Furlenco featured among a clutch of city-based startups that are taking the pain out of settling in Bangalore.
Faasos, the food technology company, with an assuring tagline ‘Leave Food to Us’, aims to cater to the woes of consumers who don’t get to eat well-cooked healthy meals on a daily basis, and have to resort to limited food options while ordering food. It currently has operations across eight cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Chennai, Indore and Gurgaon.
It has been in the news for taking orders through Twitter and, now, it has launched a call-to-action campaign on social media, print, outdoor and radio (e-wallet, girlfriend, khichdi and delivery). Titled ‘We got your food, have you got our app?’, the campaign is promoting Faasos’ upgraded mobile application present across Android and iOS platforms. For the record, the app has seen three lakh downloads so far.
The Faasos app allows consumers to track their orders in real time, do cashless payments, order meals anytime and relish the food items which change daily. The campaign also brings to light the Faasos wallet feature that helps foodies store cash, which can be utilised for cashless payments during times of money crunch.
Revant Bhate, co-founder and head of marketing, Faasos, says, “The proposition of the business is to serve those people who, because of their fast-paced lives, end up not having four meals a day. Ordering food has its own set of problems, including menu, delivery time, minimum order etc. Faasos delivers four crucial meals a day, with a dynamic menu, in 20-30 minutes. The menu changes everyday according to one’s location, apart from few staple items. Hence, we chose a very call-to-action campaign.”
The company’s TG is consumers from 18 to 34 years, hailing from SEC A and B, living away from their homes. Currently, it claims to do around 3000 deliveries across eight cities in the country and aims to solve supply chain and quality control issues through technology integration. The company has a total of 125 fulfillment centers, headed by supervisor in charge, across cities from where food is prepared and delivered.
“Customers should not have to deal with the inefficiency of the supply chain and quality issues when it comes to food. This is the problem we are addressing by integrating technology in our operations. Our entire warehouse and supply chain is linked through technology through which we can control the experience of the product till the time it comes to us and reaches the consumer,” explains Bhate.
The company, instead of manual checks, records and monitors each and every aspect of the business through the mobile app.
“Operations and quality personnel as well as trainers visiting the Faasos fulfillment centers have to fill in their respective checklists, which is GPS-enabled. If he/she is present in that location, but hasn’t recorded the details, it will be known. There are 10-15 points which are recorded every four hours,” he adds.
The company bets big on its referral system through which its user base is expanding gradually. For every referral, a Faasos consumer gets Rs. 100 in their wallet as referral money. Although the company is investing in traditional media, Bhate says, digital continues to have maximum impact on its business, because that is where the TG is most active.
Speaking about future plans, Bhate reveals that, in order to further ease out the food ordering process, the company will be integrating WhatsApp ordering on its app soon.
Incorporated in 2011, Faasos owns and technologically operates all the three important aspects of a ‘food on demand’ business, viz. ordering (the most convenient ordering app in the country), distribution (availability of food across different cities) and fulfillment (delivery through the company’s own logistics or delivery boys). It has secured Series A funding from Sequoia Capital in FY2012 and Series B led by Sandeep Murthy-backed Lightbox Ventures in FY2015, which has assisted Faasos in its expansion plans significantly.
Startup Asia Bangalore 2014 organized a venture capital panel featuring some of the most prominent names in startups and funding in India discussing tech and innovation in the country. Sandeep Murthy from Lightbox was one of the panelists, along with Rahul Chowdhri of Helion Ventures, Ranjith Menon of IDG Ventures India, Bhavanipratap Rana of Intel Capital and Veena Avadhanam of Mumbai Angels.
Sandeep Murthy, partner at Lightbox, was featured on Live Mint during the coverage of the Goldman Sachs’ event Tech Net, taking place in Hong Kong. Read his thoughts on the current tech euphoria in India below among other news from HK:
Snapdeal, the Indian e-commerce start-up backed by Softbank Corp. and EBay Inc., will keep buying companies as it works toward becoming profitable in two years.
Building everything from scratch is a losing proposition, Kunal Bahl, chief executive officer and co-founder of the five- year-old company, said in an interview.
“We’re not going to be frivolous about it,” he said on the sidelines of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. technology conference in Hong Kong. “If there’s something we can’t build internally, then we’ll do it. If we want to do everything ourselves, we’ll be too late.”
