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Interview | Saurabh Kumar wants to create a Grofers in the online retail space

Saurabh Kumar believes that the e-commerce sector will continue to reshape and see more disruption as the current ecosystem cannot keep up with customer expectations.

September 28, 2021 / 09:19 AM IST
Saurabh Kumar, co-founder Grofers

Saurabh Kumar, co-founder Grofers

Three months after exiting Grofers, co-founder Saurabh Kumar is back in the start-ups ecosystem, and how! This Bhagalpur-born entrepreneur is all set to launch his new start-up, Warpli — a quick commerce marketplace which aims to deliver everything to consumers in just a few hours.

Kumar is unabashedly locking horns with the goliaths of the e-commerce world — Amazon and Flipkart, by claiming that his venture will cater to gaps left by the competition in India’s online retail space.

In an exclusive interaction with Moneycontrol, Kumar talks about the need to deliver products faster to consumers, Grofers’ attempt to deliver groceries fast, and his vision for quick commerce in India. Here are the edited excerpts:

The e-commerce market is quite defined by now. How will your start-up work?

Markets are always defined and redefined. That is how businesses get build. There is an opportunity here and a visible gap which is why there is going to be more and more disruption. It is not going to continue to be the way it is today.

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Existing e-commerce is too slow and built for an experience that is far behind what customers want. Customer expectations are evolving faster than what current e-commerce can keep pace with.

This is happening at a time when even Grofers is focusing on 10-minutes delivery. Do you think e-commerce can also get into the 10-minutes delivery domain?

It will get faster and faster. Whether you can deliver in 10-minutes or not depends on a lot of factors. But a lot of e-commerce can happen much faster than what we have today.

How much minutes are you targeting to deliver products then?

It will definitely be minutes and hours and not days.

Will it be based on the hyper-local delivery concept?

If the delivery is being done in hours, of course it cannot come from a faraway place. It has to be sitting closer to consumer.

What will be the strategy? Will you be setting up dark stores in partnership with retailers? Or will it be more of an inventory led model?

What we do believe is that a lot of these components are lying close enough to consumers. Think of things you have bought on an e-commerce store in the last few months. Majority of those products are available in a market around you.

Have you raised any angel round yet?

For us getting started and problem solving is the priority right now.

So you are completely bootstrapped?

Yes

How much money have you invested and are planning to invest in the company before you raise your first round of funding?

We do not have any expenditure, we just have to build up the product right now. It is not that we need significant capital right away. That is not a problem statement for us.

Will Albinder Dhindsa or Deepinder Goyal be investing?

That they will tell you.

You have also said that the company is hiring. How many people are you looking to hire?

Basically a tech team and an operational team.

By when will the marketplace be launched?

Couple of months.

What will be your target market? Will you only focus at the metros or will look at the Tier 2-3 cities as well?

It will be focused more on urban centers.

You still are a stakeholder in Grofers. Are you looking to offload your stake?

I have stake there. I am still on the board. I am not looking to exit that.

How do you see the grocery delivery space picking up right now?

There's a lot happening there. The kind of growth that happened in food right, it is very close to that inflection point in grocery as well.

But do you think 10 minutes delivery is sustainable?

People think it is more expensive but it is not. You pay the delivery boy the same amount of money. The cost of storage is the same. It is just that you are designing your entire organisation and supply chain to be able to do that fulfilment in 10 minutes.

Do you think Zomato plus Grofers will become a powerful combination?

It's not like they have to be together. They are in different markets.

Coming back to your start-up. The sector is over funded and to a large extent saturated. How are you going to fight the goliaths of the world?

If money was the only problem then no new companies would ever come up.
Priyanka Sahay
first published: Sep 28, 2021 09:00 am

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