Restaurant search firm Zomato invests in Pickingo, Grab; starts home delivery of food

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Zomato announced today that it has made strategic investments in Gurgaon-based start-up Pickingo and Mumbai-based start-up Grab, both hyperlocal delivery players, to enable last-mile delivery for restaurants including dine-in-only restaurants that don't otherwise deliver. Zomato has also partnered with Delhivery, the popular logistics start-up, that provides supply chain solutions to online and offline retailers.


Connecting last mile

Founded in December 2014, Pickingo is a horizontal on-demand logistics start-up managing deliveries for local merchants, who are increasingly moving their offline businesses online. Pickingo also works with aggregators and marketplaces to manage their hyperlocal deliveries and returns. The company currently operates a fleet of over 700 field executives across 6 cities in India.

Rahul Gill, Co-Founder and CEO, Pickingo, said, "This investment will not only infuse funds into the company, but will also allow us to scale rapidly with Zomato's online ordering business, while also leveraging Zomato's strong relationship with restaurants across the country. We have already started working together to deliver from select restaurants in New Delhi, and we look forward to taking this partnership further."

Grab, on the other hand, is a hyperlocal logistics service connecting neighborhood stores, restaurants and online platforms to deliver their products to end consumers. Grab's platform is used by clients encompassing restaurants, groceries, laundry services, pharmacies, and e-commerce deliveries. Over the past 2 years, Grab has presence in 7 cities with more than 440 merchants on its platform. Grab has raised around $1 million till date.

Pratish Sanghvi, Co-Founder and Director, Grab, said "Last mile logistics are a challenge for most merchants across India, especially restaurants, and we view this investment as a great opportunity to solve this problem using technology along with Zomato. We have already rolled this out with Zomato in Mumbai, and will extend to other cities in the next couple of weeks. These are exciting times for food-tech in India."

Technology-first approach

Commenting on the new partnership, Sahil Barua, Founder & CEO, Delhivery, said "The food-tech space in India is heating up, and we're excited about this partnership with Zomato. Delivery logistics for restaurants have always been a challenge, and we believe the technology-first approach will help simplify operations for them, as well as enrich customer experiences." Delhivery specializes in offering extensive services ranging from last mile deliveries, third party fulfillment, warehousing services and software solutions across multiple platforms.

Sharing his thoughts on strategic investments and partnership, Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato said, "We have unequivocally the largest restaurant base in India, and we will work closely with Pickingo, Grab and Delhivery to improve the last-mile delivery experience for users placing orders on Zomato's platform. We are also launching our online ordering service in Dubai, Australia and South Africa later this month. Along similar lines, we are in conversation with hyperlocal logistics firms in other countries to ensure that we are able to provide a seamless and quality experience to our users."

Enabling restaurants

Zomato is making strides to move from being a search and discovery portal to a platform offering technology that helps merchants connect more effectively with customers. It has also expanded its offerings to include in-app cashless payments, online ordering, table reservations, and a point-of-sale system.

Since July 2014, Zomato has acquired 9 companies to further extend its global reach in the restaurant search space. This includes the acquisition of Urbanspoon, which gave Zomato a dominant position in Australia, Canada, and the United States. With presence across 22 countries, Zomato had raised a total of $163 million in funding till date.