The digital milkman startup, Doodhwala, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding in its pre-Series A round from investor Tom Varkey, a partner at Stonehill Capital, USA.

The app delivers over 70 varieties of milk while allowing users to shop ad-hoc everything from meat, vegetables, and fruits to shelf-stable items. Since deliveries are between 4 AM~7 AM shoppers receive fresh milk and groceries.

Ebrahim Akbari, Co- Founder, Doodhwala said

Doodhwala is set to digitize the milk delivery system.  We are the first in Bengaluru to provide fresh farm milk directly to houses. We have achieved this using a hybrid delivery model of part time delivery boys and existing doodhwalas who have a milk delivery network.

The infrastructure of fresh milk delivery in India is haphazard despite high demand and a shortage of supply. This gap makes us essential to milk suppliers and creates dependency on our delivery network. Customer acquisition is also very easy and cheap. Customers love the ease of receiving their daily essentials along with milk, and the comfort of getting in touch with their doodhwala.

Founded in 2015, Doodhwala is progressing steadily with over 1,00,000 monthly deliveries.  The startup has expanded operations to Pune while other cities are in its pipeline. The company will be operationally profitable by the end of 2017.

Founders of Doodhwala : Ebrahim Akbari[L], Aakash Agarwal[R]

Tom Varkey, Investor said

Doodhwala has an exceptional approach to the daily needs market. Their unit economics are healthy, as they have an impressive delivery infrastructure with a 25 percent month-on-month growth rate.

By lowering its delivery costs to Rs 3–5, Doodhwala is uniquely positioned in a sector where lots of E-commerce players are struggling. I am excited about our partnership and look forward to seeing this promising company expand.

Doodhwala is soon looking to close its Series A round. The startup will use its current funding to upgrade its technology, further penetrate the market, and grow its team size.

Aakash Agarwal, Co Founder, Doodhwala said

Morning delivery is an efficient model as it’s becoming the answer for consumers to buy products they need daily. We have 80 percent customer retention, and we are expecting the figure to increase in the next few months.

Our subscription model is the magic formula for customer loyalty, predictable income, user information and low inventory. It, additionally, gives customers the assurance that they will have what they need before they need it.

About Doodhwala

Doodhwala is a Bengaluru-based online grocer that is digitizing the traditional doodhwalas.  Doodhwala is the only app in Bengaluru and Pune to deliver fresh farm milk directly to houses. Besides milk the start up offers a variety of groceries, fresh poultry, veggies, fruits and household essentials at MRP. Founded in 2015 by Aakash Agarwal and Ebrahim Akbari, Doodhwala, is present in Bengaluru and Pune. For more details, please visit Doodhwala

For the first time in the history of the Indian food-tech industry, Eatfresh – an online platform delivering high quality, chef-made meals in Bangalore, received an astonishing order of 7000 kg plum cake worth Rs. 22 Lakhs from a city-based MNC.

As part of the Holiday season, these cakes are expected to be distributed internally to employees. Eatfresh bagged this order, courtesy its customers working with the MNC, given the quality of the food and service they experienced first hand.

EatFresh

Sharan Urubail, Head Sales, Eatfresh said

This is a huge moment for Eatfresh and for the food tech industry in India at large. We are seeing a rising trend among several individuals and companies who are now approaching the online space for ordering food and cakes.

Online orders for Christmas cakes and on-demand home delivery are a novel experience for Bengaluru this holiday season as such options were not available earlier. Consumers have now experienced and validated the quality of Eatfresh in terms of taste, culinary experience and the service we provide. Their trust in our products and service is of immense pride for us and our people. We will continue to deliver such experiences in the future to our valued consumers.

This Christmas, Eatfresh is offering a variety of special seasonal treats to its consumers across all its outlets in Bengaluru. Now you can order your special cake by logging on to the website to celebrate and spread some holiday cheer.

Definitely something to cheer about in the turbulent times faced by other food-tech startups !!!

About Ubiquitous Foods

Eatfresh was launched in August 2015 and delivers in 15 delivery areas around Bangalore. Fresh meals are created and prepared from scratch, by a carefully curated team of top professional chefs working from hygienic, A-Grade commercial kitchen facilities. All dishes are prepared with quality ingredients sourced daily from carefully chosen vendors.

Eatfresh’s delivery logistics are built on a world-class technology platform that guarantees that meals are delivered fast, hot and fresh. Eatfresh is a part of Ubiquitous Foods, which operates the bakery retail chain Ovenfresh in 50 locations serving 10,000 customers every day. For more details, please visit Eatfresh or follow them on Facebook and Twitter

The e-commerce landscape is rapidly changing in India & there has been an interesting set of companies built around Design, Portfolio Development, Logistics etc. The next wave after e-commerce is definitely “Food-Commerce” or “Food-Tech” & many startups have evolved in that category. Today, we have a chat with Sandeep Ghoshal, Co-Founder of Grubbr.in which aims to be the one-stop destination for “Food Discovery” for consumers!!

