Two 19-year-old Stanford dropouts launch Zepto that disrupts grocery delivery space

Many of us have “business ideas,” but their completion leaves behind even the most talented among us. Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, the 19-year-old Zepto founders, are not from the latter genotype. As their second company, the Stanford University dropouts established Zepto, a 10-minute grocery delivery startup sponsored by Y Combinator. KiranaKart, their initial venture, had to be shut down due to a lack of market fit for their products.

Palicha and Vohra both studied at Stanford to study Computer Science but left to pursue their business ambitions. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the concept for Zepto arose in the restrictions of their homes. A surge in demand for delivery services indicated that groceries and other necessities would arrive in a matter of days, creating a vacuum for quick delivery. As a result, Zepto was created with that thought in mind.

Investors appreciated their concept well, as they secured $60 million earlier this month in a round headed by Glade Brook, Nexus, Lachy Groom, Y Combinator, and Global Founders Capital. Vohra stated that their net promoter score (NPS) increased as they began their 10-minute delivery. “Simply put, customers love a rapid delivery experience. The data speaks for itself – once we started delivering in 10 minutes, our NPS shot up and has constantly remained at around 85 with a 50%+ week-on-week user retention rate, which shows the incredibly strong customer love for our product,” he added in a statement according to a report by Business Today.

Whereas a $60 million round is remarkable, it is even more astounding given that the startup was created only in April of this year. Zepto is presently valued at between $200 and $300 million, according to various reports. Nonetheless, they are not without rivals. In reality, the few-month-old startup competes with big players like Swiggy, BigBasket, Grofers, and others. Grofers, for example, guarantees 10-minute delivery. Swiggy delivers groceries, toiletries, and self-care goods in 15 minutes via InstaMart.

Zepto has a chain of ‘cloud stores’ or micro-warehouses to make them ready for quick delivery. They can now deliver in areas of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurugram, and Chennai. They want to open offices in Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Pune. It has received over 1,00,000 downloads from the Google Play Store. The portal promises to have thousands of things available for purchase. Zepto also claims to deliver from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Palicha stated that their efforts had finally paid off after receiving $60 million in financing. “Today, we’re consistently growing 200% every single month with an unstoppable team, robust product infrastructure, and deep access to institutional capital,” he added in a statement as per a report by Business Today.

While Zepto is making news, Palicha and Vohra’s first business, KiranaKart, did not receive the same attention. Zepto, on the other hand, is inspired by KiranaKart. KiranaKart, as the name indicates, was a supermarket delivery platform. It had partnered with Kirana retailers to supply groceries in 45 minutes or less. Global Founders Capital, Contrary Capital, 2 AM Ventures, and seed funding led to a $730,000 pre-seed investment. At the time, Vohra and Palicha hoped to make the very first 1.5 lakh deliveries for Rs 1.

Y Combinator-funded KiranaKart was formed in June of 2020 and closed its doors in March of 2021, after which they launched Zepto in April. The duo focused on grocery delivery for their applications since it was the most difficult for them to obtain food as two bachelors living alone. So, whereas KiranaKart tried to make grocery delivery easier for kiranas, Zepto minimizes delivery time.