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Exclusive: ZopNow shuts down operations; founder floats e-comm enabler ZopSmart


One of the early evangelisers of online grocery in India – ZopNow has shut down operations in all cities. The Accel-backed firm has been downscaling operations for over past seven months and has seemingly halted business last month.

Currently, its website redirects to ZopSmart. This is a new venture by its founder Mukesh Singh that provides tools to build e-commerce businesses, omnichannel businesses and pure play e-tailing for conventional retailers.

Founded in 2011 by Mukesh Singh and Bal Krishna Birla, ZopNow pivoted from the inventory model to become pure-play marketplace in 2014. It used to serve in 10 cities including Bengaluru, Delhi (NCR), Mumbai amongst others.

According to Entrackr’s sources, the company had sold out its assets (software, proprietary tools etc.) to More Stores before it was jointly acquired by Samara and Amazon in September 2018. “ZopNow was unable to either grow or raise more capital. Either way, it was going to die,” said two sources aware with a string of developments occurred at the Bengaluru-based firm.

Sources indicated that technological assets held by ZopNow was sold out to then Aditya Birla-owned retail chain for a meager sum. “Investors got nothing from ZopNow. In fact, they had internally written off the online grocery marketplace couple of years ago,” emphasised sources.

Dragoneer Investment Group, Accel Partners, Times Internet, and Qualcomm Ventures invested over $10 million in ZopNow. It was reportedly valued at around $50 million when the deal was closed in 2015. “The firm lost momentum and started fumbling right after Birla’s departure. And it is evident from the fact that ZopNow was unable to raise follow-on funding rounds,” outlined sources.

Meanwhile, it appears that ZopSmart has retained the leadership and engineering teams from ZopNow. Presently, it’s a team of about 36 people. The firm offers end to end e-commerce solutions ranging from website to payments, marketing, and operations amongst others.

Sources also emphasised that ZopSmart has been working with some high profile clients from the US and Europe. Its product portfolio includes SmartStore for medium and big retailers, and a smart point of sale and payment gateway for others.

Online grocery space has witnessed many casualties since early 2015. About two dozen startups shut operation as they failed to either convince investors or figure out unit economics. Sequoia and Snapdeal-backed Peppertap, Localbanya and many others went out of the business.

With ZopNow joining the league of the aforementioned companies, the battle for online grocery space is limited to Grofers and BigBasket along with relatively new Swiggy Store and dunzo. While Flipkart and Amazon have been ramping up their grocery verticals, they are yet to capture a decent scale.

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