Gurgaon-based Cyber Chef, an online marketplace for home-cooked meals, is keen to appease the taste buds of foreign tourists.
The food-tech venture is piloting a model in which it would facilitate meals from Indian families and provide other culinary services to foreigners, said Neha Puri, Cyber Chef's co-founder and CEO.
"We want tourists to come and enjoy Indian services. Everyone talks about Indian hospitality but you get the actual flavour of this country only when you visit people's houses," Neha told techcircle.in.
Launched in February, Cyber Chef, which is run by India Cooks LLP, provides a marketplace for procuring food from over 70 home chefs in Gurgaon. The food aggregator also offers dessert options.
Cyber Chef seeks to offer three types of services to foreign guests. A tourist can dine at the home chef's household in Gurgaon or Mumbai. Secondly, he/she can attend culinary coaching classes. The tourist can also shadow the home chef for a full day and accompany her to buy vegetables and assist in cooking meals. Cyber Chef will launch these paid services by the current year-end.
"We are going to charge foreign guests on the basis of the menu they choose for dining and cookery classes," said Puri, an alumnus of Warwick Business School.
Eventually, Cyber Chef will tie up with travel agencies, hotels and airliners to get foreign tourists on board.
Cyber Chef has already selected a bunch of female chefs who can familiarise tourists with various cuisines.
Neha, who started Cyber Chef with her management graduate brother Anuj Puri, had earlier worked with an IT firm..
"While staying away from home for five years, I was forced to eat out regularly. This made me seek healthy and freshly cooked home food made with less oil," said Neha.
Talking about the home chefs engaged with Cyber Chef, Neha said: "These ladies are passionate about cooking. However, they lacked logistics support and manpower to set up their business. Cyber Chef has given them that platform," she added.
The firm claims that it processes at least 150 orders per day. The ticket size per order ranges between Rs 150 and Rs 300. "Our sales have started picking up in the last two months. About 65 per cent of orders come from repeat customers," said Neha. The firm currently takes orders through its call centre and website. It has a fleet of 15 delivery boys.
Expansion and future plans
The company, which recently set up its Mumbai base, is keen to expand into other cities. Delhi and Pune are next on the radar of Cyber Chef, which is a bootstrapped venture.
The startup was launched with an initial investment of around Rs 1 crore from the promoters' family and relatives.
"We want to raise Rs 3.3 crore ($5,00,000) for our expansion plans. We hope to secure capital by March," Neha said.
The food-tech space has become a preferred bastion for VC investments. Startups in this space either offer an ordering platform from restaurants or run their own kitchens/cafes. Some serve ready-to-cook or ready-to-serve meal boxes.
Earlier this month, Holachef Hospitality Pvt Ltd, which runs an online marketplace where professionals and amateur chefs can sell meals, secured an undisclosed amount in funding from Tata Sons' chairman emeritus Ratan Tata.
Also, Bangalore-based Bundl Technologies Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates online food ordering startup Swiggy.com, has raised Series B funding of $16.5 million (around Rs 102 crore) in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) for expanding its geographical footprint and brand building.
Delhi-NCR-based Bite Club raised Rs 3 crore from Powai Lake Ventures and angels such as Aneesh Reddy of Capillary Technologies, Ashish Kashyap of Goibibo Group and Alok Mittal of Canaan Partners. In February, food technology and delivery start-up yumist raised about Rs 6.2 crore from venture capital firm Orios Venture Partners.
The biggest deal in this space was that of TinyOwl which raised Rs 100 crore in its Series B round from Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and Nexus Venture Partners, while Foodpanda raised $110 million for its global plans.