Kabeer Biswas, the founder and CEO of Dunzo, personifies his startup’s brand—honest, straight-talking and always online. Unlike most startup founders, he doesn’t shy away from revealing critical numbers about his operations. He names competitors. He reveals strategic elements of his thinking and plans.
He’s also joined at the hip with his iPhone and WhatsApp. On WhatsApp, he’s part of dozens of group conversations and hundreds of individual ones, and yet his average response time when you ping him is usually a minute or two.
But Biswas has also managed to grow Dunzo from a “cute” app for Bengaluru hipsters to a guerilla challenger to the logistics ambitions of much, much larger competitors like Swiggy and Zomato. (Dunzo’s 1 million monthly transactions versus Swiggy’s and Zomato’s 17-18 million.)
The plucky founder wants Dunzo to become an invisible delivery layer for Indian cities, using which users can transact with any local business and have products delivered in about an hour or less.
In part 1 of The Ken’s wide-ranging and deep interview with him, we covered how Dunzo wants to be the Go-Jek of India and the Amazon Dash of the physical world. Among other things.
Part 2, however, is longer, and even more interesting.
Reimagining commerce and fighting Amazon
Biswas: Our vision statement is this: we want to make cities more efficient and make local commerce a lot more convenient. Because of Dunzo, I think those are two things that you clearly end up experiencing in cities where Dunzo exists and in cities where it doesn’t. You can feel this plainly when you go to a city like Delhi. I have this small example of a pollution mask that I wanted in the evening after landing there. It took me two hours, but I couldn’t find it. In Bengaluru, if I wanted it, I could have raised our transaction at the airport, and it would’ve been home by the time I reached. It’s the nature of making cities better. And the way we want to do it is by being the dominant logistics layer in the city.
Biswas: For me, Amazon is competition. I don’t think of Swiggy as competition. We’ll take Amazon on.
Because the structure of e-commerce in this country is entirely broken. Why is stuff coming from fulfilment centres? If I just tell the merchant down the street that somebody is selling this product on Amazon for Rs 250 ($3.54) and you’re selling it for Rs 310 ($4.39), can you price match, he will.
The Ken: So, that’s Walmart’s “Everyday Low Prices” democratised?
Biswas: We’ve tested it! The guy’s willing to price match you in a heartbeat.