Swiggy, the two-year-old hyper-local food ordering start-up is staking claim to the top spot in India’s food-delivery space—one that has been roiled in the past year with many players floundering amidst intense competition. Food delivery is estimated to be a $15-billion market in India.
Co-founders Sriharsha Majety, 30, and Nandan Reddy, 29, both BITS Pilani alumni (Sriharsha was a trader at a London investment bank while Nandan had built his own startup to design a software for small restaurants), started off building ‘Bundl’, a logistics application to solve the shipping woes of e-commerce merchants by getting couriers across India onto a single platform. That’s when they got hooked onto the potential of hyper-local delivery. Along with Rahul Jaimini, 29, an IIT Kharagpur graduate, who’d previously worked with Myntra as a developer, they set about building Swiggy. “We noticed that the food ordering pattern for restaurants was rather unorganised,” says Srivats T.S., Swiggy’s vice-president (marketing).
Swiggy processes orders on its platform and has its own delivery fleet, which picks up and delivers food to customers.
“After that, we’ve grown from strength to strength. We started off in Bangalore and then expanded to various cities and we are present in all the key cities and metros now,” says Srivats.
Swiggy, which has raised $75.5 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, SAIF Partners and Accel Partners, delivers in seven cities and counts over 9,000 restaurants on its platform.
“We’ve looked at balancing growth with profitability...we don’t believe in heavy discounts. We want to be humble about our success as we have a long way to go. This has happened because of our customer loyalty, the app experience and delivery quality,” says Srivats. “Our brand resonates with consumers.”
That’s where social media comes in handy—videos, blogs, quizzes on food on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, besides push notifications or emails. For instance, one of these approaches is called ‘Know Your Food’, where they go to restaurants and shoot videos of food and how it’s made. “There’s a bunch of suggestions that we make to consumers and we see a very strong response...whenever we put out one of these videos we have a high reach without a formal media spend behind it,” he says.
Of course, the key metric for these initiatives, as he puts it, isn’t transactions, but what lend the brand a personality. “So, when consumers engage with Swiggy, it comes across as a likeable, youthful, energetic brand,” says Srivats.
Aren’t customers getting more demanding, though? “We always have to be on our toes...right from the time they use the product to place an order to when they actually receive it and eat their food. We’re always looking to improve.”