Let’s have a Q&A with Sandeep on Grubbr, Entrepreneurship & other aspects related to tech….

Can you give a small background about you, your start-up and its founders ?

We are three partners – two of us co-founded the company. My co-founder and I come with rich experience in Sales & Business Development & Communications. We are first time entrepreneurs. Our third partner however is a seasoned entrepreneur, having founded two companies already. He brings immense expertise of starting a business and running it successfully.

Every idea is born out of a problem/inspiration, what was the trigger of starting Grubbr.in ?

There were a few light bulb moments that brought us to the idea of Grubbr.  We love eating out and we’ve used all kinds of apps and websites to hunt for good food.

However, there were multiple occasions where we felt that these apps pointed us to a list of restaurants but were of little help when it came to deciding what to order, which happens to be the most universal eat-out question. Yes, there are helpful user reviews, but one needs to sift through a long list of reviews to get to the dish recommendations! When you’re hungry, that’s a big ask!

Besides, most reviews touch upon aspects like service, ambiance, price and other factors – not to say these are not important – but the dish recommendation tends to get buried under all this.

Grubbr cuts through all the bells and whistles and goes straight to the food. The app gives you a list of solid dish recommendations. As the user base grows and ratings increase, making a sound dish selection will become quick and easy!

Food Tech startups are the next wave after e-commerce wave, your comments on the same ?

2015 is all set to be the year of the food tech start-ups – several gurus and trend analysts have stated this. Right here in Bengaluru, we can see prime shopping streets slowly transform into ‘food streets’. As the restaurant business burgeons, ancillary services including food tech start-ups will also witness an upswing.

Presently the action is centered around restaurant recommendation and food delivery. The future, we believe, will be about food discovery.

Can you please elaborate on the Revenue Model of Grubbr ?

Grubbr doesn’t have a revenue model yet. For now, we are focusing on getting users and giving them the best possible dish recommendations – which means acquiring credible information and increasing coverage. We do have a few ideas on how to monetize, but at the moment all eyes are trained on gaining critical mass in information and user base.

How does Grubbr stack up against the other competitor’s that are also in the Food Tech space ?

Grubbr is in a very differentiated space of ‘dish’ recommendations. Till now the food space has seen players who recommend restaurants – Zomato, Burrp, Times city and such-like or deliver food; however, one space that is still largely unexplored is the food discovery space – a space that is relevant to both sets of ‘eat out’ consumers – the ones looking to go eat at a restaurant as well as those who want to order in. We believe Grubbr as a product, is ahead of the curve.

What are some of the issues [especially logistics] faced by food-tech startups ?

This really depends on the sub category of food tech that the company operates in – for companies that deliver food, the obvious pain points are delivery of the food, on time, to the users and ensuring a smooth financial transaction. For companies that operate purely in the information services space, like Grubbr, the issue is having enough feet on the street and getting credible information for our users. One thing common to all startups though is finding the right, committed manpower.

What are some of the USP’s of Grubbr ?

Grubbr is only focused on dishes, unlike other sites or app. Since users rate each dish on Grubbr, our dish and cuisine-based search is far more accurate. As a product, we are the first app to show dish photos, as they are served at the restaurant, helping users “see” the dish before they order

While food discovery is big in the US, Grubbr has bettered the model by combining crowd sourced information and collecting primary information on our own – this way we control data and quality of food images. Because we’ve invested in data collection, we are able to offer a comprehensive database of dishes and restaurants. In the past six months, we’ve covered over 900 top restaurants in Bangalore with over 3500 dishes. We still think this is a tiny number, but we’ve had several teething issues to address. Things are smoother now and we hope to scale fast.

Our hybrid model ensures that we collect primary data and at the same time allow Grubbr users to recommend dishes. This gives us far greater coverage and better recommendations.

Grubbr

What are the major changes that you experienced when you moved from an Employee to an Employer [or Entrepreneur] ?

While, as an employee you are [our rather should be] completely invested in your work and company, the level of ownership you feel for your own venture is something you never experience as an employee.

As an entrepreneur, I have personally learnt a lot more in the last 1 year, than I may have in the last 10 years of working.

What are your key advice(s) to people who want to start-up ?

Since we are “new entrepreneurs” ourselves, it’s perhaps a little premature to offer advice to other budding entrepreneurs. However, one basic truth is that the perceived threat of failure is larger than the actual. Today, you are as much at risk in your job as you are as an entrepreneur.

