GrocShop - First startup in my life

For those who don't know, most of you will not, as it was startup that died at a very early stage. GrocShop was a hyperlocal delivery startup, that delivered items to your door step.

It was a pleasure to be a part of a startup, for the first time in my life, in its initial stage. Really thankful to my batch-mate Rahul and my junior also the CEO, Ayush who had given me an opportunity to be a part of their journey. I expresses my interest to work with them and they gave me an opportunity to take a lead in operations. A really exciting thing for a NITIE grad being looking at operations and an IITian to be part of startup building.

Building a company from scratch is a difficult thing that I realized in this stint. I used to clock more about 12 hours a day and no weekends!! Got a lot of learnings about how the basics of a startup work from Ayush and Rahul. The journey of building a startup has a lot ups and downs, emotionally and in terms of numbers as well. Getting more and more clients every day is a big challenge for a  company just starting, which is just setting its business. We had few hits and had a lot of misses.

When, I came onboard, GrocShop have made a rough business plan and we knew what would be our business model in broad and we had a basic app ready. The app was a good product in its time, thanks to Rahul. Hyper-local model doesn't have a long supply chain, it has a really short one. Take from a local vendor and deliver to customer's home. But this process needs to be really efficient. Right from taking order from the app, to sharing it with the vendor. The vendor needs to keep it ready as the delivery boy comes to pick the order, verifies it and then delivers it to the customers.

We have to create all this and make it possible for each of these individual elements work efficiently and in time. We divided Mumbai into zones where we can work from. Started with Powai & Hiranandani, our birth place. Started to integrate vendors and delivery persons. In order to create efficiency, we started recognizing vendors who have their own deliver capacity in their local area and give them preference in allocation in their area. We started with FMCG goods. Delivery persons to deliver where we dont have such vendors. In our small micro markets we started to do wonders, in our own view. We have not been unit positive, as we were running campaigns and promo discounts to get more and more customers. We have started delivering in 90 mins flat. Once we established our basic business model, we started expanding to other areas. We hired talent from NITIE, SJMSOM and IITB and started to expand to other areas.

We faced tough competition though from hugely funded Groffers. At this stage Groffers have been pushing huge discounts. With deep pockets, they simply were able to burn more and we lost our traction. Keeping up with competition has become difficult. So we started delivering fresh vegetables. This is where we found our next growth. But again the same was also followed by Groffers. Thats how our self funded startup lost to deeply funded entities.

Learning: Your idea can be great, but there are multiple things that can make one fail. Competition and its pockets are important things to be considered. OYO killed a huge number of hotel players. Some startups in todays scenario are blidly funded, without right business model. Massive betting in such startups leads to huge loss of whole ecosystem in general. Right business models never picks up, its killed. A lot of things were wrong in out model as well, but there could have been a better model, not by us, may be by others, but hugely funded player in market killed all possibilities. I wanted to make sure, whatever I do next would have right business basics and getting funding is a good thing, but making sure that your business makes money on every transaction is far more important. If you give value to a customer, then you should definitely charge for it, its important for a business to grow and survive in order to serve.


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