This B2B Food-tech Start-up is Ready to Take a Bite Out of the Southeast Asian Market
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Foodtech start-up HungerBox raised $12 million in a funding round from a series of investors including fintech Paytm and NPTK Emerging Asia Fund (India). Existing ones such as Sabre Partners and Neoplux also participated in this round. HungerBox operates across 18 cities, has 2,100 food partners and claims to serve around 50,000 people every day. It was founded in 2016 by Sandipan Mitra and Uttam Kumar.
Entrepreneur India got in touch with Sandipan Mitra, co-founder and CEO of HungerBox, to discuss the B2B platform’s future plans.
The Journey from B2C to B2B
Mitra may be running a B2B company now but he started his entrepreneurial journey with an online food ordering service in 2006. The company was later acquired by FoodPanda in 2015.
India houses two food-tech Unicorns which are in the B2C space. The opportunity in the food-tech B2C space is vast and undeniably huge in India. Additionally, technological advancements being done in the food-tech space are humongous and umpteen. From cloud kitchens to dark kitchens, innovation is shaping the sector. According to a report by management consulting firm, RedSeer, the Indian online food delivery market is expected to reach $4 billion in 2020 from $0.3 billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 90 per cent.
After tasting the trends and patterns of online B2C food-tech, Mitra wanted to explore the B2B space. He says, “There is large-scale consumption of food in cafeterias of schools, offices, etc. Institutional food-tech space was untouched and we knew it needed to be redone with the help of technology.”
Mitra, thus, saw an opportunity and decided to venture into the same with HungerBox which he started in 2016.
Having experienced the highs and lows of running a B2C company which is also a “deep-pocket game,” Mitra is now focused on growing and paving the way in the institutional food-tech space. He says, “I think this is an industry which is crying in the need of technology. There is a great product market fit as well.”
This is the third round of funding that the start-up has got. In the past, it raised seed funding and last year raised $4.5 million from a series of investors including Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan.
Mitra says that initially they were “corporate cafeteria-centric company”. The funding has come at the right time, according to him.
What new does 2020 bring on the table for HungerBox? It is going global. “We will start services in three countries in southeast Asia.” Not revealing the names of these countries, he added “there are three countries that have been identified where our existing clients’ offices reside.”
Now that the startup is ready to make strides on international shores, what are the changes the existing business model is undergoing in order to cater to the international audience? “Technology is the central pillar of our company. Additionally, there is a platform, where all stakeholders including the end user, partner, vendor, admin, etc. interact; that is undergoing certain changes for it to cater to the international audience.”
But the changes are minimal and not enormous, he says.
Vendor curation is another addition that is going to be made especially for the three countries where HungerBox will be launching its operations in the coming year. There will also be some tweaks in the operations, says Mitra.
The year 2020 will also see their numbers doubling, according to Mitra.