New Delhi-based Duronto Technologies Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates TravelKhana, an online food delivery service for Indian Railways' commuters, is close to raising $3-5 million in its third round of funding, the company's founder and CEO Pushpinder Singh informed Techcircle.com.
While Singh did not reveal the names of the investors, he mentioned that all of them are VC funds, and not HNIs or private equity players.
The funds will be invested in improving the back-end technology, including the analytics team and the mobile app, which will now have a notification system that will notify customers of discounts, new menus and restaurants added.
"We also need to ensure that the mobile tracking becomes more accurate," said Singh.
The company also plans to set up regional offices in eight cities in the country, including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada, Chennai, Nagpur and Kolkata. Currently, it has a single office in Hyderabad, while its employees travel across the country for deals.
TravelKhana also plans to set up delivery points at railway stations. "We have identified 80 different stations and plan to begin with 20 stations first. These include stations in the metro cities and other large stations across the country," he added.
The startup was founded in 2012 by Singh, a BITS Pilani graduate who also holds a B.Tech in Engineering from IIT (Banaras Hindu University). Prior to setting up this venture, he was CTO at INCA Informatics. In the past, he had worked with Lotus Interworks and Sopra Consulting in various positions. Singh had started the company with an initial personal investment of Rs 22 lakh, with a further funding of Rs 25 lakh from startup investor Matteo Chiampo.
TravelKhana enables railway commuters to order food online or over the phone. Passengers can select the food of their choice from restaurants along the route they are commuting. The restaurants are selected and verified by TravelKhana personnel, while the platform tracks train status, and coordinates food preparation time with the restaurant to ensure that the passengers receive meals on their seats. TravelKhana claims to have served more than four lakh railway commuters to date.
Singh mentions that while there are about 1.5 crore daily long distance train travellers, just 300 of the 5,000 trains have pantry cars available in them. And even the pantry cars do not deliver standard food. The startup covers over 160 stations and has tied up with 600 outlets across the country. It works on a commission basis with the restaurants, and had recently also partnered with OTA MakeMyTrip to offer food on buses.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)