Zomato curbs cash burn; food ordering biz leads revenue growth
Photo Credit: Ankit Kumar/VCCircle

Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd reduced its cash burn substantially and grew its revenue rapidly in the year through March, as the restaurant listings and food delivery firm eyes profitability.

The cash burn dropped 81% to $12 million (Rs 77.5 crore at current exchange rates) in 2016-17 from $64 million the year before, the Gurgaon-based company said in a blog on its website.

Revenue surged about 80% to $49 million (Rs 316 crore) in 2016-17. Ad sales revenue climbed 58% to about $38 million while revenue from the food ordering business jumped eight-fold to almost $9 million.

The company had posted revenue of Rs 184.96 crore in 2015-16, up from Rs 96.73 crore the year before. It recorded a net loss of Rs 574.5 crore for 2015-16 compared with Rs 147.6 crore in 2014-15 due partly to higher expenses, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, based on Zomato’s filings to the Registrar of Companies.

Zomato said its loss for 2015-16 also included non-operating burn such as depreciation, amortisation and non-cash items. It added that its monthly cash burn between December 2016 and March 2017 was a shade below $250,000 – down from $4.2 million in March 2016.

The company said it redesigned its advertisement model, which offered a simpler interface and provided greater visibility to well-rated advertisers, as well as took measures to enhance efficiency of the ad sales team as part of its efforts to accelerate growth.

During the year, Zomato launched its first cloud kitchen in Delhi-NCR and a premium membership programme, Zomato Gold, in Lisbon and Dubai. Its point of sale product, Zomato Base, is running paid beta trials across 200-plus restaurants.

Zomato’s table reservation offering, which was launched in July 2016, services 24,000 restaurants across 12 Indian cities. The company’s monthly active user base stands at 53 million, an increase of 43% over March 2016.

Zomato was founded in 2008 by IIT-Delhi alumni and former Bain employees Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah. It is present across 13 Indian cities, and at three locations in the UAE. The company was valued at over $1 billion in September 2015 following a $60 million investment by Singapore government’s investment company Temasek and existing investor Vy Capital. It had subsequently raised $50 million led by parent Info Edge India Ltd in April 2016.

Turf war

In the food ordering space, Zomato’s competitors include Bundl Technologies Pvt Ltd-owned Swiggy.com and Foodpanda.com, owned by Germany’s Delivery Hero. And, the race is heating up.

In fact, the neck-and-neck fight between Swiggy and Zomato is well documented in the numbers – while Swiggy processed one million orders in May 2016, Zomato had clocked 750,000 bookings. A year later, however, Zomato turned the tables on its closest rival to touch the two million orders mark. Swiggy’s latest numbers are not yet available.

Like Zomato, both Foodpanda India and Swiggy had been burning a lot of cash. The losses for Foodpanda had quadrupled to Rs 142.6 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 36 crore in the previous fiscal year, while Swiggy posted a loss of Rs 137 crore for 2015-16. The companies recorded revenue of Rs 37.8 crore and Rs 24 crore, respectively.

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