Bahl said he expects Snapdeal to become profitable in two years, once its investments in logistics and technology infrastructure bear fruit. He has bought 10 companies in the past seven months, including most recently app-developer MartMobi, to capitalize on an acceleration in Indian e-commerce over just the past few years.
Snapdeal is eschewing a one-size-fits-all Amazon-style retail strategy in favor of connecting distinct marketplaces: one for luxury goods, another for consumer products and so on.
Snapdeal and local rival Flipkart are competing with foreign entrants alike such as Amazon.com Inc. in a growing market fueled by cheaper smartphones and rising incomes.
The potential for India’s e-commerce market, a vision stoked by the rapid evolution of China’s, is drawing billions of dollars of investment, spurring startups and boosting valuations.
Snapdeal raised 90% of its capital in just the past 11 months and is now valued at about $5 billion, Bahl said. Flipkart’s last round of funding valued it at $15 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A lot of money will go toward the pursuit of growth for now, Flipkart chief financial officer Sanjay Baweja said in an interview on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of investment which is happening, in increasing reach, increasing scale,” Baweja said on the sidelines of the conference. “There’s a sense of a land grab.”
Soaring valuations have coincided with a persistent lack of profitability.
That’s normal in a market undergoing deep changes. Only about 2% of India’s retail sales is now online, versus the double-digit percentages in other more developed markets.
The growth of online commerce may, for instance, require heavy discounting initially that in turn pressures profitability.
“With every disruption, there’s going to be a bubble created,” Lightbox Ventures Partner Sandeep Murthy said in Hong Kong Wednesday. “To get you to change your behavior, I have to give you an incentive.”
If you are looking for branded, refurbished goods, head to one single destination, GreenDust.com. Shop here for ACs, LEDs, Smartphones, et al and give your bit towards saving the environment as well.
During the Indian Retail and eRetail Congress and Awards 2015, Retailer Media caught up with the “Engineer-turned-entrepreneur” Hitendra Chaturvedi, Co-founder & Managing Director, GreenDust, to know his views on the future of eCommerce against the mCommerce storm.
Can you please talk to us about GreeDust and the business model?
GreenDust is one of India’s largest eCommerce companies for refurbished and open box items. We do not sell second hand products but these are returns coming from Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, LG, Samsung, Sony, Haier etc. We repair and refurbish it and we use eCommerce and mCommerce to sell it to customers who are looking for branded products which are way cheaper. And these products come with a warranty.
What is the outreach of GreenDust?
We are pan-India. When it comes to eCommerce, we can deliver anywhere and Tier II and III cities are our biggest market. Few days back, we did a flash sale of Xiaomi mobile phone and almost 70 per cent of my customers who pre-booked the mobile phone were from these cities.
What is the market share of this industry and where do you see GreenDust fitting in?
If you look at McKenzie’s study, eCommerce in India by 2020 will be about $115 billion and return in eCommerce industry ranges anywhere between 10-15 per cent. If you do the mathematics, it’s about $17 billion worth of products will be returned every year and OEMs such as LG, Samsung etc. or even traditional retailer, that’s another $6-7 billion. So, a total worth of $25 billion products get returned every year in India and we are the market leaders with a huge head-start but still scratching the surface.
How good has eCommerce behaved over the past decade?
India, when it comes to eRetail is growing much more as compared to traditional retail. Traditional retail requires very expensive real estate, structure, people, attrition rates and so forth. So, the growth of traditional retail will always be less than that of eRetail.
But still, one of the breakthroughs for eRetailers will be to figure out how to sell bigger appliances online. In tier II and III market, buying a big appliance such as a refrigerator becomes a social activity. The entire family goes in the evening and buys it. So, larger appliances are one area that eRetailers need to breakthrough.
Can you put some light on the investment front of GreenDust?
I usually do not talk about exact numbers, but yes, we are funded. We are funded by Vertex Ventures and I think we are India’s only eCommerce company that is profitable today.
How has the mCommerce revolution helped GreenDust?
If I look at the tier II and III cities where Internet penetration is not very high, most of the people will have a mobile phone and if they get a data plan, they are Internet enabled. So, if you even look at the population of Tier I cities, it’s a very small fraction of Indian population, majority of the people are in tier II and III cities and further down. If these people have the excess to the Internet it is but natural that the growth of mCommerce is going to be much more than traditional eCommerce. In fact, we are also planning strategies in which we will have certain flash sales only through mobile applications. And we are focusing more on android than iOS because a large chunk of our customer base is on android.
