By Ondrila S Sarkar
Swiggy, the online food delivery start-up founded in 2014 with five personnel and 25 restaurant partners, has now grown to 20,000 delivery executives with partnerships of over 20,000 restaurants. The company, which has raised $155 million in funding till now, reported a loss of Rs 137.18 crore in FY16 compared to Rs 2.12 crore in FY15, while the revenue rose to Rs 23.59 crore in FY16 compared to Rs 11.6 lakh in FY15, according to registrar of companies data. Scotching reports of a potential merger with rival Zomato, Sriharsha Majety, CEO and co-founder, Swiggy, said it is a tech company that prides itself on operational excellence as it unveiled a new initiative in an interview with FE’s Ondrila S Sarkar. Excerpts:
What is Swiggy Access?
Swiggy Access is a sales model for restaurants to expand into areas which they want to but cannot because of capital issues. Restaurants don’t have to invest in terms of real estate but can quickly launch in a certain area. It aims to provide consumers with the choicest food options in their neighbourhood, along with Swiggy’s seamless delivery. These ready-to-occupy kitchens will offer restaurant partners a basic setup with the required amenities. No rent or deposit will be charged for premises. Partners will be able to leverage Swiggy insights to improve their food quality through consistent consumer feedback. We have launched a restaurant insights app for owners where they can get real-time information on how their business is doing.
How many cities will have Swiggy Access?
Right now, we have the first kitchen that is live in Bengaluru and we have partners like Leon Grill, Punjabi Rasoi, Keventers, etc. Some of them are already running and getting strong traction. Regarding expansion, this will be a pan-India initiative and we will roll it out one by one. With our learnings, we will need to fine-tune the model and you will see us launch a few dozen restaurants over the next few months. Right now, there are four restaurants on board and we will have 40 in a few more months.
Do you think most food tech start-ups are grappling with scale and hyper-competition?
It is an incredibly hard and complex business and each model is very different. If you look at aggregators, a lot of them shut down in 2015, and although some of them are trying to scale, sometimes it can be for a lack of capital and at times, for lack of strong product market fit.
Do you think that a ready-to-occupy kitchen is better than having a cloud kitchen?
Our private brand is also housed in the same kitchen where we are working with restaurant partners. We have not stopped anything. We are obsessing over this consumer problem because they cannot find the things they want to eat and many use cases are not fulfilled today. There are different solutions for different problems, like there is an area called home food. If we don’t see any restaurant or brand solving this home-styled food problem in a few years, that’s when we will think of solving it ourselves. So we are attached to the problem, not the solution.
What will be Swiggy’s major focus areas in 2018?
Our mission is to change the way India eats apart from servicing the customer better than last year and widening the assortment to enable users to order on a higher frequency. Swiggy wants to be like a utility app for every Indian. We want people to order food at least 15-20 times a month. That can only happen if you solve deep problems and not just act as an occasional food delivery provider. For us, it is about how we balance growth and customer service in the long run.
Is there any one particular area where you feel you need to up your investments?
We constantly keep upping our investments, specially in technology. Even from our last fundraising, a large part of it was used for ramping up our technology.
What is the credit limit for the Swiggy Capital Assist Programme?
We are not very specific on this and have very competitive rates. We have tied up with Indifi and have got a good traction because 400 of our restaurant partners have already applied for this programme.