Start-ups in India are growing exponentially. After tech start-ups have made their mark in e-commerce space, food start-ups have now become the talk of the town. They are slowly and steadily grabbing the spotlight in the start-up ecosystem. As a result, food tech space is garnering a lot of investors’ interest these days.
Recently, Ahmedabad-based food tech start-up – Jolly Food Fellow has announced to raise around Rs 2 crore in the first round of investment led by Suvas Barot, Managing Director, Creative Infocity. The venture plans to utilise this fund to ramp up their technical team, broaden their offerings and to ensure that they are able to get more food retail partners on board.
Barot, who invested in the project via their incubation set-up ‘The 1947’, claims it as an exciting product idea and sees immense potential in it to become a trend setter in the industry. “Bringing simple, scalable and commercially viable solution is the need of the hour. Gujarat is the most enterprising land, but I have noticed a lack of ecosystem for investment in start-ups. This is what led me to start The 1947,” said Barot. As a part of his investment plans, Barot plans to invest upto Rs 5 crore in emerging start-ups till March 2016.
Commenting on the investment, Niraj Harlalka, Co-founder, Jolly Food Fellow, said, “Our investors spend a lot of time understanding our business model and the depth in our business and revenue model. We were fortunate to be pitching to an entrepreneur friendly firm ‘The 1947’ managed by Suvas Barot. Having multiple restaurants as his earlier investments and being a very dynamic second generation entrepreneur himself, he helped us refine our offerings and gave strategic inputs on our long term vision.”
A brainchild of Harlalka, Rajiv Sharma and Khushboo, Jolly Food Fellow is owned and operated by TECHRECO Solutions Private Limited. It is a venture of passionate young entrepreneurs, who wish to bring the best food experience to all the food lovers. They partner with food entrepreneurs, help them know more about their consumers and give them analytical insights on how they can service their consumers better than ever.
Sharma’s six years of experience in the food industry enabled him to identify the existing gaps between customers and vendors. The idea was empowered with Harlalka’s eight years of experience in software product development. Together, they came up with a solution that not only help vendors identify repetitive customers and undertake specific marketing, but also enable customers to eat at their preferred places. The first beta was launched within 4 months of the ideation and was further refined over 3 months, and the model finally become operational in July 2015.
“With our experiences, we could understand that the problem of knowing customers well enough to service them better was faced by almost all food vendors. The problem was big enough and we decided to team up and create a professional venture dedicated to address this problem” said Sharma, Co-founder, Jolly Food Fellow.
How it works?
Being a food technology mobile app, Jolly Food Fellow works on monthly service fee. The vendors only need to pay a monthly service fee to the team, and thereafter, vendors keep all the revenue generated with themselves, irrespective of the number of customers they get through campaigns. “Our platform helps vendors to identify their customers. Create custom groups and target them specifically for Return on Investment (ROI) driven campaigns,” said Sharma.
What makes Jolly Food Fellow stand apart from the other food tech start-up is their USP (Unique Selling Point) of treating their vendors as an important and key member in the entire food experience chain. Another differentiator, which makes them unique in their space, is the ability to show in detail the return on investment on campaigns run through the Jolly Food Fellow platform.
“We understand that consumers can get the best food experience only if the vendors are equipped to know their consumer better. Also we take care of all technological aspects and enable vendors to focus on Food – the thing they know best. Having a detailed overview of the business with ability to run pinpointed campaigns and give a complete picture of all investments done on the platform is our icing on the cake for food vendors,” said Harlalka.
Growth and Expansion Plans
Being a bootstrapped start-up, Jolly Food Fellow is currently dealing with 25 vendors in Ahmedabad including some well-known brands like Tomatoes, Joules and some excellent food entrepreneurs like Billu Street Food and Nini’s Kitchen. “Our traction has been very encouraging with our vendors excited at the customer information and analytics at their fingertips” opined Harlalka.
Currently operational only in Ahmedabad, the company plans to expand its reach in the metro cities like Mumbai and Bangalore within the next 3 months. With the team size of 7, the company plans to ramp up to about 25 team members within the next few months.
With increasing backing from investors’ in food tech space, the market size of food in India is expected to reach Rs 42 lakh crore by 2020. Apart from Jolly Food Fellow, Pune-based personalised food recommendation application Quinto recently announced to raise an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Faaso’s Jaydeep Barman.