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Burrp is back in the game. This time, Reliance has got its back

Aparajita Choudhury
23rd Feb 2016
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Burrp! The comeback of much-loved food discovery platform has brought a smile on the faces of restaurateurs and food aficionados alike. Popularly known as the pioneer in the history of Indian food tech industry, its glory eventually faded, and the platform was acquired by Network 18 in 2009. However, with Reliance taking over Network18 group in 2014, Burrp looks to be back in the game.

The new management, consisting of Abhishek Chhajlani and Pradeep Prabhu, shifted focus on the business model. Abhishek was the co-founder of US-based social dish discovery engine MyPref, which got acquired by Network 18 in January 2015. Pradeep headed business finance for Motion Pictures, Consumer Products, Regional and Digital Divisions at Viacom18.

Abhishek Chhajlani and Pradeep Prabhu
Abhishek Chhajlani and Pradeep Prabhu

At Burrp, Abhishek leads product and technology, and Pradeep drives sales, marketing and operations.

Tracing the history

Burrp was launched in August, 2006, by US returnees Deap Ubhi and Anand Jain. Alvesh Singh was their first employee, before the site went live. Inspired by the San Francisco-based Yelp (a mobile app that publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses), the trio went on to shape Burrp into an Indian equivalent .

However, in 2010 the trio quit Burrp to pursue different things.

Post acquisition by Network 18, Burrp started tilting towards downfall. From 2010 to 2014, Burrp faced several top management transitions and iterations.

Under Reliance

After the Reliance takeover of Network 18, Burrp currently has a team of 200 people, of which 150 take care of content management. It has content operations in 14 cities and sales and marketing teams are present in six of these cities. The company intends to focus more on building a robust sales and marketing team this year.

In October 2015, the soft relaunch of Burrp done where the brand boasted information on three million dishes and 65,000 restaurants. The Burrp app is available in Google Play Store and Apple App store.

The team collects and digitises information on 10,000 restaurants per month, with regular updates being made.

On the relaunching, Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Network 18 said,

We at Network 18 are excited about the innovative work that Burrp is doing and expect that they will achieve leadership in the food space even as others are undergoing turmoil.”
Burrp Team
Burrp Team

Easing user experience

The revamped website offers a lists of categories like 'Nearby', 'Restaurants', 'Cafes', and 'Bars'.. The platform has also introduced one-touch search filters for home delivery, parking, and Wi-Fi facility on the search screen.

On plans ahead, Pradeep notes,

We want to get into offer redemption and couponing, along with ticketing of F&B events in a big way. Transactions are going to be the core of our business model going forward and we're very excited to roll things out as a lot of back-end work has already been done. In the next two years, we will expand to 35 cities and hire more than 300 people.”

The new face of food tech industry

 The foodtech space has been on a rollercoaster ride recently. Still, ranging from food discovery, curated food marketplace, delivery platform to serving homemade healthy food and online tiffin service, the space has seen continuous innovation.

The growth of consumerism has led many startups to create disruption in the traditional food market. Food tech industry is estimated to be a $50-billion market growing at 16 to 20 percent year-on-year.

Anand Lunia, Founder, India Quotient, says,

The demographics of the young population, double income families, expensive house-help and cultural acceptability of eating out are the big factors expanding the whole market.”

Sinking ship

In the last few years, foodtech companies have created lots of noise in the market, but 2015 proved to be a nightmare for a handful. Employee layoffs, dwindling of operations and even complete shut down have paled the glamour of the industry.

Dazo and Spoonjoy shut down operations in October last year. TinyOwl shut down offices in four cities and laid off 300 employees in mid-October to cut costs. Foodpanda, which had raised $110 million in fresh funding from Rocket Internet AG in March 2015, laid off 300 employees.

The downward slope is also apparent from the foodtech industry lapping up a mere $19-million fund in August last year, as opposed to the $71 million in April 2015.

According the Pradeep, Burrp is growing at a rate of 500 percent month-on-month. Going forward, the revenue model will be based on transactions. Currently, 500 merchants are advertising on Burrp.

The relaunch of the pioneer of food tech space Burrp! sits well on the piping hot market. While other players are concentrating on building a sustainable business model and luring restaurateurs, Burrp is trying to enhance the experience of consumers and merchants at every stage. Given the current delicate scenario of the market, Burrp needs to be extra cautious and creative in order to bring back its former name and fame.

Whether it’s the experience of receiving a payment for the merchant, or figuring out what to order and what not to order for the consumer, we intend to be present everywhere in the merchant-consumer ecosystem,” says Pradeep.

Burrp!

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