From delivering gourmet food to sourcing the freshest of farmers’ produce, these new platforms cater to your gastronomic needs
Ninjacart is an agri-marketing platform that connects farmers, with retailers and restaurants, through an integrated supply chain. It currently has a 130-member team based out of Bengaluru distributing about 1,000 tons of produce a month, covering more than 1,200 merchants and restaurants. The plan is to bring the whole of Bengaluru inside its distribution ambit in the next quarter. The idea is pretty simple. Ninjacart has farmer liaison teams who organise the procurement of various vegetables based on estimated demand. The procured items reach the warehouse in the evening where they are graded and sorted according to orders and dispatched by 4:30 the next morning. They have an in-house enterprise resource planning and management system that ensures every item and activity is tracked in real time. This is handled through a web-interface and use of various mobile applications.
The founding team is a bunch of six start-up enthusiasts who have previously worked with companies like TaxiForSure, Ola, Commonfloor and Verizon. Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Sharath Loganathan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sachin P Jose and Vasudevan Chinnathambi. Raghunandan G, the co-founder of TaxiForSure is an advisor and mentor to the team.
The idea was to bridge the gap in India’s poor supply chain for vegetables and fruits. The group believes that the city is a perfect ecosystem for bootstrapping and trying out a new idea. “There are a large bunch of talented people who are as hungry as the entrepreneurs and aspire to be a part of the startup story. External factors like a cosmopolitan crowd, tech-savvy population and various forums for founders to interact and network makes it an apt place for startups,” says Nagarajan.
Entrée, a Bengaluru-based, premium food-delivery service works in two very interesting ways – it provides diners with a better set of options from high-end restaurants when they order-in, and helps high-end restaurateurs enter the delivery market without compromising on quality.
Diners order from a curated selection of eateries, pay for their food using cash,card or Paytm, and track their delivery to the door. You can order from multiple restaurants for one delivery, schedule a meal up to a week in advance, and customise your food too. Some of Entree’s current partners include Sunny’s, Toscano, Sancho’s, Singkong, Shiro, Cafe Noir, and The Love & Crumble Co.
This self-funded app venture has been live for a little over a month and has as its executive team a bunch of avid food lovers — Karan Virwani, Siddharth Mankani, Upasti Basappa and Rahul Raj.
The four of them first felt the need for a service like Entree when they moved back to Bengaluru after their stints abroad. “We were heartened to see the aggregator-delivery model flourishing, but weren’t completely satisfied with the options they offered,” says Upasti. “We were accustomed to living in cities like London and New York where you could get a meal from the city’s best high-end restaurant delivered to your door.”
The idea developed further when Virwani and Mankani launched a popular restaurant in the city. They wanted to get into the delivery market, but weren’t comfortable throwing their painstakingly cultivated brand into a list of hundreds of restaurants with varying APCs. The predicament resulted in the creation of Entrée.
While valuation is a huge part of the game, the priority is to try and make the model as unit profitable as possible and build a sustainable business. Bengaluru seemed to be perfect place to start this venture up, because it was home to all four. “The city is brimming with resources for start-ups, the ecosystem is collaborative and supportive more than hyper-competitive,” Upasti concludes.
Back2basics is all about organic farming. The initiative has farms spread across close to 200 acres around Bengaluru and is jointly run by dynamic father-daughter duo — S Madhusudhan, a corporate veteran with over two decades of experience and Bhairavi Madhusudhan, a dual-degree holder in Economics and International Studies from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Back2basics currently produces over 90 local and exotic varieties of fruits, vegetables and greens, grown using world-class techniques and chemical-free inputs. Their objective is to encourage healthy eating among consumers and provide the best of chemical-free organic produce, direct from the farm to the consumer’s doorstep. They currently supply their produce to reputed grocery chains, retailers, organic stores and gated communities in Bengaluru.
The produce is also exported to organic chains and retailers in other parts of the world. “We have introduced a unique concept of experiential farming for our consumers to come see high-quality organic production for themselves, learn about the inputs we use and even pick their own produce. Our experiential farm is the first of its kind in India, and has been designed with the notion that ultimately “seeing is believing,” says Madhusudhan.
The key differentiator lies in the business model. Back2basics does not do any type of contract farming. They have direct control over all the farmland, as this helps them guarantee quality and consistency.
—Ruth DSouza Prabhu