Over a million app downloads, 8 cities and 5,000 restaurants - Swiggy’s 17-month journey from bootstrapping to closing 3 funding rounds
Every entrepreneur’s journey is different with their own share of highs and lows, but what binds each one of them is the passion to commit, and the ‘never-say-no’ attitude. We at Accel are proud to have associated with such go-getters, whose journeys are motivating life lessons for many new and upcoming entrepreneurs. Here, we share one such inspirational founder’s story.
Nandan Reddy (29) and Sriharsha Majety (31) both alumni of Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, are second time lucky entrepreneurs. Back in the year 2014, they worked together on their first startup venture, Bundl, a logistics aggregator which connected small and medium companies to courier service providers. The business started off fine. However, after almost a year into it, they realised their focus needed to change from the courier service field to the food industry.
In the year of working with like minded people. Nandan and Sriharsha realised there was a strong need for an online hyperlocal logistics company in the restaurant industry. By 14 August, the duo made their dream into a reality by rolling out Swiggy, the country’s first online food ordering platform. They roped in Rahul Janimini, an IIT Kharagpur alumni, to do coding work for the platform.
Back in 2014, Swiggy was founded in an office space in Koramangala, Bangalore. One neighbourhood, six delivery executives and 25 partner restaurants is what Swiggy started off with in the beginning, Growing at 25 percent month-on-month,. Almost four years into the field, Swiggy now has a major presence in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. Not just that, they are partnered with 12,000 restaurants and over 13,000 delivery executives. According to the RoC data filed by the company, the net worth of the company is Rs 3,86,34,590 with a turnover of Rs 7,41,702.
Coming from a background of entrepreneurs, Sriharsha (Harsha) Majety, founder and CEO of Swiggy says, “Entrepreneurship was always in my blood. My father runs a restaurant in Vijayawada, and plans to invest in the hospitality sector and my mother is a doctor by profession and has her own clinic. She is also planning to start her own chain of beauty parlours. Seeing my family members being in charge, and taking control of what they do was an inspiration from early years.” says Harsha.
He also credits his journey to pursuing an Engineering degree at BITS Pilani, where he got an opportunity to meet people from different background and cultures. “I think those were my formative years. Unlike other colleges, Pilani never forced students with attendance, which gave us a lot of time to pursue our passions. I met a lot of people and dabbled in a lot of passions like quizzing, photography and travel.”
Being a travel buff, Harsha went on a lot of backpacking trips across South-East Asia and Europe. His traveling pursuits taught him a lesson or two about the world, which has also helped in his entrepreneurial journey.
In one of his backpacking trips, Harsha realised how to tackle failures and unpreparedness with calmness and patience. “I went on a bicycle trip across Portugal and was not at all prepared for the weather conditions. I was exhausted, stranded and on the verge of giving up on the trip. I was helped by my holiday host, who took me in and helped instil the confidence to continue the journey. I was under a lot of pressure and he just told me that if I can’t cycle uphill then I should hitch a ride uphill, and cycle only downhill. Which made a lot of sense then. He also made me understand that it was okay to pause and take a break and think about the long-term goal and not the short-term failures.”
These incidents have shaped Harsha, and even today he thinks that the issues of short-term can be resolved by not trying to put too much pressure and thinking about the long-term goals. “I think I have tried to apply the Zen approach in life to the extent possible and this has been immensely helpful in gaining some composure. That whole trip was about three months of cycling which was about 4,000 km by myself from Portugal to Turkey.”
According to Harsha, one personality trait that has shaped him as an entrepreneur is stubbornness.
“I was really stubborn about doing things that excited me and was ready to commit myself to it”.
This is one of the reasons why he chose to give up campus placements and took a one-year gap before joining IIM-Calcutta
For Harsha, the inspiration came from Phanindra Sama, Founder of RedBus. In 2006, when Sama discussed his venture plans of going public, Harsha thought it was a crazy idea. But after returning to India he saw the growth of RedBus, which instilled the idea of taking the plunge.
He started meeting and discussing ideas with Nandan Reddy (Co-founder, Swiggy) and both saw a huge opportunity in the ecommerce industry with successful platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, e-Bay and more. One thing both were sure of was doing a business that is a mix of technology jobs as well as offline jobs.
“We thought that we will find that competitive advantage by being not just a pure software company or not just a pure offline company,” adds Harsha
They realized saw potential in the unorganised logistics and shipping sector within the ecommerce industry, and thus was born their first venture, Bundl, in August 2013.
From the time of its inception, this online platform has raised large sums of money which more than proves Swiggy’s worth as a food ordering platform. Starting from discovery through visual menus, massive reduction in delivery time and no minimum order, Swiggy has become the highest used online platform. With over 12,000 restaurants in their roster, industry best average delivery time of 37 minutes and reduced overhead costs, Swiggy has positioned itself at the top of this field. To make sure they are here for the long run, Swiggy has launched a host of exciting features like Swiggy Pop, Swiggy Access and Swiggy Schedule. With constant developments in their technology, Swiggy has made sure it has secured the number one position in the country in relation to the online food ordering food.
On the importance of service and delivery time for foodtech startups, Sumer Juneja, Principal Norwest Venture Partners, says,
Food delivery in India is about delivering within 35 to 40 minutes. If you are unable to do so, then the company isn’t solving a consumer problem. So when you are growing you need to control delivery. If I can get food from close to 10,000 restaurants in 30 minutes, then you are truly offering great service and value.
When it comes to food and ordering food, India is a young country with a lot of untapped potential. As a customer centric company, Swiggy as an online platform is entirely dedicated to improving the process and experience of food order and delivery. Since its inception, Swiggy has rapidly grown to become a leader in the Indian food delivery sector by consistently shrinking delivery timelines and improving customer experience