The advertisements regulator has questioned Zepto, one of the country’s hottest startups, over whether its ads in a newspaper promote rash driving by its delivery riders, said people familiar with the matter and documents Moneycontrol has seen.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) issued a show cause notice to Zepto, following a consumer complaint against a pamphlet ad supplied with The Times of India two weeks ago. “Isn’t it dangerous and not practical all the time? Dangerous because for achieving the time period the delivery person will take risk while riding on road as he/she needs to reach in 10 minutes,” the unnamed complainant is quoted in the notice, which Moneycontrol has seen.
“We have received a complaint against Zepto; however, as the matter is still under process, we are unable to share more details at this stage,” an ASCI spokesperson said in response to Moneycontrol’s queries.
Zepto, founded by two 19-year-old Stanford dropouts, is valued at $570 million and is less than a year old. Its 10 minute grocery delivery service already has investors jostling to fund it at a valuation of a billion dollars--making it a unicorn-- people said, requesting anonymity as talks are private. Zepto is eyeing a market where companies bleed millions of dollars a month in the hope that it can stop discounting and charge customers for delivery once customers are used to Zepto- a chimera according to its critics.