“Something” could be sending visa documents across the city; ordering food from restaurants not served by the likes of Swiggy or Zomato; finding a Halloween costume for your kids at the last hour; picking up a few bottles of your favourite craft beer; buying medicines; getting posters framed; sending a broken iPhone to the nearest Apple store for repair; getting coffee; buying tickets to the latest movie directly from the theatre once online bookings are full.
If there’s something in your head right now that you think is too ridiculous to add to the above list, chances are someone’s already tried it on Dunzo.
And oh, did I mention these deliveries usually happen in under an hour?
I reach the address marked on Google Maps, and “3M” turns out to be a car servicing shop. There’s no apparent signboard, lift or staircase to reach Dunzo. So, I walk around the building and spot about 150-200 motorcycles crammed into a corner and a disenchanted guard.
“Dunzo?” I ask.
“The second floor,” he replies and points to a staircase down the rear side of the building. Dunzo turns out to be on the third floor, and I duly sign the visitor register, enter a random mobile number and wait for Kabeer Biswas, the co-founder, and CEO of Dunzo.
The startup-y office with exposed ducting has its roof painted with local maps of Indiranagar, Bengaluru, complete with huge pins—Leon Grill, Drops Chandrasekhar Wines, City Union Bank, Whodat, Toit Brewpub…
Biswas comes along in 10 minutes, having just got off a call. He’s always just getting off calls.
In search of a cabin
As we walk around trying to find a cabin to sit and talk, he offers me coffee. “We now have a machine! Though I wish we’d get the Chai Point machine.”
I pump out a cappuccino from the machine, then look for sugar. Biswas points it out to me, but not before faux-mocking me, “Oh, you take sugar? I’ve given it up. I’ve realized that as one gets older, one needs to give things up.”
Biswas is full of pithy aphorisms.
While 2018 was definitely the year of Swiggy, it was also the year Dunzo grew up. Or should I say, blew up?
“So, this is where we were. We were doing around 65,000 monthly transactions in December (2017). Which we had grown 3X that year. And we decided to set ourselves the goal of doing 100,000 daily by the end of 2018,” he says.
In case you’re calculating, that’s a projected growth of 46X in 12 months.
From just Bengaluru, Dunzo has since expanded to Pune, Gurugram, and more recently, Hyderabad, Delhi and Chennai. Next in line are Mumbai, Noida, and Kolkata.
Interestingly, Dunzo launched a bike taxi service in Gurugram. So apart from ferrying all sorts of products around the city in their backpacks, its riders also move people around on their pillions.
“We just launched our bike taxi about 10 weeks back; it’s already about 30% of the market in Gurugram and growing,” says Biswas.
What does a customer need?
The same person would pick up and drop off anything customers wanted. Including the customers themselves. If that sounds familiar, it is meant to be.
“We want to become a horizontal on the partner site. Which means, basically, anything the partner wants to do, we will end up doing. Which means we become a horizontal on-demand logistics play. That’s what it is if you actually look around the world. And though we didn’t start this business looking around for ideas, we figured that, actually, Go-Jek is the right answer,” says Biswas.
By the time I meet Biswas the second time, it’s early November. This time, I’m meeting him at a co-working space.
We’re in a six-seater cabin with a poster that says, “An idea is a salvation by imagination.”