HungerBox is a full stack, B2B food-tech company delivering food solutions for companies in India. Promoted by GrowthStory, the venture-builder platform founded by K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh, this start-up is scaling rapidly and already operates 75+ digital cafeterias for clients including Qualcomm, Microsoft, FirstSource, Accenture, CapGemini, Genpact, etc. Sandipan Mitra, founder and CEO, HungerBox, spoke to Sudhir Chowdhary about his venture and business prospects in this niche sector. Excerpts:
How large is the market for business-to-business (B2B) foodtech?
The B2B foodtech market is estimated to be a $25 billion market growing at a rate of over 10% YoY. As far as supply-side constraints, there are none that we can think of. It’s just a matter of being able to build scale to meet the demand.
How does HungerBox differentiate itself in the market?
My co-founder Uttam Kumar and I have been involved in the food space in India for a number of years now. We were part of the team that championed the concept of online food ordering in India 12 years ago with a business that was later acquired by Just Eat India. (Just Eat India was later acquired by Foodpanda). The idea of building a B2B foodtech firm originated from the huge,untapped opportunity. There was tremendous potential for a tech-led, disruptive solution that addressed the B2B foodtech space and that is what we decided to focus on.
HungerBox launched India’s first digital cafeteria in the month of September 2016. We offer corporate clients including FirstSource, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Genpact, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Lowe’s, Mercedes-Benz and Airbus a robust 100% customisable and scalable technology solution to manage their cafeterias.
Do you also cater to tier 2 and 3 cities?
Since launch, we have digitised 75+ cafeterias across the country. We are operational in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi/ NCR and Jaipur currently with expansion plans for other cities as well. The business has scaled tremendously over the last 15 months and we have contracts to serve more than 6,50,000 employees across the country; growth has been 3x over the last 3 months.
The speed at which we are growing can be judged by the fact that HungerBox used to process around 200 orders a day in October 2016; 12 months later, we process 200 orders in a minute!
What role does technology play in your venture?
Our value driver is our technology and hence tech plays a central role in providing value to all the stakeholders. HungerBox’s technology platform connects the food vendors, corporate employees and the company administration in real time, through a customised employee app tailormade for the respective corporate. HungerBox leverages latest technology advancements like IoT to connect the vendor side hardware (designed by HungerBox) and the employees, to communicate in real-time. It also provides features like personalised recommendations to employees through its AI driven technology setup, health mode for health conscious employees, etc., among other features.
What are your plans for business expansion?
We recently raised $2.5 million in pre-series A funding led by Lionrock Capital and Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder, Infosys. Our business has scaled over the last 15 months with nearly 7 million orders placed on our platform till date. We are clocking more than 120,000 daily orders and expect to scale this to half a million orders per day by end-2018. With the current client pipeline we are estimating we will reach 4-4.5 lakh customers by this time next year.