Zomato has become synonymous with “Online food ordering” in India, spanning not just in India, but globally. But most of us are unaware of the guy behind this. Deepinder Goyal has revolutionized the food industry in the country. He is the man behind our Indian Local company that overtook the Indian operation of the global giant UberEats. Before you get busy ordering food, let’s jump right into the story of Zomato founder – Deepinder Goyal
What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think of food at home?
This application is definitely used by many of us for food ordering or for searching for a good restaurant. It is a one-stop spot for all your food cravings needs. But who made it possible?
Deepinder Goyal is the co-founder and CEO of one of the largest restaurant aggregators and food delivery service known as Zomato. Born and brought up at Muktsar, Punjab, he belongs to a very humble middle-class family. Deepinder was always top-notch in his academics and cracked IIT-JEE with admission in IIT-Delhi. He was extremely talented and good with his communication skills since his college days. He eventually completed his graduation in 2005 and landed up with a job offer from Bain and Company, a leading management consulting firm. He was working in Delhi and had a long career of almost four years with Bain and Company. Later he got married to Kanchan Joshi who he met during his college life in IIT Delhi.
Graduating from IIT and then having a job at a top management consulting firm seems to be perfect. What exactly triggered the consultant to become an entrepreneur?
This story begins just with a regular day at work, where Deepinder and his office colleagues wanted to look into the menu card of the cafeteria. It was a very crowded place with a very long queue and consumed a lot of time to reach the counter and then place an order. All of this was a daily struggle during lunch hours. They also had to share a menu card with all the others creating a lot of inconveniences. He looked at this as a lot of struggle for getting the food. That is the exact same reason wherein he thought of bringing up an online menu card for everyone’s ease and convenience. After knowing the true reason for starting with Zomato, it will make you believe in the fact that “Necessity is the mother of invention”.
In the early stage of this idea, Deepinder and his friend from Bain and Company, Pankaj Chaddah started with an online menu where you can rate and find online menus with rates so that you can pre-decide your order and save time at the restaurant. This new-age startup in 2008 was named as FoodieBay.
Foodiebay.com was an online food guide and restaurant directory. Later, it rebranded itself as Zomato.com. Zomato is derived from the word ‘tomato’ and has a zing to it which adds to the brand recall. The rebranding was done with an aim to help the company expand its areas of operations beyond food and restaurant listings and enter the nightlife listing business.
Deepinder Goyal, co-founder and CEO at then, Foodiebay, once said,
“We saw that if we wanted to touch broader horizons then the name Foodiebay wouldn’t be the best choice as it constrains our perception to one of a food website. Another thought at the back of our minds was to prevent any overstepping of eBay when we start accepting online payments. So, we decided to keep the idea of food at the center but choose a name that is timeless and encompassing – Zomato.”
In 2014, with the launch of Reliance Jio internet users increased rapidly and so did Zomato users. The internet has definitely brought the world closer and was one revolutionary change for Zomato. They were in losses till 2013 and started moving to profits due to increased internet users in 2014. Zomato is now operating in 24 countries, and it started with just two people in 2008.
This food-tech startup is growing ambitiously. Apart from the launch of Zomato Gold and Zomato Pickup, the company grabbed attention with its entry into the “farm-to-fork” model with HyperPure, a supply platform that sources ingredients for restaurant partners. Zomato has been around for 10 years now, but the journey hasn’t been easy or simple. There have been security breaches, the infamous internal email, the layoffs, and talk that the startup just wasn’t raising any money.
Deepinder has a very positive approach towards each problem, and a problem solver will always tackle all the difficulties and issues with a positive attitude. He strongly believes in Murphy’s Law.
Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. So, while thinking of a campaign, making Murphy’s list of what can go wrong, can help understand the dynamicity. At Zomato, the business heads come up with a list, and the team addresses the issues, looks for solutions, or keeps an eye out for potential trouble.
According to Deepinder, identifying and hiring the right people has been like looking for a white glove in a snowstorm. He believed that the biggest challenge faced by any fast-growing company is finding the right talent to fuel growth. Zomato keeps innovating in the ways they hire and try their best to ensure that people fit in well in terms of their skill, culture, and attitude. However, Zomato faces the challenge to find the right people for the right job. Deepinder believed that human capital is the biggest asset that a startup can own and thus invests a lot of time to choose the right talent.
Zomato has closed a $250 million funding round, led by existing investors Tiger Global, Kora, and Fidelity. The primary financing values the food delivery app at $5.4 billion post-money, from about $3.9 billion in December when it had raised $660 million. The app is also planning to launch an IPO in 2021.
Deepinder rightly describes an entrepreneurs’ life, stating,
“The toughest part of being an entrepreneur is that you get zero casual leaves. Sometimes you don’t want to and sometimes you just can’t. But the best part of being an entrepreneur is the fact that you don’t want to take any casual leaves”