Everything about entrepreneurship, the good, bad and the ugly of it, fascinates me. I take a keen interest on startups and venture capital firms and have written extensively on fundraises, M&As and business strategies. I can safely say changing tracks from engineering to journalism has been one of my best decisions. When not working, I indulge in almost every Indian's poison, cricket, playing or watching. I am a foodie and video game buff.
At a time when hyperlocal delivery startups such as Grofers and PepperTap were on a roll and BigBasket was stepping up its game in India, Sagar Yarnalkar and Anurag Gupta launched DailyNinja, a subscription-based milk and grocery delivery startup, in May 2015. The startup taps into a city's network of milkmen to deliver goods early morning.
“If you order from grocery startups, you have to select a slot for delivery and be at home to receive it. The milk vendor-based system is frictionless because they know your house and will leave the order outside every morning without fail,” says Yarnalkar, who previously worked with Gupta at Aspire Technologies.
DailyNinja operates in six cities, including Benglauru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune, servicing 52,000 orders a day, with an average basket size of ₹60-65. It has raised about $8 million from Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners and Saama Capital. The company, which takes a commission from its partner stores and milk companies, makes about ₹35 lakh a month.
Deploying milkmen has its advantages, says Yarnalkar. First, they have a captive customer base. And second, DailyNinja saves on delivery expenses by paying only ₹1.5 per order to them (in addition to the usual commission for delivering milk).
“They are using an existing and proven delivery network, and manage to reach every household at a fixed time. They can potentially up-sell bread, butter, eggs, etc, based on this network. There is a convenience aspect because of this predictability and the entire process is cashless,” says Rutvik Doshi, managing director at Inventus Capital India.
The startup competes with the likes of Milkbasket and Doodhwala among others. The likes of Swiggy and BigBasket are entering this segment too, but Yarnalkar says DailyNinja is up for the challenge.