Everyone, everywhere seems to be busy. For many working professionals, the weekend to-do list is much longer than a to-do list at the workplace. They, therefore, prefer to complete their household and personal work via online platforms, ordering groceries online to booking home salon service to even ordering furniture for doorstep deliveries, and all this only means the few minutes that it takes to meet the delivery man at the door.
However, even these few minutes are becoming a drag, as it clashes with their daily routines. “The delivery time overlaps with office hours, then there is coordination required with the delivery personnel and then it’s no more convenient,” says Sagar Yarnalkar, CEO and co-founder, DailyNinja, a subscription-based hyperlocal delivery platform.
Bengaluru-based DailyNinja was one of those start-ups that have stepped in to solve this problem of mis-matched timings. It offers early morning services targeting this set of working professionals, delivering milk, bread, eggs, vegetables, amongst other daily needs items between 4 am and 6 am. Similarly, Gurugram-based milkbasket.com delivers milk, bread and other groceries before 7 am. Several other start-ups are also coming up with their versions of early morning deliveries, especially in the metros.
While early morning milk-and-bread deliveries may seem a natural progression for online grocery shops, what is avant garde is on-demand beauty services firms offering a helping hand before you start your day. “Many women wants a blow dry done in the morning before leaving for office,” says Chinmaya Sharma, co-founder and CEO of BigStylist, an on-demand beauty service start-up, which offers special ‘JustBeforeOffice’ salon services from 7.30 am to 9 am for office or college goers in Mumbai and Pune.
The start-up was founded in July 2015 by IIT Kharagpur alumni Richa Singh, Chinmaya Sharma and Anurag Srivastava. Singh and Sharma hold MBA degrees from IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore, respectively. BigStylist’s conception stems from one of the founders’ personal experience when trying to get timely and quality home beauty service.
“Richa, co-founder and my wife, had to travel a lot in job, and on weekends, she needed to rest rather than spending time at a salon. Also, it was not easy to find a quality salon around. So, we thought of standardised beauty salon services at home,” explains Sharma.
BigStylist gets around 10 orders everyday for morning slots, and 80% of the clientele are working women. The start-up is clocking overall growth of 25% month-on-month on orders.
It has so far raised $2 million as part of seed and pre-Series A funding rounds from Info Edge, which runs a slew of internet properties such as Naukri.com, Jeevansathi.com, Zomato, PolicyBazaar, to name a few. The start-up is now approaching VC firms for up to $5 million funding for expanding its operations. BigStylist plans to expand its services to Hyderabad, and Delhi-NCR by June this year.
“There are multiple start-ups out there targeting busy professionals. The market for morning deliveries has been in existence since a long time with delivery of milk, newspapers, etc. The big question, however, is if there is a space to replace the local milkman, or is there an opportunity to create an ecosystem and collaborate with the milkmen and newspaper vendors,” says Rutvik Doshi, director, Inventus (India) Advisors, who works closely with entrepreneurs and tracks the Indian start-up ecosystem. According to Doshi, these start-ups have to bring the existing local delivery vendors into the fold and enable them with technology to capitalise on this latent demand.
“We have tied up with local milk vendors. Since these milkmen already serve these local markets, there are no problems in co-ordinating for addresses with the delivery personnel,” says DailyNinja’s Yarnalkar.
Incorporated in June 2015, the start-up is clocking 11,000 orders per day and registering month-on-month growth of 15%. It now plans to expand its services to Hyderabad this year. DailyNinja has received seed funding by TaxiForSure (TFS) co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna, NuVentures and some other angel investors.
Knowing that a wholesome, cooked breakfast is a rare luxury for busy professionals, InnerChef and Zomato are now offering breakfast delivery as a special feature targeted at office goers.
“We believe breakfast is a huge opportunity in India. We have focused hugely on developing this category under our initiative #AllDayBreakfast. Breakfast category is growing fast for InnerChef, monthly growth has been on an average of 25%,” says Rajesh Sawhney, co-founder, InnerChef.
You may also like to watch this video
Going ahead, for the early morning services, the key areas for the urban family would be laundry pick-up, daily consumption food items like batter, milk, eggs, meat, fish, bread, baby care products when the kid is left with a nanny, medicines when there are older people at home who are alone, says Sreedhar Prasad, partner- internet business and start-ups, KPMG in India. “This is a category whether there is a latent need in the market, especially in the metros where both spouses are working and have a long commute time,” Prasad added.