For Swiggy, India’s most valuable food delivery unicorn, the last three years have been a roller coaster.
2018 was the year of peak Swiggy expectation in India’s tech ecosystem.
That June, the four-year-old company achieved “unicorn” status—a valuation north of $1 billion—with a $210 million fund raise. Just five months later, it raised an entire unicorn’s worth of funding with a massive $1 billion round.
Limitless possibilities lay before the company. The $1.21 billion it had raised within a space of five months coupled with the expectations of its investors and its own ambitions made for a potent combination.
2019 would thus become the year of peak Swiggy expansion.
In food delivery, it had already shown its impatience at merely fulfilling the demand side of things—catering to customer orders for existing restaurants. Instead, it began working on the supply side, setting up its own virtual restaurant brands as cloud kitchens cloud kitchens The Ken Cloud kitchens are mushrooming. In doing so, they're contributing towards monthly order targets for food tech platforms Read more . In less than two years, it had created over 130 such kitchens operating across India. In contrast, Rebel Foods, India’s largest and oldest standalone cloud kitchen company, had just over 200 just over 200 Tech Circle Currently, the company runs 1,455 restaurants in over 200 kitchens across 15 cities. It considers each brand a restaurant, and each of its kitchens houses multiple restaurants or brands (up to 10). Read more kitchens in 2019 after over seven years in the business.
But even this addition wasn’t enough to satisfy its ambitions or its investors’ expectations.
In early 2019, it started trials of hyperlocal grocery deliveries in Gurugram, part of the National Capital Region. “Swiggy Stores” would deliver anything customers wanted from local stores, usually in less than an hour. Swiggy figured if it could deliver food from restaurants, it could do the same with groceries from nearby stores. After all, it started out it started out The Ken Born from the ashes of a failed logistics startup, Swiggy achieved the elusive “product-market” fit very early on. Today it operates across 520 cities, where over 250,000 delivery partners ferry along over 45M orders each month. Orders that are fetched from over 160,000 restaurants that it has partnered with. Read more wanting to solve the hyperlocal delivery problem, not the food delivery one.