Itsmymeal is a Bangalore based “Foodcommerce” startup that serves healthy food and importantly, manages the entire process very neatly. For instance, right from ordering the food to delivery to collecting the meal bag, the company ensures that they provide a tiffin-like service, at the professionalism level of a restaurant delivery service.
The service is currently active only in Bangalore and for a consumer, the service works like a pre-paid account, i.e. once you register/confirm your address, which is validated by Itsmymeal team (takes max of 24 hours), you need to make the payment and start ordering. You can place order for maximum 4 weeks including current week at any point of time and will also be able to view menu for next 2 weeks. (any given day, you can change the order before 5 PM).
For non-registered users, the minimum order has to be for 4 people and the company has 300 registered customers and importantly, is targeting corporate clients as well. In the next 4-5 years, the company plans to have 100 production centers which is certainly a big hairy audacious goal!
Here is QnA with Neeraj and Nikhil, the cofounders of Itsmymeal:
1. What business are you in? food or commerce. The question emanates from the fact that if you are into food, why not open a retail chain? And if you are in ecommerce, why this category?
We are into FoodCommerce because we are selling daily food online. We are not only producing food but have also devised a technology to empower the consumers to plan and order daily meals sitting at their home/office. The technology is also used to do user profiling for health charts etc. and giving a platform to connect to nutritionist and various knowledge communities/forums around food & health.
There are market leaders in various vertical of e-commerce in India, but most of them don’t produce or manufacture. Since we do our own production, we can’t be called just e-commerce. Hope it clarifies.
2. What has been the traction since starting?
Excellent! We have now over 300 customers being registered with us and have grown without any marketing and only through word of mouth. Apart from that, there is zero customer attrition and almost 100% repeated orders, which not many e-commerce businesses can claim.
3. Future plans?
We have set a vision of opening 100 production centers in next 4-5 years and have plans to operate in multiple cities including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi.
4. What about funding? This is a high infra business, so how do you plan to scale?
We are looking for $10mn of investment over next 4-5 years. Most of which will come through Angels and Institutional investors
5. Right now, even account creation is a bit lengthy process (needs validation which takes ~24 hours). what’s the thought process behind this?
You will find that registration takes only 3-4 minutes. Account activation is done post address validation. Though 24 hours is the time mentioned on the site, but generally it gets activated within few minutes. Since we are dealing with daily meals, it doesn’t matter much in terms of activation time as customer gets hooked to our site on long term basis and the need that we are fulfilling is not just immediate.
Would also like to share that we have customers who have opened 3 accounts with us, because all 3 members of the family want to eat their daily meal from us! SMS integration and Mobile App is on cards as we further scale.
6. When it comes to corporates, there already are 100s of small players. How do you plan to penetrate into that segment?
We don’t think we are competing with them. While they are fulfilling the same need, it is not done to meet the need of a daily meal which is full of joy, health & convenience. Most of the corporate admins/Management will share that managing employee satisfaction on food is the biggest pain and challenge they deal with. There is a great excitement about this model in Corporate Admin Fraternity as this gives the power to employees to choose and eat hence taking away the pains from Admin/Management Team.
At corporate, our model is seen more as an HR initiative to help employees with right food to live a healthy life. We already have couple of clients where HR has implemented this initiative giving the complete power to employee to choose and eat what they enjoy! Also, the decision making process of going with us and those 100s of small players is completely different.
If you are in Bangalore, do give Itsmymeal a call and share your comments/feedback with us.
Aside, what’s your take on the business model? That is, the company is taking control of the entire chain – which is good, but at the same time it’s a heavy infrastructure business.