What is your take on Net Neutrality?
I completely support Net Neutrality. Internet with the principles by which it was founded, we should preserve it. Let us not try to monetise that and let us make it a common platform and let us make it everybody’s birth right to have access to the Internet for free.
How was your experience with the Indian Retail Congress 2015?
I think this is a powerful medium because as entrepreneurs and businessmen, we sit and struggle with certain problems that we don’t get answers to. And when you have a mind-melt of likeminded people coming together, there could be synergies in terms of innovation solutions and finding answers to some problems that we already have. So, that’s a great job done!
Dinesh Agarwal, founder of Indiamart.com, has been investing in start-ups since 1999, having done so in about 35 firms. He recalls only a couple of instances in the 2000s when start-ups were bought out and investors got an exit – eBay.in buying Bazee.com and Monster buying JobsAhead.com.
Now, thanks to a spurt in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among start-ups in recent months, venture capital (VC) and angel investors have been able to make exits on their investments, which are otherwise difficult to come by. So, Olacabs bought TaxiForSure, MakeMyTrip took over MyGola, Snapdeal bought Freecharge, Facebook took over Little Eye Labs and Twitter acquired ZipDial.
“This is very good for VCs and entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur might not be the right person to scale up a business. To create, scale-up and handle mature businesses, you need different DNAs, M&As enables that,” says Agarwal, who invested in Little Eye Labs. Global Super Angels Forum, Ventureast Tenet Fund II, 500 Startups, and KAE Capital Fund were the major investors in Little Eye Labs.
“Earlier, investors would be able to exit when a company scales up and goes for an IPO (initial public offering) or raises a follow-on funding,” he says. A funding crunch at the Series-A stage a few years ago made follow-on funding and exits difficult for start-ups and investors. Investors say the current momentum in M&As show India is coming of age, as there’s a lot of money in the system.
“Many companies have been funded in the same genre/sector. Not every one of them is going to succeed. Successful companies might want to buy and consolidate. It may not provide an optimal exit for an investor,” says Prashant Mehta, partner at VC firm Lightbox. Many of these M&As have been driven by investors common to both companies – Flipkart buying Myntra (Accel Partners), MakeMyTrip buying MyGola (Helion Ventures) – but is not necessarily always a bailout.
“The smaller company could have created a niche, could have good technology but for 10 reasons, could not scale. For some, it is a faster way to acquire technology and market,” says Mehta. Embibe, an education start-up funded by Lightbox, bought a small firm, 100Marks, which has complementary content.
A disturbing part of the M&As is that it is like a race, driven by capital. “The whole mentality is gain market share, customers; I’ve got capital,” says an investor.
In the US, the big buyers are large players such as Intel, IBM, CISCO, Google, Yahoo and now Facebook, Twitter. “The large companies in India haven’t yet bought anything of significance. Till that happens, the M&A activity will not be comparable to western countries,” says Anand Lunia, founder at seed stage VC firm India Quotient.
“We are not seeing a lot of foreign companies buying Indian startups to expand to India. Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo have made token buys mainly for technology. These deals have not been major events for investors,” says Lunia. It’s a matter of time, say other investors, that you will see more of these deals.
Reverse logistics, one of the biggest operational challenges in the world of e-commerce, has recently sharpened its focus. Hitendra Chaturvedi, CEO and founder of Greendust, is one of the featured experts in the following piece from the May 2015 issue of Cargo Connect.
Find below scans from the print edition:
Faasos, India’s first and largest food technology business today launched the upgraded version of its Mobile App (iOS and Android) to deliver an enhanced and seamless food-ordering experience to its patrons. The App is the first of its kind in the world that gives an accurate delivery time estimate based on the items ordered, the location of customers and current load at the delivery centre. It also provides an accurate minimum delivery amount estimate that is in sync with the location of the customer. Also, the app presents a different menu to the patrons depending on the location and the time of the day.
Launching the new app Mr. Revant Bhate, Co-founder and Head of Marketing, Faasos said, “We are extremely delighted on upgrading our mobile app with ground-breaking features that provide the accurate delivery time and amount, thus giving a compelling food-ordering experience to our customers. By coming up with the advanced version of the app, we have gone one notch higher in our attempt to serve the customers in the best possible way.”
