Mumbai-based Knights Venture Pvt Ltd, which runs online tiffin aggregator FoodAbhi, has raised seed funding from overseas investors associated with marquee firms such as Intel, Goldman Sachs and others.
The unnamed officials, who are based in the UK, the US and Netherlands, have funded FoodAbhi in their personal capacities, said Amit Dube, founder of FoodAbhi.
The company will use the funds to expand operations to New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, said Dube. A mobile app is also on the cards.
FoodAbhi, which is operational in parts of Mumbai, has already tied up with food vendors such as SpiceBox!, Yummy Tiffins and others in the city.
"We have over 30 vendors on board as partners. Over 15,000 meals have been delivered by FoodAbhi already," said Dube. Meals are priced between Rs 70 and Rs 150.
"On an average 65 per cent of our customers give us repeat business. We also give customers the ability to pause the meal order and the option of switching between food vendors," said Dube.
However, packaging and delivery of meals is ensured by FoodAbhi and not the vendors.
"We own the entire customer experience to ensure food quality and hygiene," said Dube.
The company, which claims to be India's first marketplace for tiffin/dabba services, was launched in July 2014.
FoodAbhi was founded by the husband-wife duo of Amit and Shraddha. Amit is a hospitality management graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai. He has worked with Indian Tourism Development Corporation and PeopleStrong HR Services before launching FoodAbhi. "One of the biggest challenges that I faced personally was getting wholesome, hygienic food of one's choice. Moreover, there is little flexibility if you do not like the food. Hence, a marketplace model was envisaged," said Dube.
The size of the food market in India was around Rs 23 trillion in 2014. It is expected to touch around Rs 42 trillion by 2020, according to research from Boston Consulting Group. The online food ordering and delivery space has turned out to be a new hot space for investors, as per data from VCCEdge, the research platform of VCCircle. Swiggy, Foodpanda, TinyOwl, delyver.com and others have been competing in what is becoming a fairly crowded space. Others like Zomato have also entered the food ordering business but are not involved with delivery itself and just provide an ordering platform.
Mumbai-based TinyOwl, which offers a location-based mobile app for ordering food, had raised $15 million (Rs 93 crore) in Series B round of funding led by Matrix Partners in February this year. Bangalore-based mobile-only food ordering startup TapCibo Online Solutions Pvt Ltd, which operated under the brand TapCibo, rebranded itself as Dazo and raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a bunch of entrepreneurs, including founders of CommonFloor and TaxiForSure last month.
The leader in this space today is Foodpanda.com, a Rocket Internet-backed global, multi-location online food ordering marketplace. Foodpanda had raised $100 million funding led by global financial services giant Goldman Sachs early this month. It had also acquired two key competitors in the country—Just East India and TastyKhana.
Before these ventures sprouted up, restaurants depended on their own delivery personnel for pushing sales over telephone orders. Indeed, vast chunk of the market is still dominated by such a system.