grofers startup story
Credits - The Financial Express

In these challenging times, most of us do not have the time to step outside the house to buy grocery. Let alone buying grocery, we do not have sufficient time to spend with ourselves. Technology has not only allowed us to buy grocery in the comfort of our home but also save money while doing it.

Grofers is one such startup which caters to the needs of those individuals who struggle to strike a balance between work and home. Grofers is a portmanteau of grocery and gophers. It is a budget-friendly online supermarket which has myriad products that it delivers to anywhere. These products include grocery & staples, beverages, furnishings, household needs, personal care products, breakfast and dairy, snacks, frozen food, pet care products, kids products, instant food, fruits, vegetables, et cetera.

Grofers is a sub-organisation of Grofers International. It was founded on the 27th of December in 2013. Grofers has its headquarters in Gurgaon, Haryana. Being a private company of Indian origin, the startup aims to become the one-stop shop for all the daily needs. The company currently operates in 18 cities namely: Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Noida, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kanpur et cetera. Payments gateways on the app include Net Banking, Debit/Credit card, Paytm, PayUmoney, Citrus et cetera.

Grofers was founded by Albinder Dhindsa and Saurabh Kumar. Albinder Dhindsa began his career as a transportation analyst at URS Corporation and continued the same for almost 2 years. In 2007, he moved to Cambridge Systematics as a senior associate. Dhindsa holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and an MBA from Columbia University – Columbia Business School.

He is from Patiala, Punjab. According to Whizsky, after completing his education, Albinder came back to India and joined Zomato as Head of International Operations. He worked there for three years and learned how a business is run. The idea for Grofers struck him when he was working at Zomato.

Saurabh Kumar, from Gurgaon, Haryana, is the co-founder of Grofers. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 2006 where he studied B.Tech Civil Engineering. In 2006, he went on to study MS in Transportation Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Before founding Grofers the worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Texas at Austin from September 2006 to December 2007. Later, he worked as a Senior Analyst at Cambridge Analytics for 2 years and 9 months. He was also an Associate at Opera Solutions for 10 months before he joined Rasilant Technologies as COO in October 2011. He worked there till October 2013. This was when he co-founded Grofers with Albinder Dhindsa.

The idea first came to the founders when they were in the United States of America. Albinder Dhindsa met Saurabh Kumar while working with Cambridge Systematics and kept in touch with him without an entrepreneurial motive of any sort. Albinder & Saurabh noticed interstices in the logistics of the delivery industry and sensed a substantial untapped opportunity for business.

They realised that the local merchants had an extensive customer base but were failing to deliver services at their doorsteps due to lack of capital and infrastructure. The merchants lacked the scalability to deliver services of better quality. Albinder and Saurabh felt that the transactions between customers and merchants were very disorganised. As a result, they brainstormed for an idea that would bridge the gap and help merchants grow while also making things more convenient for buyers. This laid the foundation for Grofers which was then called OneNumber.

Initially, it was just a delivery service before they decided to actually source the products. They had a few restaurants which were a part of their network. Over time, they realised that most of their deliveries comprised of groceries and everyday household needs. This was a cue for them to narrow their business model down to these two things. Soon, they rebranded themselves as Grofers which today is a hyper-local logistics company.

Grofers has raised a total of $241.8M in funding over 6 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Mar 16, 2018, from a Series E round. Their first funding round was in December 2014, in which they raised $500K in a Seed Round. The second Series A funding round took place in February 2015.

The major investors were Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management who funded the company with $10M. Sequoia Capital invested another $35M during the same year in April. In November 2015, Soft Bank funded Grofers with $125M in a Series C funding round. Series D funding round saw a whopping $960M funded by Grofers International in October 2017 followed by an investment by Soft Bank worth $4B in March 2018.

The number of employees working at Grofers range from 1001-5000. The application has been downloaded more than 5 million times and is rated 4.4 stars on the Play Store. Grofers claims that it is currently clocking revenue of ₹150 crore per month.

“The number of orders has increased tremendously in the last one year. Also, an efficient delivery mechanism has brought down the cost per delivery by 40%, which has further helped control losses,” Albinder Singh Dhindsa, co-founder and CEO, Grofers, told Financial Express.

Grofers has posted a 167% increase in daily orders at 40,000 against 15,000 during the same period last year, while the order value remains the same at about ₹1,500.

Dhindsa said, “We are targeting revenues of Rs 2,500 crore by FY19 and much of the growth will be driven by an increase in sales of private labels.”

Of the total stock keeping, 900 products are sold under its own brand name- Grofers. It offers a range of products such as flour, pulses, cleaners et cetera.

“Private labels contribute 40% of our sales. Another 10% of sales come from white labels — these are lesser known brands manufactured locally. The aim is to push the sales of private labels in order to earn higher revenue,” the CEO said.

Grofers, which currently has 6.50 lakh customers shopping on the platform, claims to be adding between 70,000-80,000 customers per month. The company is currently valued at $300 million.

According to Economic Times, Grofers is planning on entering the FMCG segment and is targeting an overall revenue of ₹2500 crore in 2019. It is targeting a stronger growth trajectory in 2019 with a 50% contribution from its private brands.

“With this, Grofers’ private labels expands to 250 food and non-food products for its consumers. With this significant business expansion, Grofers aims to drive the next wave of growth for e-commerce sector by bringing the next 100 million customers to its platform,” it said in a statement.

The products from its personal brand will include tea, coffee, fruit jam, muesli, tomato ketchup, cereal, household products, kitchen appliances, et cetera.

“Our foray into the FMCG segment uniquely differentiates and positions us in the e-grocery business. This vertical expansion is key to drive our next phase of growth in India. In the last five years, we have received an overwhelming response from our customers and experienced tremendous growth,” Grofers Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Albinder Dhindsa said.

“Through many industry-first initiatives, we have been instrumental in bringing new customers to the e-commerce fold with 15 per cent of this customer base being our monthly unique shoppers. Our focus is to service the families of India who are yet to experience the world of e-commerce and our target is to bring the next 100 million new customers to e-commerce industry through our platform,” he added.

One of the biggest competitors of Grofers is BigBasket. It is based out of Bangalore, Karnataka with annual revenue of $175.6 million. They have an estimated 4,780 employees. Other competitors include BiggMart, Zopnow, Tokri, SatvaCart, Jiffstore et cetera.

Grofers has materialised a revolutionary idea which has made people’s professional lives so much easier. It has allowed them to devote more time to their work while managing their households effortlessly. How likely are you to use and recommend Grofers to your friends and family? Tell us in the comments below.

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