Mumbi Teens Who Quit Stanford To Develop Grocery Delivery App Raise $60 Million

Two 19-year-olds, Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, are set to capture the market with their new venture, a grocery delivery app Zepto. The duo Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra dropped out of Stanford University to build Zepto in India.  

Zepto, one of the fastest-growing startups in India today, was launched in April 2021. They raised an incredibly large round from marquee investors in Silicon Valley and India five months after launching.  

Image Credits: Zepto

Palicha and Vohra created a strong team, with Senior Executives from Uber, Flipkart, Dream11, Pepperfry, and Pharmeasy.   

“The magic of Zepto is our ability to consistently deliver 2,500+ products in 10 minutes flat. It’s the core of what we do, and the reason why we’ve been able to grow so fast with phenomenal customer love. Our mission is simple: to make 10-minute delivery the new normal,” read the Zepto LinkedIn page.   

Zepto is now worth between $200 million and $300 million after receiving $60 million in an initial funding round, according to Palicha, co-founder and chief executive officer. Backers include Y Combinator, Glade Brook Capital, and angel investors Lachy Groom and Neeraj Arora.   

According to the founders, groceries are quickly delivered from “dark stores” — or micro-warehouses — housed in different neighborhoods. The business also aims to tap into the country’s 800 million smartphone users as they adapt to video streaming, food ordering and online shopping.  

“We’re launching a new dark store every few days and we’ll have a hundred in half-dozen cities by early 2022, each delivering a couple of thousand daily orders,” said Palicha.  

Zepto’s rivals are market giants such as SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Grofers, Google-backed Dunzo and Swiggy. But Palicha is confident their company has momentum on its side.  

“Well-funded startups like Swiggy and Grofers took seven years to build what we’ll create in the next 18 months,” he said.  

Palicha and Vohra are friends since they were eight years old and they were living in Dubai last year before getting admitted to Stanford University’s vaunted computer science engineering program. After attending online orientation, they decided to head to Mumbai instead to be entrepreneurs.  

Their work started from an 80 square foot (7.4 square meters) room. 

They picked out more than 2,000 different items for delivery, such as mukwaas and paan, the traditional mouth freshener and after-meal digestive; cut flowers for daily worship rituals; as well as snacks and fresh food. Stores were laid out to ensure picking, packing, and handover occurred within 90 seconds. The top 100 most-purchased items were placed near the entrance, Palicha said.  

Earlier in June 2020, Palicha and Vohra founded Kiranakart, a grocery delivery app promising Groceries delivered in minutes, not days. But, since they could not find a strong market, they started Zepto.   

“We couldn’t find strong product-market fit with KiranaKart, so Kaivalya and I shut down operations and started Zepto,” said Palicha.   

Palicha, when he was just 17-years-old found his first start up- GoPool. GoPool is a mobile application that helps Dubai parents find and schedule carpools to school.   

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