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Teenagers Make It Quick 19-year-olds Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, co-founders of Zepto, are today competing with the likes of Blinkit (earlier Grofers), Ola, Swiggy, Dunzo and BigBasket, Flipkart in the quick commerce space

By S Shanthi

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What do Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have in common? Well, they both are self-made billionaires, yes. But, they both are also college drop-outs who embarked on their entrepreneurial journey when they were very young.

19-year-olds Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, co-founders of Zepto, are today competing with the likes of Blinkit (earlier Grofers), Ola, Swiggy, Dunzo and BigBasket, Flipkart in the quick commerce space. Despite getting lucky at grabbing a seat at Stanford in California to study computer science, they ended up dropping out to build Zepto in India last year.

"Yeah, we are college dropouts building this company for better or for worse," says Palicha.

The core problem the young founders are trying to solve at Zepto is the friction in buying groceries for Indian customers. "Today, buying groceries is an incredibly high-frequency task. People do it as frequently as three to four times a week. But the friction associated with that is pretty prohibitive, especially in online verticals, of buying groceries. I think that's our objective, a 10-minute delivery it's to bring the friction of grocery buying to zero," he says.

In a very short period of time, the duo has surpassed many milestones in terms of scale. And as of today, they claim to be doubling to tripling every month. "We are very excited about the scale so far - a 200% monthly growth rate while also launching multiple different hubs for delivery every single day. The scale that we have achieved in a short period of time is tremendous," he says proudly.

Y Combinator is the company's largest investor in terms of capital. It also has other marquee investors like Nexus Venture Partners that led in early, and Brook Venture, Great Brook Capital Partners on its cap table and has raised over 160 million.

"I think resilience is incredibly important, and so is solid governance in planning. We've been working on preparations around a potential third wave of COVID for a very long period of time, over a month and a half now. And, as a business with grocery delivery, we experience a huge surge of orders, when there is a lockdown or there is a wave. We had been preparing to make sure that we don't have any disruption in our customer experience in the overall supply chain, customer fulfilment and product experience, if there was a third wave. We have worked on that for a very, very long time. I think that's paying dividends for us today, where we are able to see great rates of growth, highly optimized channels of customer acquisition and our operations are smooth," Palicha adds.

Palicha and Vohra's vision for Zepto is that they should be in a position where they can bring down the friction of buying groceries for everyone in India to zero. "We want to make that experience accessible to everybody. We also want to bring good, decent and stable employment to people at scale. I think the overall vision is to become one of the greatest technology companies that we've seen in the 21st-century as we grow," he adds.

The founders believe that their biggest advantage as a fasting consumer startup is that at this point, many of their potential hires and potential employees are big fans of the product and the service that they are delivering to their households. "It's actually quite easy to attract stellar talent because they know how exciting the model is. They experience the product themselves and they love the idea of it. And so once you have people that are bought in with a core customer value proposition, it becomes a lot easier. So, that's one of the biggest ways we have been able to attract talent today," he says proudly.

The primary tenet, that the teen founders believe the business is built on, is its core innovation, that is, using technology tools to deliver groceries in 10 minutes consistently and with high quality and a good certain base.

S Shanthi

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 


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