It’s a warm, sunny and pleasant late-September afternoon as I walk to the “3M” office of on-demand delivery service Dunzo, arguably one of Bengaluru’s most loved startups. In the last two years, it spread like wildfire through the city’s close-knit and well-connected community. Literally, every user older than 60 days came to know of it from a friend, family member or colleague, incredulously asking them why they didn’t “just Dunzo” something.

“Something” could be sending visa documents across the city; ordering food from restaurants not served by the likes of Swiggy or Zomato; finding a Halloween costume for your kids at the last hour; picking up a few bottles of your favourite craft beer; buying medicines; getting posters framed; sending a broken iPhone to the nearest Apple store for repair; getting coffee; buying tickets to the latest movie directly from the theatre once online bookings are full…

If there’s something in your head right now that you think is too ridiculous to add to the above list, chances are someone’s already tried it on Dunzo.

And oh, did I mention these deliveries usually happen in under an hour?

I reach the address marked on Google Maps, and “3M” turns out to be a car servicing shop. There’s no apparent signboard, lift or staircase to reach Dunzo. So, I walk around the building and spot about 150-200 motorcycles crammed into a corner and a disenchanted guard.

“Dunzo?” I ask.

“Second floor,” he replies and points to a staircase down the rear side of the building. Dunzo turns out to be on the third floor, and I duly sign the visitor register, enter a random mobile number and wait for Kabeer Biswas, the co-founder and CEO of Dunzo.

The startup-y office with exposed ducting has its roof painted with local maps of Indiranagar, Bengaluru, complete with huge pins—Leon Grill, Drops Chandrasekhar Wines, City Union Bank, Whodat, Toit Brewpub…

Biswas comes along in 10 minutes, having just got off a call. He’s always just getting off calls.

As we walk around trying to find a cabin to sit and talk, he offers me coffee.  “We now have a machine! Though I wish we’d get the Chai Point machine.”

I pump out a cappuccino from the machine, then look for sugar. Biswas points it out to me, but not before faux-mocking me, “Oh, you take sugar? I’ve given it up. I’ve realised that as one gets older, one needs to give things up.”

Biswas is full of pithy aphorisms.

“I’ve started giving up friends. I think I give up one friend a year now,” he says, chuckling to himself.

AUTHOR

Rohin Dharmakumar

Rohin is co-founder and CEO at The Ken. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and an engineering degree in Computer Sciences from the R.V.C.E., Bangalore.

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