It’s hard to miss Swiggy if you’re in India. The barely six-year-old food delivery platform is the largest. To do this (or perhaps because it did this), Swiggy has raised close to $1.4 billion dollars in venture funding and was last valued at $3.6 billion. Armies of its delivery partners criss-cross India’s cities on motorcycles and scooters, dressed in black-and-orange clothes with matching boxes behind them riding pillion.
Co-founder and CEO Sriharsha Majety started Swiggy together with his college friend Nandan Reddy in 2014. To meet Majety, The Ken headed to Swiggy’s headquarters that occupy two blocks in Embassy TechVillage, a massive office complex located in Bengaluru’s Bellandur.
The 8 km distance should have been, at best, a 30-minute drive. But takes an hour and half due to Bengaluru’s famed traffic woes. We get there 45 minutes late for our scheduled appointment and see visitors streaming in to meet people at Swiggy—vendors, prospective employees, partners. Not a single person is wearing a mask. It is only March 3 but the world seems so different.
“Bundle technologies?” asks one of the security personnel as we sign in and get a sticker affixed on our shirt with the Swiggy logo.
When we meet him, Majety is relaxed and calm. He’s wearing his trademark thick-rimmed glasses.
The Ken – When you started Swiggy, what did you think was its vision?
Sriharsha Majety – Before Swiggy, me and Nandan (Reddy), two of the co-founders were building this company called Bundl, a logistics solution for e-commerce sellers that integrated with all the courier companies in the country. If you were getting 50 shipments, we’d help you figure out which shipper to use for what kind of route in the fastest and cheapest manner. But we had multiple speed bumps in that journey.
The Ken – Why?
SM – Because of the margin structure plus the impending consolidation. When we started, the likes of Amazon and Flipkart allowed sellers to ship orders however they wanted. There were also a thriving number of independent e-commerce. Instead a massive consolidation happened. Marketplaces became over 90% plus of the business and they also started, for the sake of better service, controlling the logistics themselves.
TK – When was this?
SM – August 2013.
TK – How many people were you back then?
SM – Just the two of us. We had contracted out our engineering to an agency. We said we’ll go big when the time was ready. We worked out of our home. Most of my day would be just waiting to get calls from some of these guys saying “Yeah we’re okay, we can try”.