Funding for the Food Tech Industry

Swiggy for $35 million funding. Including the former round of funding of $16.5 million, this has to be one of the most fun news the food tech segment has heard in recent months.

For those who were beginning to say that the ‘startup bubble’ was bursting, this round of funding is good news. It suggests that there is definitely interest in the Indian startup industry (whew!).

The startup world is something that might never go out of fashion entirely. That’s like suggesting LBDs, bacon and eggs for breakfast and great cars will go out of style. They might quiet down for a while but they never go out of fashion. 

The StartUp Industry has been around in India for nearly a decade. The buzzword started in around 2006 – 2008 in India. The biggest buzz happened between 2007 and 2011.

 

Flipkart – 2007
Myntra – 2007
CommonFloor – 2007
Snapdeal – 2010
Quickr – 2008
Zomato – 2008
Ola Cabs – 2010
Housing.com – 2012

 

The last couple of years have been a boom in startups across the country. If you live in the vicinity of Koramangala, Bangalore, you have access to over 100 startups… small companies operating out of their 1-bhk houses, doing market research, trying to float a company. Only a fraction of these ever make it to the funding stages, and a further fraction last beyond a few years.

Some of them shut down, some of them are bought over.

But what makes a startup grow? Why did Swiggy win $35 million in investment while Food Panda is busy shutting shop? Why did Fresh Menu win $20 million in 2015? Why did TinyOwl shut offices?

These are questions that one should ask, particularly if you are intending to start a company. There are dozens of ‘similar’ companies in the market today. They might differentiate themselves with small USPs, but when you look at the bigger picture, a TinyOwl is similar to Swiggy, as they were similar to FoodPanda. And anyone remember Delyver.com?

There are lessons to be learned from these failed startups, and successful startups. It is not enough to merely have an idea and start a company. It is not enough to merely run the company well and strong in the first couple of years.

The challenges grow with the size of the company. Securing seed funding is only the first step. How you spend that money, how you grow and where you grow makes a difference to further rounds of funding.

Many startups make the mistake of approaching funding too early. If you have a vision, you need to have the freedom to execute it as well. Once you have backer, you are worrying about the numbers, which might detract you from your vision.

It would be easy to say that you should not fear starting a company simply because there is a bigger company of the same kind. That lack of fear is the reason why we have many smaller startups littering the street. The question to ask yourself is “Can you do something vastly different than what the company is currently doing”.

If the answer yes, then perhaps it is worth exploring. Or if you can move faster and bigger and better (which means you need the money, the market intelligence, the manpower ready to go).

The startup world is not going to die. But is it time for innovations.

We’ve had a series of aggregators in every field and form – Taxis, food, clothes, houses, all sorts of products.

What’s next? What is the next startup other than listing out all types of companies, albeit one-click approach?

They would be the ones to watch.

 

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