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Gone in 90 minutes

Grofers, a Gurgaon-based company, which delivers daily supplies to people in one-and-a-half hours, plans to venture into Mumbai soon. Anu Prabhakar talks to founder Saurabh Kumar about his future plans

Imagine opening the door to a delivery man, dressed in neatly pressed clothes with an identity card, who goes on to hand over a grocery item that you ordered 90 minutes ago from the local store.

A Grofers employee on his way to deliver goods in Gurgaon
A Grofers employee on his way to deliver goods in Gurgaon

Also imagine, tracking the movement of this man and, by extension, your delivery item via a mobile app, till he reaches your doorstep. As improbable as it may sound, this is no hypothetical situation.

Grofers, a start-up company started by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduate Saurabh Kumar roughly four months ago in Gurgaon, aims to professionalise and bring in accountability into the system of delivering home items by using Android mobile phones, a mobile app and the Global Positioning System (GPS).

The perfect delivery
The company is an extension of his interest in the fields of logistics and transport, says Kumar. “I did my masters in Transportation Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin,” says Kumar.

When he returned to India in the year 2011 from the US, after having worked in a logistics company, he decided to hone his entrepreneurial spirit. “I always wanted to start a company or business in this field,” he adds.

While working on his first start-up, the local delivery service Onenumber, Kumar had a series of discussions with local merchants in Gurgaon, who complained that delivering goods to customers is a challenge and ate into their profits.

“It was a huge issue for them. They had to hire delivery boys for the whole month despite not having home deliveries every day,” he elaborates.

It’s all about logistics
Grofers’ work begins from the time a customer places an order at the local merchant’s shop. “We have tie-ups with pharmaceuticals, grocery stores, stationary shops and bakeries. They inform us about the order and we send one of our guys to do the delivery,” explains Kumar.

“All delivery boys are given an Android phone with an active GPS system and a Grofers mobile app created by me which is accessible only to those local merchants who have subscribed to our services,” says Kumar.

Customers are then sent links that point to the map with their delivery boy’s location in real time once the item is picked from the shop. “The link is active till the delivery,” he adds.

With 20 delivery boys and three people manning the Grofers’ call centre, the company promises to deliver goods within 90 minutes, within a radius of four-five kilometres. “Any distance above that will need three hours,” adds Kumar. The 30-year-old explains that Grofers currently handles 50 clients and 500 to 600 deliveries a day.

After expanding to the NCR region, the company has major plans to enter other metro cities this year, including Mumbai. Doesn’t the city’s legendary traffic and logistical issues scare him? “We will study each city. But no, we are pretty confident about this,” smiles Kumar.

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