Bizongo

South Asia Manufacturing

Bizongo is India’s largest integrated B2B platform focused on packaging and unbranded consumables, bringing the highly fragmented manufacturing market of SMEs into a digital supply chain.

Our investment

CDC invested $3 million alongside Chiratae Ventures to help scale Bizongo’s business across an additional 1,000 small businesses, sustaining at least 20-30,000 formal jobs for low-income workers in manufacturing SMEs in India. With most suppliers pointing to the lack of good alternatives to Bizongo in the market, CDC can play an important role in backing an innovative model that is driving efficiencies across the sector while contributing to MSME growth. CDC can further play a stewardship role around social and environmental practices, setting standards for the industry and enabling Bizongo to reduce execution, reputational, and negative impact risks as the business expands.

Impact

Sustain income generating opportunities (SDG 8.5).

How?

Direct: By aggregating small-scale manufacturers on its online platform, Bizongo enables better market access for these small businesses, additional demand, and efficiencies (better capacity utilisation, planning, and faster working capital) fuelling business growth. Bizongo’s main manufacturing partners have experienced more than 150 per cent year-on-year revenue growth since doing business with Bizongo. More than 65 per cent of suppliers report improved growth in customers and sales due to Bizongo.

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Suppliers, their employees

Pan-India: 24 Indian states out of 36 (including Union territories)

  • Mainly unskilled workers within the bottom 43 per cent of the population.
  • More than 80 per cent of suppliers employ female employees, where they make up 25 per cent of the workforce.
Scale Depth/Duration

Additional 1,000 manufacturing partners across India, indirectly sustaining an additional 20,000 to 30,000 workers.

50 per cent of surveyed suppliers report improved business outlook due to Bizongo and report paying their workers more than similar businesses. A majority of the unskilled workforce is made up of contractual labour, who work at these firms for 2-3 years on average. Employees in managerial or administrative positions tend to stay on for longer, with some reporting over 10 years and some reporting as many as 20 years of employment

Grid Score Contribution

-

This investment is made under an approved Catalyst Strategy, and therefore does not require a grid score.

Market context: Lack of funding for early-stage ventures in India constrains market growth. Series C deals have the lowest volume increase by investment stage year-on-year. Few market alternatives to Bizongo’s services exist.

To help us direct our investments, we use a tool called the Development Impact Grid. The Grid scores every investment we plan out of a score of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in the country and whether investment in that sector will lead to jobs.

Financial: The commercial market does not offer capital in sufficient quantities to meet the company's plans / needs. The round would be smaller without CDC’s co-investment, which could affect the expected scale of impact. We are confident that we are not crowding out commercial capital.

Risk
  • Execution: Relates to the risk of Bizongo not being able to scale up their network expansion across new geographies and business lines beyond packaging. This risk is aligned with commercial risks and can be mitigated through CDC and Chiratae’s strategic value-add.
  • Unexpected: Relates to the risk of some manufacturing partners failing to deliver quality employment conditions for workers and having a negative climate impact (e.g. water pollution). Risks are not correlated with commercial risks and will be mitigated through partners’ Environmental and Social Management Systems.
  • Alignment: Risk of impact not being entirely correlated with future business strategy and growth, impairing ability to reach low-income workers at scale. As the fragmented nature of the Indian market is unlikely to change in the next 10-15 years, Bizongo’s competitive advantage will remain focussing on MSMEs, sustaining our impact thesis. The medium-term risk to any change is believed to be low.

Environmental and social aspects

As a co-investment under our venture capital scale-up programme, we worked collaboratively with Chiratae Ventures (our co-investment partner) and IFC to develop an appropriate approach to environmental and social issues with Bizongo, including supply-chain management.

Key facts

Status:
Active
Region

Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

:
South Asia
Countries:
India
Sector

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

:
Manufacturing
Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

:
Co-Investments Equity
Amount

For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.

:
$3.01m
Domicile

This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.

:
India

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