The new Faasos app presents daily specials in the menu, breaking the monotony of regular meals. With the e-wallet feature, consumers don’t have to worry about payment on delivery. Food lovers can savour single portions without having to share with anyone else. With a hassle-free ordering procedure, consumers can place the order in just 30 seconds or less and track it in real-time. They can build their own combos and have a three-course meal without burning their wallets. They can even repeat their last order, with a single click.
The feature of providing a variable minimum order threshold depending on the distance of the customer from the delivery centre, allows the customers who stay within 5 to 10 minutes walking distance of delivery centres, to add a beverage of Rs 30 if need be.
Grow your e-wallet by inviting your friends to download the advanced version of the Faaso’s app and satiate you taste buds with all your favourite meals- from Biryani to Noodles. No matter the time of day or occasion, Faaso’s app delivers on its promise of timely meals as per your order, wherever you may be!
Incorporated in 2011, Faasos is India’s first and largest food technology business. The company’s forte lies in speedy and seamless delivery of quality food, high in taste. As the only vertically integrated food business in the country, Faasos owns and technologically operates all the three important aspects of a ‘Food on Demand’ business, viz. Ordering (the most convenient ordering app in the country), Distribution (availability of food across different cities) and Fulfillment (Delivery through the company’s own logistics or delivery boys). Series A from Sequoia Capital in FY2012 and Series B led by Sandeep Murthy backed Lightbox Ventures in FY2015, has assisted Faasos in its expansion plans significantly. With its wide assortment of sumptuous meals from breakfast to dinner, delivered to customers at any time of the day; Faaso’s aims to become the best-in-class ‘Food on Demand’ business in the country, with the apropos tagline ‘Leave Food to Us’.
NRF (National Retail Federation)’s initiative ‘Retail Across America trips’ visits businesses large and small to see what retail is really like in cities across the country. On camera and behind the scenes, retail executives and small business owners share their hopes, challenges and advice, and after road trips through eight different states, we’ve spotted some common themes.
Small businesses have to work especially hard to reach customers, and some of the savvy entrepreneurs we’ve visited are using social media to build their brands and their own distinct communities. Photojojo has been featured as one of their favorite success stories:
Photojojo’s unique and quirky personality endears the brand to customers around the world.
Photojojo, an online retailer that sells smartphone accessories and camera “goodies” to photography enthusiasts, is a small e-commerce operation with a big personality. This San Francisco-based company started in 2006 as an email newsletter focused on “the very best photo tips, DIY projects and gear.” The brand has grown to include a popular online store that also offers a “disposable camera” iPhone app and “Phoneography 101” course.
Chief Everything Officer Jen Giese uses her company’s digital presence — 400,000+ plus followers on Twitter, 73,000+ on Instagram and 230,000+ on Facebook — to cultivate “real life” connections through meetups, events and pop-up shops. “I personally am really into taking experiences online and bringing them into real life situations. I think people are just really hungry to take what they’re doing on Instagram and sharing online into real life … We’ve always had a really great following of people that are really inspired and active,” Giese says.
Cleartrip, one of the top tier online travel services firms in the country, said mobile generated over 53 per cent of its total traffic in the January-March 2015 quarter.
Here’s some other quick nuggets from it’s Quarterly Mobile Insight:
– The firm said over 70 per cent of it’s mobile customers are now using mobile as their only channel for transactions.
– Cleartrip’s claims its transactions grew by 214 per cent year-on-year where mobile now accounts for 40 per cent of the total bookings at an average transaction size of Rs 8,000.
– The firm said 47 per cent contribution to it’s mobile traffic comes from ‘mobile web’ which means mobile apps is bringing just over half of the total mobile traffic.
Consumer internet ventures, including OTAs, have been pushing their users to access their sites through the mobile. They claim mobile users have better conversion rates in terms of transactions.
Several firms have been offering additional discounts to users for buying products through their mobile apps to push mobile usage further. Indeed, some top e-commerce platforms in the country have been mulling moving completely to mobile apps in the near future. Some have also shut down their mobile site versions.
Cleartrip’s data shows still a significant section of users are accessing mobile sites instead of specially crafted mobile apps which require smartphones. Mobile sites, in comparison, can be accessed by even feature phones with internet connection.
According to a report by consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, India will see more than 580 million people going online by 2018 out of which 70-80 per cent will be accessing the web on mobile phones.