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.
Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal Image: Amit Verma
Food technology startup Zomato has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyderabad-based home chef aggregator TinMen, as the company looks to further strengthen its position in the food delivery segment with increasing competition from Swiggy. “Over the past year, we have been working towards the idea of a kitchen-less world wherein most people would have access to great food and healthy meals at the same price or cheaper than the cost of preparing them at home,” Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal said in a blog post on Monday. “Of course, this is a distant dream (at least in India), but we are working on a bunch of exciting tech-led initiatives to build better accessibility to great and hygienic food for our users. In tandem, we are also exploring alliances with existing players, big and small, to help surface a larger variety of healthy meal options to our users. In that spirit, we just made an investment into a startup called Tinmen - an efficient and modest little company which provides easy access to home-cooked meals at affordable prices, for thousands of people in Hyderabad,” Goyal said. Founded by Mukesh Manda, a former Amazon executive in June 2015, TinMen caters to office goers at 10 locations in Hyderabad, with plans to expand beyond the city in the months to come. The company aggregates home chefs on its platform and delivers food through tie-ups with third-party logistics service providers. The company services about 30,000 orders a month. TinMen, which raised an undisclosed amount twice – in January last year and then in April – counts Lead Angels, MAPE Advisory Group, Sify co-founder R Ramaraj and Corvus Ventures as investors. The investment in TinMen comes at a time when Zomato is looking to scale up its food delivery business through incentives to restaurants and acquisitions. For instance, the company, which claims to generate Ebidta (earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation), has waived off the commission it charges restaurants for food delivery, an aggressive move to counter Swiggy, the Naspers-backed food delivery startup that has so far raised about $155 million from a clutch of investors, including Accel Partners, SAIF Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners among others. More than 70 percent of the restaurants listed on Zomato are eligible for the “zero commission” service, based on the number of orders processed on Zomato every week and customer feedback on the quality of food and service. While Swiggy is fairly well capitalised, Zomato is reportedly in talks to raise more than $100 million from Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financials. This apart, Zomato recently acquired hyperlocal delivery startup Runnr to boost its delivery business. Having launched food delivery in May 2015, Zomato had invested an undisclosed amount in delivery startup Grab in September 2015. Currently, Zomato services close to three million orders every month.