Swiggy CEO Sriharsha Majety on how the company is looking at businesses beyond food

Sriharsha Majety of Swiggy said at TechSparks 2021 that the foodtech unicorn’s new products, including Instamart and Swiggy Direct, will power its future growth.
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“A company is known for its customer service.”

Swiggy Co-founder and CEO Srisharsha Majety says customer service has been on the top of his mind since day zero of building the food delivery giant — and it is something that the foodtech unicorn still keeps reinventing.

“A culture of innovation is who we are at Swiggy. We have a huge, crazy love for tinkering and we’re always pushing boundaries,” Srisharsha told Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory, at a fireside chat during the grand finale of TechSparks 2021.

The company last raised $1.25 billion in September at a post-money valuation of $5.5 billion. 

The last 18 months have been busy at the Bengaluru-based startup. Movement restrictions due to the pandemic led more people to flock to the delivery app for everything from food and groceries to even medicines. And while Swiggy has gone from strength to strength over the last six years, it hit turbulence due to COVID-19.

Its revenue shrunk to one-fifth, though the company managed to leverage its delivery services to add quick-delivery of grocery, as well as essentials.

Changing consumer behaviour

Swiggy started its quick-delivery service in August 2020 with two cities, which has now scaled to 15-plus cities. Sriharsha said that Instamanart has seen its average order value increase over time as people coming in for a top-up order also add other products for delivery.

He added that while Swiggy had to shut down its partnership with kirana stores through Swiggy Stores due to a flaw in the model, Instamart, where it had the first-mover advantage for quick deliveries through a network of dark stores, is seeing good uptake. 

“Our overall vision is to get 100 million users transacting 10-15 times a month in a decade and grow the service to 30-40 cities over the next few quarters,” he said. 

Sriharsha added that the company will be expanding beyond food delivery as Indians catch up with the rest of the world in eating out. Compared to China, Hong Kong, and the US,  where people eat out 40 times a month on an average, the number of times Indians eat out continues to be in the high single digits. 

Redrawing its terms with hotel partners

Food delivery services have also come in the line of fire recently for their terms of work for gig workers who are a part of the delivery force. Both Swiggy and its close competitor Zomato also had a face-off with restaurant partners who accused them of high commission structures or take rates. 

Sriharsha said that the company was working on making the in-delivery experience easier for its fleet of 2,20,000 delivery partners. He added that the company was working with gig workers in explaining the payout structures and partnering with restaurants to let them use their washrooms. 

He added that Swiggy Direct, which is in the pilot stage, will empower restaurants to deliver their orders. Swiggy Direct allows restaurants to use Swiggy’s fulfilment, payment, delivery, and tracking services for orders placed with them directly.

The CEO of Swiggy said that the company will re-evaluate the idea of an IPO a year later and until then, it was looking at piloting new services and categories.

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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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