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HIGH ROUTE

Timeline: How late-entrant Swiggy became India’s most valued food-tech startup

By Durba Ghosh

Swiggy was one of India’s biggest startup success stories of 2018.

From entering the prestigious club of unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) to becoming India’s most valued foodtech venture, the Bengaluru-based food delivery startup had many highs this year.

Most recently, on Dec.20, it raised $1 billion (around Rs7,000 crore) in the largest-ever funding round by an Indian food tech startup. This round reportedly values the four-year-old startup at $3.3 billion, according to analysts.

Now, Swiggy, which joined the food-tech race in India later than some of its rivals, is the fifth most valued startup in India, analysts said. It has left behind some of its older rivals like Zomato, which was founded in 2008 but was valued at $1.1 billion in February.

But Swiggy’s success has come after several speed bumps.

The first one was even before its inception. In August 2013, a few years after graduating from BITS Pilani Sriharsha Majety and Nandan Reddy founded Bundl Technologiesa logistics and shipping startup for small sellers retailing on e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon India. The venture failed to take off and within a year, the two shelved their original business model to start Swiggy.

Within a year, Swiggy was faced with a major rival, Zomato, a well-established brand in restaurant discovery space at the time, which decided to launch food delivery operations.

Here’s a look at how Swiggy overcame all hurdles to become a household name in urban India:

When What
August 2014 Swiggy is founded as a hyperlocal food delivery business by Sriharsha Majety and Nandan Reddy, along with IIT-Kharagpur graduate Rahul Jaimani. It begins operations in Bengaluru’s upscale neighbourhood of Koramangala with six delivery executives and 25 restaurants on its platform.
April 2015 Raises Rs12 crore ($2 million) from Accel Partners and SAIF Partners at a time when the startup ecosystem is going through a funding crunch. The company now has 150 delivery personnel and has so far serviced over 30,000 orders.
April 2015 Expands operations to 11 neighbourhoods in Bengaluru. It also launches in Gurgaon, now Gurugram, and Delhi.

It ties up with 300 restaurants and now fulfills 1000+ orders daily.

June 2015 Scoops up $16.5 million in series B funding from Norwest Venture Partners.
June 2015 Launches operations in Hyderabad.
July 2015 Expands its services to Mumbai and Pune.
Nov 2015 Swiggy now has a presence in seven big cities: Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, and Kolkata.
Jan 2016 Raises Series C round of $35 million from Singapore-based RB Investments and New York-based Harmony Partners, along with existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, SAIF Partners, and Accel Partners.
June 2016 Launches Swiggy Express, an in-house platform offering chef-made meals in less than 20 minutes, to all the markets it is present in.
April 2016 Reaches 1 million orders every month. Swiggy now has over 5,000 restaurants on its platform with 3,000 delivery boys.
May 2016 Raises an additional Rs47 crore from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, DST Global, and Accel Partners at a valuation of $130 million.
May 2016 Introduces surge pricing on selective occasions such as national holidays, festivals, and in case of excessive rains.
Sept 2016 US-based venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners leads a new funding round of $15 million for the company.
Sept 2016 Order deliveries increased to 40,000 a day. The company now has 9,000 restaurants listed on its platform across seven cities.
Oct 2015 Appoints Myntra’s co-founder and former CEO Mukesh Bansal to its advisory board.
Jan 2017 Launches The Bowl Company, Swiggy’s cloud kitchen (delivery-only restaurants) to offer a limited menu where restaurants do not have a physical presence.
March 2017 Expands services to Delhi-NCR, including Faridabad, Noida Expressway, and Greater Noida.
April 2017 Introduces post-midnight delivery till 2 am in Delhi- NCR, and Hyderabad.
May 2017 Naspers lead $80 million investment round in Swiggy in Series E funding. The company now has 12,000 restaurants on its platform.
July 2017 Reaches 5 million monthly orders.
July 2017 Four former employees anonymously accuse the founders of manipulating costs and commissions in favour of its in-house kitchen, Bowl Company.
Sept 2017 Appoints former Olam International executive Rahul Bothra as its first chief financial officer.
Oct 2017 Launches Swiggy Capital Assist, which gives collateral-free loans to restaurant partners.
Nov 2017 Announces the launch of Swiggy Access in Bengaluru, its first virtual kitchen facility for existing restaurant partners. It will act as a central base for delivery with five kitchens of different restaurants.
Nov 2017 Launches Swiggy POP in Bengaluru, which offers a curated menu of single-serve meals in the range of Rs 99- 200 from neighborhood restaurants.
Nov 2017 Announces its launch in Ahmedabad.
Dec 2017 Acquires the management of gourmet food startup 48East as part of its strategy to broaden its senior leadership.
Dec 2017 Appoints Vishal Bhatia as chief executive officer for its supply business. Bhatia led the global growth strategy for Reckitt Benckiser Group earlier.
Dec 2017 Partners with employee benefit provider Sodexo to allow users to use their meal cards on Swiggy for easy payment.
Feb 2018 Launches ‘Swiggy Scheduled’, allowing users to plan and order their meals in advance.
Feb 2018 South African media giant Naspers leads an investment of $100 million in Swiggy along with new investor Meituan Dianping.
Feb 2018 Launches operations in Jaipur by roping in over 300 restaurants in the city.
March 2018 Forays into Coimbatore after beefing up presence in Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad. Swiggy now has a fleet of over 20,000 delivery persons and over 25,000 restaurants across 12 cities listed on its platform.
March 2018 Partners with ICICI Bank to allow its delivery partners to use Unified Payment Interface (UPI)-based solution for instant fund transfers on-the-go or for depositing cash at automated cash deposit machine available at ICICI Bank branches and ATM locations.
March 2018 Partners with Flipkart’s arm PhonePe to enable a new payment option for customers besides mobile wallets, pay later, cash, cards, and net banking.
April 2018 Starts exploring hyperlocal deliveries of medicines and groceries, called Swiggy Dash.
May 2018 Extends POP across seven cities in India: Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.
June 2018 Reaches 14 million monthly orders.
June 2018 Laps up $210 million in new capital for expansion from existing investors Naspers, and new investor DST Global. The deal values Swiggy at $1.3 billion, making it the fastest company in India’s food-tech space to achieve unicorn status.
June 2018 Swiggy starts testing WhatsApp to provide consumers with updates on their orders.
July 2018 Swiggy rolls out its subscription model Swiggy Super with a monthly and quarterly plan priced between Rs 99 and Rs 149.
July 2018 Appoints former Amazon executive Dale Vaz as the head of engineering and data sciences.
August 2018 Acquires Mumbai-based on-demand delivery firm Scootsy in an all-cash deal for an undisclosed amount.
Sept 2018 Expands Swiggy Access to four metros in the country with kitchens in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad and says it plans to onboard new restaurants in over 30 cities by 2020.
Sept 2018 Expands to new cities, including Dehradun, Puducherry, Mysore, Vijayawada, Nashik, Guwahati, Kanpur, and Ludhiana, with over 1,200 restaurant partners.
Dec 2018 Raises biggest ever funding round in the country’s food-tech sector with $1 billion fresh capital from existing and new investors such as Naspers and Tencent Holdings. The deal values the company at about $3.3 billion.