This startup by IIT alumni is creating a better living experience for residents in gated communities
There are more than 100 million apartment and residential units in India, according to IBEF. These housing societies are so large that people need a blend of physical and ecommerce stores to support the occupants.
To create a better living experience for residents, Apoorva Mishra, Ankita Asai, Nikhil Gupta, Bavadeep Reddy, Kishore Seela, and Nachiappan started DusMinute in 2017. The Bengaluru-based startup is a hyperlocal-managed living platform that sets up supermarkets, pharmacies, café, etc., in gated communities. Residents can also order them through the resident-exclusive app and get them delivered home.
In addition to providing a safe and convenient shopping experience, especially during the pandemic, the startup claims to be focusing on curating the amenities as per the individual requirements of the residents and also personalising them.
“We are building the future of urban living in India. As the cities are growing metropolitan, gated communities are increasingly becoming the preferred choice of living. With the ever-busy lifestyle, convenience has become a necessity,” says Apoorva.
“DusMinute powers the next-gen apartment complexes and augments their lifestyle by offering important amenities within their premise,” she adds.
As of now, the startup is present in 20 communities in Bengaluru, servicing prominent properties like Brigade, Prestige, Sobha, Provident, SNN, Shriram, and Godrej, among others.
The early days
Apoorva, Ankita, and Nikhil have been long-time friends and were batchmates at IIT Kanpur. While working together in their first startup, they came in touch with Kishore Seela and Nachiappan, who were creating a supply chain solution for apartments.
“As the conversations ran deeper, we saw a huge potential to combine our vision to create a value chain for apartment complexes, and that’s how a simple partnership talk led to the birth of DusMinute in 2017,” says Apoorva.
The startup has a 250-member team.
How does it work?
DusMinute powers apartment complexes by offering important amenities that are curated and provided on a single platform. It has a supermarket, a pharmacy, a café, and in-house trained professionals for home maintenance, among others, and is accessible through its in-society store and a resident-exclusive app.
While the startup offers special pricing and bulk discounts along with dedicated community managers, it also helps the association by becoming a unified partner for all community needs.
DusMinute’s omnichannel platform also claims to be focusing on building a sustainable ecosystem and reduces the carbon footprint of the community through hyperlocal delivery.
The market and business
According to reports by Knight Frank and JLL, more than 23 lakh households are staying in over 25,000 communities across Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. This number is expected to increase to about 75 lakh by 2030.
“This presents a $15 billion market opportunity as the communities simultaneously evolve into ecosystems of their own. DusMinute’s business model – of providing full concierge services and amenities to elevate lifestyle – serves this lucrative market,” says Apoorva.
The startup makes money by getting margins on each product just like a kirana store or a family retail store would make on an FMCG product on the MRP.
Although the business model has its benefits of having easy access to customers by being both physically and digitally present inside the community, it comes with its own set of challenges.
The first one is working with multiple communities. Every apartment association often has its priorities and DusMinute needs to constantly refine the requirements to cater to that particular community.
“When we have almost 100 percent penetration and a high repeat touchpoint, we have another challenge of maintaining very high standards of our services at all times,” says Apoorva.
The founders have invested Rs 7 crore over the last four years and recently raised a $1.1 million pre-Series A round led by Indian Angel Network and a few HNIs.
The startup, which competes with Dukaan and JumboTail, closed 2020 with Rs 38 crore in revenue and expects to close this financial year with Rs 55 crore in revenue.
At present, DusMinute caters only to the Bengaluru market.
“We aim to expand within South India first. Our objective is to launch in Chennai soon,” Apoorva.
By March 2022, it plans to expand its footprint to 100 stores. It will also deepen its integrated service offering with horizontal expansion into the amenities the residents are interested in.
It is also focusing on creating a completely personalised experience for its users. “We aspire to cater to their specific needs in a more preventive and proactive manner even before they ask, thus creating that ultimate convenience of living in a DusMinute-powered community,” says Apoorva.