warehouses because that leads to better inventory management,” co-founder and CEO Waseem Alim told TechCrunch.
Now the company, a Y Combinator alumnus, has 27 warehouses located in four cities (Dhaka, Naryanganj, Chattogram and Jashore). It will expand to 15 new cities and plans to open 50 warehouses by the end of this year. In addition to its major grocery deliveries, Chaldal will expand GoGo Bangla, its on-demand logistics service for small e-commerce businesses, and the Chaldal Vegetable Network, which connects farmers directly with retailers. It also has plans to launch a direct-to-consumer pharmacy.
Chaldal says it has generated $ 40 million in revenue and placed 2.5 million orders in the last 12 months, with year-on-year growth of about 120%. It currently sells around 8,500 types of products and wants to expand it to 30,000 SKUs by December.
Alim says Chaldal’s core grocery operations have been profitable for a while now, only investing cash in developing its technology or launching new verticals. One of the reasons you can make money is because Chaldal started bundling deliveries early on, sending passengers from its fleet full-time with multiple orders at once (it recently launched a part-time driver program). Batching also means that Chaldal can deliver in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.
Chaldal also worked closely with suppliers and manufacturers. “We are one of the most efficient online grocery retailers in the world in terms of the amount of capital that has been invested in us compared to our size, and that’s mainly because we’ve been really working with our supply chain and all those details, “Alim said.
For example, it sources products directly from farms and partners with large manufacturers like Unilever. “Walmart and stores like that don’t exist here, they are mainly small retailers so we have been able to have a huge impact on the supply chain side,” Alim said. “We continue to expand our micro-warehouse model and have started to support, as part of the delivery mechanism that we have built, to many small merchants, ”including many vendors who signed up for GoGo Bangla during the pandemic.