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Swiggy acqui-hires 48East to ramp up new supply biz

Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd-owned food delivery platform Swiggy has acqui-hired Bengaluru-based gourmet Asian food startup 48East to strengthen its new supply business.

As part of the deal, Joseph Cherian and Nabhojit Ghosh, the co-founders of Love Food Ventures Pvt. Ltd, which runs 48East, will join the recently-launched business vertical.

Last week, Swiggy had appointed former Reckitt Benckiser executive Vishal Bhatia as the chief executive of the new supply business.

Bhatia’s appointment and the 48East acqui-hire comes a month after the food ordering startup launched its maiden initiative, Swiggy Access, which is part of the supply business vertical. The initiative offers partner restaurants a supply-only kitchen facility for faster delivery.

According to the company, as COO of the new supply business line, Cherian will address the supply gaps through various strategic initiatives. “This would include the recently-launched Swiggy Access, where the company brings a variety of food to consumers by enabling plug-and-play expansion for restaurant partners in different areas,” the company said in a press note.

Acqui-hire refers to a buyout decision on the basis of the skills and expertise of the employees of the target company, rather than its products or services.

“With their deep understanding of the food space and an impressive track record of delivering a great consumer experience, the 48East team will equip Swiggy with additional capabilities,” said Sriharsha Majety, CEO, Swiggy.

According to a Swiggy spokesperson, the objective of the new supply business is to address the supply gaps related to the availability of food options or restaurant choices based on consumer demand.

48East, an online food delivery platform offering on-demand oriental cuisines prepared in its cloud kitchens, was launched in August 2016. It catered to the taste buds of the Bengaluru consumer with a variety of gourmet food representing the 48 nations across Asia, including China, India, West Asia, Southeast Asia and the Far East.

While Cherian is a Harvard Business School alumnus with over 20 years of experience at global brands such as Papa John’s and McDonald’s, Ghosh has been a veteran chef who has worked with several hotel chains, a private equity firm and a food-tech brand.

The startup had secured $500,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) in pre-Series A funding from the Al Dhaheri family of the UAE in February. In August 2016, it had raised $250,000 in an angel round from Agra-based silver jewellery exporter, ACPL Exports.

The 3,200 sq. ft. Swiggy Access facility at Marathahalli in Bengaluru houses three restaurants – Leon Grill, Keventers, and Punjabi Rasoi – besides Swiggy’s private brands The Bowl Company and House of Dabbas.

“With Swiggy Access, we are diversifying local palates and bridging geographical gaps in supply. It will enable our restaurant partners to expand to newer neighbourhoods and a larger consumer base at a fraction of the expense,” Majety had said in a statement.

The ready-to-occupy kitchens will offer partner restaurants a basic setup with the required amenities. While Swiggy will not charge a rent or deposit, Majety said the commission fees would be higher than marketplace charges.

The company plans to set up more such facilities to bring at least 40 partner restaurants under the Access programme within the next six months.

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