Now, when it comes to food, people rarely order it online. Indians are used to do convenience shopping for home daily, there are grocery stores everywhere. It is also connected with local culture: Europeans make their plans in advance, while Indians are very spontaneous. They don’t stock up and prefer to buy fresh produce every day on their way home.
Experiments are underway — so far rather at the local scale — with apartment buildings having vending machines with all the basic daily necessities — bread, eggs, milk. You can wake up in the morning and just go downstairs to grab all you need.
So, in this case, why would I wait one-two days to get my groceries delivered? Players like local grocery retailer Big Basket understand this issue and try to cut down delivery time and offer a same-day delivery within a selected 2-hour slot. Amazon also acquired a chain of supermarkets and is now delivering within 2 hours. This is a good option for people who are hard-pressed with work and have no time to go shopping.
How do you and your partners support your portfolio companies?
First of all, we support startups with their go-to-market strategy. We have facilitated close interaction between Amazon and our portfolio companies to help them resolve issues and learn how to use the marketing tools that Amazon provides. We also worked with Big Basket to create an accelerate program with them, as their shopper is our typical millennial.
We are speaking to prominent brick and mortar retailers to understand how we can create a win-win relationship for them with our companies.
Many of our entrepreneurs come with good product ideas. Our partner consultants and agencies work closely with Fireside Ventures to help our portfolio companies convert their great products into powerful brand strategies, involve influencers and celebrities for their marketing activities, create high-quality packaging and websites.
In the area of corporate governance, we have two of the big four audit firms audit all our companies, help them establish the processes, explore matters of taxation, develop best practice templates for key policies. While many of our companies use equity to fund working capital, we introduce alternative financing sources such as venture debt and bank finance.
We also invite mentors to share their stories and experience with the startup founders. For example, we invited the founder of FMCG company Marico Harsh Mariwala. He started his company from zero in the 1980s and made it worth several billion dollars.
Another speaker is Aditya Gosh, ex-President of Indigo Airlines, India’s largest passenger airline. It was amazing to learn how they built from scratch such a large profitable airline, known for its punctuality and good reputation.
What could young food brands do better to secure investment and join your portfolio?
We look for ideas in emerging spaces which could become very large. For example, we find Kapiva very interesting because there is a strong return-to-roots movement in India which has great potential.
Our potential portfolio company has a strong founding team, is committed to building a large business brand based on strong consumer insights and is open to the kind of partnership that Fireside Ventures uniquely provides.