“Tap a button, get a ride.” That almost comically simple idea would lead to the origin of Uber in 2008.

Hundreds of startups globally have tried to surf in its wake by positioning themselves as ‘Ubers’.’Uber for parking’. ‘Uber for dog walkers’. ‘Uber for lawyers’. ‘Uber for ice-cream’. ‘Uber for laundry’. ‘Uber for groceries’.

So much so that ‘Uber for X’ was one of the most dominant startup investment themes for a good many years.

But someone forgot to tell one of those startups—Bengaluru-based Dunzo—that ‘X’ was meant to be a stand-in for something specific. Like you know, coffee. Documents. Meals. Repairs. Medicines. Alcohol.

So Dunzo ended up becoming an ‘Uber for X’. As in, precisely ‘X’!

Look at the following transactions that took place roughly over a month, with just one customer – Rohin Dharmakumar.
16 Nov: A cocoa cappuccino from Starbucks.
15 Nov: Documents dropped off to our accountant’s office.
13 Nov: A can of distilled water, to top up a car’s coolant tank.
6 Nov: An official Macbook repaired.
31 Oct: Downright scary Halloween masks for an eager 7-yo.
19 Oct: Gift bags to distribute Diwali goodies.
13 Oct: Frame a bunch of handpainted tiles from Goa.

You see why it’s really the ‘Uber of X’?

With a fanatical fan following and off-the-charts repeat usage, Dunzo is Bengaluru’s best-kept secret. An app-based service that lets you create almost any “task”, then send real people to complete them on your behalf. For a fee, of course.

“If you can press a button and get a cab, then you should be able to press a button and get anything,” says Kabeer Biswas, co-founder of Dunzo. With his own fleet of riders, Biswas wants to be the service that will do anything anyone needs done, so long as it’s not illegal.

Having raised only a modest amount of venture funding till date, $2.5 million from Blume Ventures and Aspada Investments, Dunzo is now poised at a growth fork. It wants to expand into more cities, add more tasks to its repertoire and build deeper technical prowess to sustain a perpetual swarm of delivery partners, each one moving seamlessly from one task to another through the day.

But to do that, it needs $40 to $50 million* in funding as a business and upto $10 million for the next round. Serious money, but chump change when considering the folks it is up against—Swiggy, Amazon, Uber, BigBasket; all indirectly its competition.

70% of Dunzo's tasks today involve buying, while about 20% are the pickup and drop variety

To Do – Don’t Forget The Milk

Dunzo takes a short break between 4:30 am and 6:30 am every morning, but it’s in the remaining 22 hours it hums into action.


Arundhati Ramanathan

Arundhati is Bengaluru-based. She is interested in how people use money in the digital age and how new economies will take shape based on that interaction. She has spent over 10 years reporting and writing on various subjects. Previous stints were at Mint, Outlook Business and Reuters.

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