Mobile-based aggregator ZuperMeal– which is a marketplace and delivery service for home-cooked meals, has raised about $2 Mn( INR 13 Cr) in funding from celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Ravi Saxena, co-founder of kitchen appliance maker Wonderchef and two foreign partners for an undisclosed stake, reports ET. The two-month old startup will use the funds to scale up operations in the country.
Based out of Powai in Mumbai, the startup has been founded by Saxena’s wife Pallavi along with Balasubram and Prabhakar Banerjee. ZuperMeal plans to reach 500 towns with 60,000 housewives and achieve a sales volume of $691 Mn( INR4,500 Cr) by 2020. Currently, the startup has 150 homemakers registered on the platform and 20 of them are already active. ZuperMeal dishes out an average of 60 to 70 meals a day, earning a net margin of 15%.
Said Pallavi, “ZuperMeal is not a delivery service alone. It is a complete food business where the best talent is identified, their best dishes are curated, priced and presented by us.” She added that the focus is not restricted to the top 10 cities, but includes smaller towns with the goal of promoting regional specialties. Also, through this strategic investment, ZuperMeal has the opportunity to leverage the strong network of 35,000 women entrepreneurs of Wonderchef and scale-up quickly across the country.
Sanjeev Kapoor stated, “ Food tech is one the highest priorities in India, but unlike European countries, most of our rich supply of fruits and vegetables goes waste. This is where ZuperMeal would make the difference.”
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ZuperMeal is betting the concept of ‘eating out at home’ will provide an alternative to eating out by delivering fresh, home-cooked food at the customer’s doorstep without additives or preservatives. Its rivals include Cyber Chef, Wats Cooking, Meal Tango, Once Upon My Kitchen and From A Home.
Lately, Food tech space which is witnessing a lot of interest from investors. Last month Gurgaon based food-tech startup InnerChef raised $1.66 Mn (INR 11 Cr) in its pre-series A round of funding from a bevy of leading angel investors. It was preceded by another Gurgaon-based food-tech startup, Bueno Foods, raising $600,000 from a high net worth individual in its first external fundraise. Similarly, another startup HolaChef raised funding from Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons.
Food retailing market in India is $300 Bn large, and Indian restaurant market is pegged at $50 Bn. The home food delivery market is growing at 40% per annum and is expected to be $10 Bn in size by 2016. With the advent of internet and mobile, the combination of Food + Tech is disrupting old business models and is creating new paradigms. The sector is however witnessing its own share of casualties as well as players grapple with issues such as scaling, cash crunch, product differentiation, overcrowding of the market and productivity issues. Just this week, Bangalore-based food-tech startup Dazo, which was India’s first curated food demand platform (mobile only), decided to shut down its operations.
Kapoor however said there is enough demand in the online food market. He added however that startups in this space generally lack the ability to execute and scale up. “The idea of a home-cooked meal is known to everyone, but to create a sustainable business out of it and make it large is something we are good at.”
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