This Gurugram startup is all set to eat up Swiggy, Zomato profits with its home-cooked meals

Started in 2016 with an aim to deliver home-cooked meals unique to a particular region, JustMyRoots is eyeing to touch Rs 30 crore topline by 2021. The startup also claims to be India’s first inter-state home delivery service.
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When it comes to getting your favourite dish delivered to your doorstep, there is little doubt about the role that the Swiggys and Zomatos of the world have played in making the process seamless. Right from last minute party orders to daily ‘meals for one’ – ordering food online has become a cake walk today.

But the same cannot be said when you crave for homecooked meals. Save that for a relative or friend to bring back some of your mother’s specials, there are very few options available at the moment to get home-cooked meals or cuisines and food native to a particular region.  

It was to address this very gap that Gurugram-based JustMyRoots was started in September 2016. Born out of the founders’ personal struggles living away from their homes (and hometowns), the startup caters to the food requirements of the floating population in the metros and Tier I cities, bringing home food that they have traditionally grown up with.

“JustMyRoots delivers pure nostalgia in the form of food,” says co-founder Samiran Sengupta. “While other typical foodtech platforms deliver food within a range of 0-6 kms, we deliver perishable cooked food/others across cities. Our packaging keeps the food fresh for more than 26 hours,” he says.

The startup is currently operational in Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir.

Just My Roots team

Remedying homesickness, one meal at a time

As the name suggests, the concept behind JustMyRoots is simple – to connect people back to their roots through food.

“We are trying to ensure that people do not lose the relevance of tradition, and in doing so, food remains to be the single-most important point of connect,” says Samiran, a business and technology professional with more than 22 years of experience in the domains of supply chain, technology, and business processes.

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, and International Institute for Management Development, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Samiran has held many global and regional roles in Shell and Reckitt Benckiser, working across multiple verticals and in countries like China, Australia, Singapore, and the UK. The idea of JustMyRoots was conceptualised by him some three years ago, along with his wife and now co-founder Promita Sengupta.

Samiran recalls that it all started when Promita, during her stint as an entrepreneur working for women empowerment with the different divisions of the UN in India, found that most of the people were visiting or were from different states and cities. Being away from home, they would almost always crib about the unavailability of their hometown food.

Being a Bengali away from Bengal, Promita missed the delicacies from her home in Kolkata. All this led to some research, which coupled with a chance encounter – with a mother who shared a similar account of her child dealing with homesickness in a new city – inspired the idea of JustMyRoots.

The startup, that claims to be India’s first inter-state home delivery service, today is a team of 15, with Samiran and Promita shouldering all the innovations along with co-founder Rajan Sachdeva, a chartered accountant with over 20 years of experience in setting up finance and business operations. 

A four-pillar business model

The foodtech platform functions as a B2C model, where customers access the JustMyRoots app or the website to identify the products they would like to buy. The orders are made in bulk and the average order size is Rs 1,800. Once the order is confirmed post online payment, the logistics and supply chain team comes into the picture.

Products are then purchased as per the order, and packed and sent to different cities, with a special packaging keeping the food fresh for 26 hours as it moves from city to city through “our partner SpiceJet and our own delivery folks”.

JustMyRoots also has a specialised packaging and state of the art cold chain logistics, which keeps food between 5-8 degree centigrade.

“Our biggest challenge so far has been to convince both the restaurant and the customers that the food can remain fresh even after 24 hours,” the founders explain, recalling how they would even offer free deliveries in the initial days of their operation. “We have also delivered to the friends of the restaurant owners who stay in different cities, just to drive home the idea of fresh food.”

The startup follows a four-pillared business model - local sale of products, inter-city/state sale of products, direct from home services (as part of which all cooked food reaches within 24 hours of pickup), and airport (Delhi T3 Departure forecourt) delivery services.

In an attempt to be a game-changer in terms of in-flight dining, the startup is eyeing to diversify the food options available at the Delhi airport terminal.

“People will have to place their orders in advance, and before they enter the terminal building, the food will be available at the kiosk just opposite to gate no. 5,” says Samiran, adding, “We are also going to have services wherein people can be handed over products at gates 1, 2, or 3.”

Expansion and social media marketing

JustMyRoots mostly deals in perishable products falling under the categories of cooked food, sweets, street food, bakery, raw and fresh, vegetables, beverages, etc. In this category, especially for intercity and interstate deliveries, the startup claims it does not have any competition as of now, a factor that could even be attributed to its consistent growth since inception.

“We have been growing at about 20 percent MoM, and believe we can touch the Rs 30 crore topline by 2021,” the founders tell us. They add, on a monthly basis, they are clocking in Rs 15 lakh revenue at the moment.

Alongside the revenue targets, however, the team is also eyeing to expand its customer base in the near future. The goal is to rapidly increase its 15,000 strong customer-base across the country and reach about 100,000 customers this year and 500,000 customers by 2021.

“It has mostly been word of mouth as of now for us,” the founder explains, letting us in on the next course of action. “We plan to go into social media marketing to a large extent,” they add.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)


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