Zomato to bet big on drone delivery, acquires TechEagle
After acquiring Bengaluru-based procurement startup WOTU, Zomato ventured into a farm-to-fork model with the launch of HyperPure, and now the unicorn is diving deeper into the delivery business.
It has acquired Lucknow-based TechEagle Innovations, a startup that works exclusively on drones. Post this acquisition, Zomato aims to create and use technology that will enable a multi-rotor drone, which can be used for hub-to-hub deliveries. The details of the deal were not disclosed.
In a press statement shared by the company, Deepinder Goyal, Co-founder and CEO, Zomato said they are at the early stage of aerial innovations and are taking baby steps towards building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online.
"Our first 'delivery job' currently is to design multi-rotor drones that can pick up a payload under 5 kg and set up drone delivery circuits for reducing the last mile delivery leg. We believe that robots powering the last mile delivery are an inevitable part of the future and hence this is going to be a significant area of investment for us.”
Vikram Singh Meena, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus, founded TechEagle while he was still a student. The drone startup has been actively involved in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, with prime focus on custom-made drones capable of carrying up to 5 kg payload.
Speaking of the acquisition by Zomato, Vikram said in a press statement that Zomato was one of the most innovative technology companies in India, and the only company with a singular focus on food.
"We are excited to be a part of the team and together build something, which will certainly play a significant role in the future of primary and secondary logistics in the food supply chain in India," he said.
The Gurugram-based unicorn claims to have over 22 million monthly orders, and post acquiring Bengaluru based delivery startup Runnr, the team claims to now have a delivery fleet of 1.5 lakh partners. Through HyperPure, Zomato claims to have already delivered 15,000 orders, moved 1500 metric tonnes of fresh produce and has orders booked for over $6 million per month. Zomato’s corporate catering business, Food@Work, which it launched post its TongueStun acquisition, has also been expanding into new territories.
In an earlier conversation with YourStory, Deepinder summed up its ambition when he says, “It isn’t only about delivery or listings or the supply anymore - it is about everything (related to food and food delivery).”
Currently, Zomato seems to be aggressively pushing for a leadership position in the foodtech space, its closest competitor being Bengaluru -based Swiggy. The latter too became a unicorn this year and if reports are to be believed, Swiggy too is raising $200 million in funding, possibly from Softbank.
Delivery is one of the biggest growth drivers for Zomato and accounts for 50-65 percent of the company’s overall revenues. (Zomato reported revenues of Rs 466.36 crore for FY 2018.) Despite having started out a year after Swiggy in the delivery space, Zomato has built up a formidable network of restaurant-partners. It has 75,000 restaurant partners at present.