The Comeback Kid award goes to Grofers
Albinder Dhindsa and Saurabh Kumar founded Grofers in 2013 as a platform taking orders online from customers and delivering to them groceries sourced from neighbourhood stores.
Similar hyper-local startups were popping up in every city, but with investors, including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management backing it, Grofers was out to compete with the market leader BigBasket. It scaled up in no time, but in May 2016, Grofers started experiencing a slowdown in growth, as did several other hyper-local businesses.
Dhindsa and Kumar then decided to build warehouses and pivot to an inventory-led model. Grofers shut operations in nine cities and laid off employees, and investors and entrepreneurs started writing obituaries of the company.
But the founders kept at it and their decision to pivot to an inventory-led model paid off. Over the past 15 months, Grofers has grown by about six times.
Grofers’ successful turnaround story was the single-most important factor in granting Dhindsa and Kumar the title of ‘Comeback Kid’ at The Economic Times Startup Awards this year.
“It is a recognition for our team that has worked hard to make sure we do the right things for our business and customers from day one. We will continue to innovate to improve our service and bring efficiency into grocery buying that will increase savings for our customers,” said Dhindsa.
Grofers has started a membership programme called Smart Bachat Club that crossed 50,000 subscribers in just two weeks of its launch and 1,50,000 subscribers in 90 days. In addition to selling grocery, Grofers also delivers household care, beauty and wellness, and baby care products to customers across 13 cities in India. Prior to pivoting to an inventory-led model, Grofers’ monthly revenue was ?18-20 crore. In May this year, the company recorded ?127 crore in revenue. This kind of scaling up wouldn’t have been possible if the founders hadn’t taken the call to rollback services in several cities to fix the supply-chain gaps.
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