Also, the vibrant startup system today allows you more confidence to trade your well paying jobs for the excitement of doing something on your own…this wasn’t as easy back in 2008.

What are your views about the start-up landscape in India ?

Answered above.

How important it is for startups especially web, mobile & Food-tech to follow the “Lean Approach” ?

We are big believers in the ‘Lean approach’.  For instance, while the Grubbr app today serves the purpose of recommending dishes far better than anyone else in the market, this is still version 1 of the product. As we go along, we will adapt and improve, and add features that create more magic. It’s prudent to launch a basic product and then build on it, rather than wait endlessly for the perfect product and miss the boat completely! Besides, only once you launch the product can you infer the best use case.

The beauty of being a start up is that founders have their ears closer to the ground than CEOs of big companies…therefore you should be able to adapt more quickly.

As per you, when should a startup [especially in consumer business] plan a pan-India expansion ?

As soon as you have the requisite funds.

Which are some of the books which you would recommend for wanna-be entrepreneurs ?

There are some useful titles – such as The Outliers, The Lean Start-up etc. That said, a lot of learning happens on the ‘battlefield’, as you work through all the problems and glitches. Of course, you can also learn from other entrepreneurs, their success & mistakes.

One thing you need to bear in mind is the ability to keep things simple and focus on a few, important things.

Any parting words from you for budding entrepreneurs ?

Each entrepreneur finds their mantra in their own way. For us, it is about being passionate about what we do. Even when we are worried for our survival, we keep reminding ourselves of the reasons why we started Grubbr. That always cheers us up!

If you wake up feeling bored and tired with your project then it’s pretty much the end of the road. But if you’re excited, even when facing tough challenges, then you will find the courage to push on. The fear of failure is also strong and effective motivating factor that drive people, as long as you don’t let it bog you down. And finally, keep it simple and focus on doing a few things right.

We don’t know if Grubbr will be a hit or miss. We just love what we do, and we want to have lots of fun along the way. And yes, eat delicious food any chance we get !!

Do give Grubbr [iOS App & Android App] a shot & share your experience with us. If you have any questions for Sandeep or about Grubbr, please let them in the comments section !!

With an intention of solving the million dollar question of ‘what’s for lunch or dinner today’ for professionals and metro families, Bite Club, a Gurgaon-based chef-designed virtual restaurant is offering affordable home-style wholesome meals handmade by an expert community of chefs using the freshest ingredients. The guilt-free meals, desserts, and drinks are delivered straight from the kitchens of home chefs, recipe bloggers, ex- restaurateurs, professional chefs and many more.

BiteClub

The unique concept of Bite Club was initiated and implemented by three young engineers Prateek Agarwal, Aushim Krishan and Siddharth Sharma who during their bachelor days had no access to fresh and high-quality food. This prompted them to introduce an exclusive ‘restaurant in the cloud’: a virtual restaurant.

Prateek Agarwal, the CEO and Founder, Bite Club commented

A majority of times, people in metro cities have no access to good food and are left with an unpleasant experience when they order from restaurants. They also end up spending exorbitant amounts for the food they consume, which is mostly unhealthy with no guarantee of freshness or novelty. We at Bite Club celebrate good food and cater to those who are fans of variety and taste. We understand our patrons very well and our purpose is to fix their dilemma of access to delectable and appetizing food made with fresh produce. What’s more! We make sure that there is no minimum value to place an order.

Carrying certain traits of both a restaurant and a Tiffin service, Bite Club is not conventionally one or the other. Instead, it can be termed as a technology and logistics platform that efficiently connects the chefs to the consumers.

Within one year of its dawn, Bite Club has remarkably served over 25000 meals to 2000+ customers. Aiming to take its services beyond Gurgaon, it envisages delivering its sumptuous lunch and dinner boxes to every city of India and possibly even beyond.

Bite Club Android App can be downloaded from here

About Bite Club

Bite Club is a Gurgaon-based chef designed virtual restaurant which facilitates its native presence through android, iOS and web apps. It was brought into existence in November 2014 by three young engineers Prateek Agarwal, Aushim Krishan, merely a year after graduating from IIT alongwith Siddharth Sharma from NTU (Singapore). Bite Club was galvanized to fix the dilemma of access to delectable and appetizing food made with fresh produce. Sticking to their mantra of serving “Wholesome meals handmade by an expert community of chefs using the freshest ingredients,” it veers from regular restaurant fare. Bite Club lauds good and interesting food featuring a daily rotating lunch and dinner menu of sumptuous meals, desserts and drinks designed and prepared by chefs who promise innovation and variety with every meal.

[Image Credit – Bite Club]