Zepto Startup Success Story: Becoming Unicorn by Delivering Grocery in 10 Minutes

Founded by two very young entrepreneurs, Zepto is a grocery delivery app that claims to be the fastest in its league, delivering groceries in less than 10 minutes.

In fact, Aadit, one of the co-founders of Zepto says that their standard delivery time statistically is just 8 minutes and 47 seconds.

Zepto currently delivers more than 3,000 essential as well as non-essential food items and products ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to health and hygiene products at your doorstep whenever and wherever you’re in need. No catch.

An interesting fact: Zepto is named after the smallest unit of time- zeptosecond- the trillionth of a billionth of a second (which looks like 0.000000000000000000001).

Recently, Zepto raised $200 Million in its Series E funding led by StepStone Group at the valuation of $1.4 Billion, becoming India’s first unicorn startup of 2023.

Founders of Zepto & the Beginning

Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra are the co-founders of Zepto, who launched it in April 2021 after its operational stage from June 2020 to March 2021.

Both are Stanford University dropouts, and seriously, what is it with dropouts breaking stereotypes and being super accomplished in their life?

These two have now become the youngest entrepreneurs ever to feature in the IIFL Wealth- Hurun India Rich List 2022 which also features Mukesh Ambani.

Aadit and Kaivalya, both are childhood friends who grew up in Dubai and dropped out of the computer science course that they were pursuing and started Zepto together during the pandemic in April 2021.

They partnered with Y Combinator (a startup accelerator) and raised $60 million to make this venture possible. Now, they have also successfully made it to the Forbes Influential 30 under 30 list (Asia) in the e-commerce category in 2022.

The inspiration behind Zepto

At the onset of the pandemic, people were confined to their own houses and were unable to step foot outside of their houses and thus the need for grocery delivery apps has been escalating ever since the beginning of the pandemic.

This inspired the co-founders to start working on the app to bring about convenience and ease and to make people’s day-to-day lives a little easier and hassle-free.

With more and more people now preferring groceries delivered to their doorsteps over the tedious process of going out and buying them, the app has gained tremendous success in the first year of its launch and raised $200 million at a valuation of $900 million in May this year, almost making it to the list of unicorn startups. 

How does Zepto actually work?

I’m positive that many people wonder how Zepto actually manages to deliver thousands of orders in a day in the blink of an eye. Here’s how it works.

It primarily works through something called dark stores. Dark stores are distribution outlets that customers don’t have direct access to. These facilitate on-demand order fulfillment and thanks to this, the employees that are appointed to collect groceries from these stores can deliver them as instantly as possible.

These stores are available in abundance and are spread all over India and are usually located in neighborhoods with greater demand. Hence, they can select, pack, and ship orders in less than 60 seconds!

Aadit Palicha has also mentioned that the average delivery distance is just about 1.8 km. This 10-min instant delivery startup, Zepto has worked with over 86 dark store owners in around thirteen different areas and has generated over one million deliveries in the span of just a year. 

Zepto Success Story

Zepto has witnessed huge growth in a very low span of time. Its services are currently available in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Noida and Pune, and soon coming to other cities.

As per Bobble AI Data Intelligence Division, Zepto has witnessed a huge 946% user growth between December 2021 and March 2022, whereas its competitors Blinkit, BigBasket, and Dunzo witnessed 18%, 58% and 94% respectively in the same period of time. Its growth speaks all about how much people like the new kind of instant delivery service it’s offering.

Latest Endeavors from the Founders of Zepto

Following the launch of the largely successful Zepto app, its developers also have tried their hands at launching ‘Zepto Cafe’ in Mumbai. It launched in April 2022 and hence is fairly recent, and it delivers ready-to-drink coffee, tea, and other packaged snacks in just under 10 minutes.

Aadit Palicha has confirmed that this startup doesn’t resemble a food delivery app like Zomato and Swiggy and that they don’t want to build a complex food supply chain and move away from their main objective.

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