Indian startups are known for their flexible work culture and adaptability. But how have they have coped up and adapted in the current lockdown scenario is something we must very well be aware of.
Most of the companies have encouraged employees to work from home but there is a huge chunk of businesses that can't afford to work from home - like delivery agents, can drivers, logistics services, etc.
However, they are taking steps to counter the effects of this pandemic and still keep fighting.One such persevering startup who is dedicated toward fighting this pandemic is Swiggy.
Started in 2014 with a handful of employees it has now developed an established presence in almost every major city in India. Swiggy saw its topline surge in FY 2018 with a 232% increase in the revenue at ₹442 crores.
However, the first of the big tests was to arrive the coming year which saw some intense battles between Swiggy and other magnates in the food delivery arena like Zomato, Foodpanda and Ubereats (Zomato acquired Ubereats’ Indian operations later on) towards offering higher discounts and promote the brand in a bid to garner larger market shares.
None the less Swiggy had to expand operations to further improve its market share. The main reason behind this was that the firm was operating on losses in FY 2019 and required an aggressive expansion to gain higher market share.
Quite recently it managed to acquire a Series I funding from its major investors, with Chinese conglomerate Tencent leading the way by investing around ₹142.5 crores. Totally, Swiggy managed to raise up to ₹327 crores ($43mn). Swiggy had been valued at an all-time high of $3.65bn bringing to light the perseverance and efforts of the Swiggy family.
Taking a step ahead to more recent times when the pandemic wasn’t such a prevalent fear among the common people, Swiggy had surpassed its 2020 target of delivering 320 million orders a year with over 500 million orders a year.
Delivering to more than 500 cities in India, with over 1.4 Lac restaurant partners and more than 1 Lac delivery partners, It has not only provided for food delivery but also for acting as a driving force of employment across the nation.
Then came the biggest test in the form of the nationwide lockdown imposed on March 24 which led to the economy undergoing a tumble, a true test of baptism by fire for Swiggy. While most businesses ceased operations, some tried to adapt but failed to do so but Swiggy didn't give up. They quickly incorporated new standards and re-engineered their business model to effectively fight the changing structure of the economy.
It adapted in the form of the 5 measure model
But the lockdown posed another massive challenge, possibly the biggest one though during the lockdown. Due to the food delivery business among other industries taking a severe hit due to the lockdown, Swiggy was forced to lay off close to 1100 employees, nearly 14% of its workforce. To mitigate the blowback that the company was to receive by this move, Swiggy released an official statement stating that all of the impacted employees would receive advanced pay equivalent to 3 months of service irrespective of their notice period or tenure to see the employees and their families through the lockdown period.
The company is also choosing to shut down adjacent businesses that are either going to be highly volatile or less relevant for the next 18 months. However, it is constantly working on scaling operations and also taking care of the customer base owing to the perilous situation at hand.
Delivering 20 lakh meals in 18 cities is one such example of the many commendable feats that Swiggy has managed to pull off during the nationwide lockdown.
It was a crowdfunded initiative with collaborations with food suppliers providing and helping those who were in dire need and helpless. They also started delivering grocery essentials, an unprecedented feat so far for them but still, they managed to succeed, all down to meticulous planning and efficient execution.
Quite recently Marriott international announced their "Marriott on Wheels" initiative collaborating with Swiggy. It is a new model for the former and decided to go ahead with Swiggy as their delivery partner.
Swiggy also has got in talks with the government on the delivery of alcohol. It started liquor delivery in Jharkhand’s capital 'Ranchi' and is further expanding to other states. The liquor sales easing seems to be the next potential risk towards spreading of the pandemic and Swiggy is planning ahead and adapting fast.
It wants to reduce human contact by this as the recent alcohol resumption went south with respect to safety measures.
Quite recently, Rahul Jaimini, one of the founders of Swiggy moved out of the firm to newer pastures joining Pesto Tech, a career accelerator startup.
Jaimini who was involved in responsibilities such as platform engineering, analytics, IT operations and SwiggyLabs will now be reporting to Dale Vaz as the new head for Data science and engineering for the startup.
According to Sriharsha Majety, the CEO of Swiggy and also one of the founding members, technology was a crucial part and was something that the founders set out to build and maintain while starting Swiggy. And now as it has reached its peak, Jaimini has now set out towards more challenging endeavours.
All in all, it is quite a fabled story on how this unicorn startup hasn't given up even when the economy has shut down in theory and is still managing to keep up in the game and “deliver” on time.