Founded in 2013, Bangladeshi company 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 instead of retail stores. Today, the company claims to be the country’s second largest grocery player 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 cycle was led by Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise; Sten Tamkivi, Topia Product Manager; and Xploration Capital, with the participation of Mir Group.
When Chaldal was launched in Dhaka eight years ago, it first took over orders from local grocery stores. But most of the town’s retailers are very small, and Chaldal could not guarantee that the items would be available to their customers. As a result, she decided to start building her own warehouse network.
“When we started Instacart was always the dominant model, but we took a different stance and said we wanted to deliver from our own warehouses because it leads to better inventory management,” said the co-founder and CEO Waseem Alim at TechCrunch.
Today, the company, a former Y Combinator, 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 flagship 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 to retailers. He also plans to launch a direct-to-consumer pharmacy.
Chaldal claims to have generated $ 40 million in revenue and fulfilled 2.5 million orders in the past 12 months, with growth of around 120% year-over-year. It currently sells around 8,500 product types and wants to expand that number to 30,000 SKUs by December.
Alim says Chaldal’s core grocery operations have been profitable for some time now, and he’s only investing money in building his technology or launching new verticals. One of the reasons he is able to make money is that Chaldal started consolidating deliveries early on, sending passengers from his fleet full-time with multiple orders at a time (he recently launched a part-time driver program). Batch processing also means that Chaldal is able to offer deliveries in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.
Chaldal also worked closely with suppliers and manufacturers. “We’re one of the most efficient online grocery retailers in the world in terms of the amount of capital that has been invested in us relative to our size, and that’s mainly because we’ve really worked with our chain. supply and all those details, ”Alim mentioned.
For example, it sources directly from farms and partners with big manufacturers like Unilever. “Walmart and stores like that don’t exist here, they’re mostly small retailers, so we were able to have a huge impact on the supply chain of things,” Alim said. “We continue to expand our micro-warehouse model and have started to support, as part of the delivery mechanism that we have put in place, many small traders,” including many sellers who have signed up to GoGo Bangla. during the pandemic.