K Ganesh invests in local services delivery platform Delyver.com

Bangalore-based neighbourhood services delivery platform Delyver.com has raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from K Ganesh, Meena Ganesh, V Sudhakar and Shankar Maruwada.

Sudhakar is the co-founder of bigbasket.com, an online supermarket also backed by K Ganesh and Shankar Maruwada is the co-founder of Marketics, a Bangalore-based provider of marketing analytics services acquired by WNS in 2007.

Delyver.com, which operates in Bangalore suburbs of Whitefield and Sarjapur, plans to expand to the entire metro with this funding. The long-term plan is to be present in all major metros in the country.

Founded in 2010 2 years back by Reebu Varghese, Praful Thachery and Afsal Salu –- batchmates at IIM Lucknow’s 2004 batch -- Delyver Retail Network Pvt. Ltd basically works to tie up with merchants or vendors of local services and delivers their products with Delyver’s logistics. Delyver provides a delivery platform for a host of categories including food, ice cream, flowers, dry cleaning, raw meat and fish, fresh veggies and fruits, cakes, chocolates etc.

Delyver ties up with the local vendors and list their products on Delyver.com. Customers can place orders on the portal and get the goods at their doorstep. “Our focus is on the daily needs of customers, things that they need regularly and can be delivered instantly. We focus on a professional, timely and good delivery system which is also our USP,” said Varghese, co-founder, Delyver. The current categories have been chosen just to test out the model as a pilot.

The criteria for choosing the product categories include relevance to the corporate crowd present in large numbers in suburbs where Delyver operates, products that are deliverable and those regularly needed, thus inducing a repeat purchasing behaviour. Another consideration is to have the products that don’t require major overhead transport charges. Baby products, medicines and groceries would be included soon, Varghese said.

The company has a team of 50 people, including delivery guys, but it also lets merchants who have a strong network do the delivery. Delyver maps orders for proper monitoring and timely deliveries through GPS, albeit only for deliveries done by its own staff. It levies a small delivery charge for the orders, but avoids minimum order value unless the merchant insists on it.

The whole concept of being a platform for neighbourhood stores is not novel (remember Aaramshop for local kirana stores), but providing logistics is Delyver’s differentiator. Varghese said in the physical retail market, consumers want efficient and quick deliveries more than anything else.

This is the Ganesh couple’s fifth investment after Bigbasket, Bluestone, an online jewellery store, travel information portal MustSeeIndia and BookAdda, an online book store. “Doing scalable e-commerce profitably is the holy grail and that is what blew me away with Delyver. While they currently focus on hyper local products and services (restaurant food, cakes, sweets, flowers, dry cleaning, etc) there is nothing that is stopping them from delivering any product or service a consumer wants,” Ganesh said.

The idea behind the funding is to explore the concept in depth, unlock its potential and position Delyver for the growth ahead, he said. “Their customers trust them, order once or twice a week on average and love that they get whatever they want in 30 minutes or so. There is nothing stopping Delyver from getting into electronics, books, apparel or any eCommerce category - as long as they can do so profitably,” Ganesh said.

The entrepreneur-cum-investor duo is keen to look for more innovative startups to mentor and fund. “Meena and I are very enthusiastic and bullish on the Indian start-up eco system. We are impressed by the quality of first generation entrepreneurs who are willing to risk their career and future and build great companies,” he said.

Ganesh bets big on the India consumption story and backs business models with a “disruptive element” such as use of technology or Internet or new ways of thinking.

“We are fans of Greenfield ideas that address big pain points and basic needs of the common man. We don’t like me-too ideas such as the fifth deal site or the eighth baby products or the tenth apparel site,” Ganesh said.

On the consolidation spree sweeping the e-commerce sector, Ganesh said the real early-stage M&A doesn’t even exist in India. He said all these sales happening currently are distress sales in which the bigger fish acquires the smaller, struggling fish.

“In reality, there are some niche vertical segments that horizontal players can’t even compete with. The niche verticals which need personalisation and customisation will always survive,” he said.

Healthcare services, SaaS, cloud computing, gaming, social networking and education are Ganesh’s five hot picks for the year.

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