Startup Name: Daily Ninja
Tagline: Delivering Freshness Daily
Founders: Sagar Yarnalkar and Anurag Gupta
Year of founding: July 2015
Funding Status: Seed and a Pre-Series A (Undisclosed amount)
Investors: Aprameya Radhakrishna (Founder of TaxiForSure), Venk Krishnan (NuVentures), Subramanya SV (ex-Partner of Bessemer VP), Kunal Shah (Founder of Freecharge), Anupam Mittal (Founder of People Group & Shaadi.com), Tracxn Labs and others.
The major problem of living in metros is organizing our daily needs like Milk, Curd, Water etc. We either buy and keep goods the day before or face the hardship of getting up early to buy them. And especially if you are bachelor living alone or with friends this is the most hating task to do. Unlike Tier II or III cities where Milk man deliver milk every day, Kirana shop at every corner, we don’t have such options in metros.
DailyNinja is a hyperlocal startup addressing this issue. They deliver your household essentials to your home every day early morning on a subscription basis.
DailyNinja is co-founded by BITS Pilani graduates Sagar Yarnalkar and Anurag Gupta. Sagar and Anurag previously co-founded Appspire Technologies, a Mumbai based mobile services company. Prior to that, Sagar was co-founder at Scoot which he exited profitably and, Anurag was working at Goldman Sachs.
DailyNinja delivers things like Milk, Bread, Eggs, Curd, Water, Dosa Batter, Idly Batter, Newspaper etc. The main differentiating factor for DailyNinja is that they deliver the goods before 8AM. And they have a very intuitive app from which has amazing features like,
- Live Bill Tracking – Track your outstanding and paid bill history
- Simplified Subscriptions – Managing your daily needs on subscriptions. Add or delete subscriptions with just a click
- Interactive Calendar – Set the requirement separately or in routine for the month
- Hassle Free Payment – Pay on a fortnightly basis
- Communicate Needs Easily – 11th hour addition/removal for that packet of milk.
The service is currently available for users in Bangalore.
Speaking about the inception of the idea, Sagar says,
“DailyNinja’s conception stems from our personal experience when trying to order groceries online. Waiting for groceries to be delivered, delivery timings overlapping with the office hours, co-ordination with the delivery personnel and the dependency on grocery shops for smaller purchases owing to minimum order criteria in all online options made us to realize there was a problem that needed to be solved. DailyNinja was thus conceptualized to give its customers the easiest, hassle free ordering experience ideally suited to high frequency ordering of household needs with a prepaid subscription based model.”
DailyNinja was launched in July 2015. They started the operation from the apartment complex which they lived and they first approached 2-3 neighboring ones and quickly scaled to 400 orders a day within a couple of months. Currently they cater around 6500 households per day across different apartment complexes in Bangalore. Sagar says,
“I still remember our first customer, he regularly sends us feedback and buys everything he needs from us.”
That’s the kind off lesson every entrepreneur should learn about customer service.
Speaking about the competition they face, Sagar says,
The idea is new to market and we want as many good hands as possible to build this. There are few players with similar model that have come up in the last 2-3 months, mostly when the buzz happened when we raised Pre-Series A fund. We have looked at all of them for possible synergies as well but none are worth talking about now. We are clearly the market leaders with around 6500 households reach per day.”
The Entrepreneurial Journey
What is the biggest learning so far as entrepreneur?
Sagar: Entrepreneurship teaches you a lot and is a very humbling experience, you realize the difficulty and challenges it takes to start something from scratch and give it a shape. More often than not you would end up with something very different from what you started. The first few 5-6 months are crucial, here you try to bring your idea from paper into the real world and you would realize all the constraints and bottlenecks. Always have a Plan-B and be flexible to new ideas. For our business, delivery is the key. Nothing is worse than angry unsatisfied customers.
What’s the toughest challenge faced in the journey of DailyNinja?
Sagar: Home delivery of household essentials is a complex business, with low margins and high delivery costs involved. Much of the customers’ requirements are recurring and subscription based. It is a high volume game which requires an asset light approach and optimization through technology wherever possible. Many companies in similar sectors are struggling due to excessive delivery and maintenance costs. Our challenge was establishing a different model which brings the biggest offline subscription based business in the country of Milk online and using the existing logistics network of vendors to enable delivery of other household products.
How did you overcome it?
Sagar: The network we are building is primarily based of referrals and word of mouth. We had to ensure that we add value to everyone involved and above all make our customers’ life easy.
Who is your mentor/role model? What’s the best lesson you learnt from your them?
Sagar: All our major investors have been extremely successful entrepreneurs and are well known for their business acumen. Along with being investors they are also our mentors and have helped us out since we started the company. The biggest lesson we have learnt from them is,
“Always have a clear vision of what you are trying to do and make sure all your decisions are towards getting there.”
What’s your tip for newbie entrepreneur?
Sagar: When you have an idea, make sure it makes sense on paper (do the math thoroughly). Make sure your addressable market is big enough and you can earn money, lots of it.
What’s your tip for entrepreneurs looking to raise funds?
Sagar: Always make sure you raise money from the right guys. When you pitch your idea always be sure to give very clear examples that highlight the problem you are trying to solve, it works best when the investor identifies with the problem and feels what you are doing is the correct solution. You have to make sure you transmit your idea clearly and make the investor believe in your vision.
DailyNinja’s Funding Status
DailyNinja raised Seed and a Pre-Series A round so far. The first round was led by Aprameya Radhakrishna (Founder of Taxi For Sure) with participation from Venk Krishnan (NuVentures), Subramanya SV (ex-Partner of Bessemer VP) and others. Their existing investors participated in the latest round of Pre-Series A as well, with Venk Krishnan leading the round and both Aprameya and Subramanya again took part. Along with them they got Kunal Shah (Founder of Freecharge), Anupam Mittal (Founder of People Group & Shaadi.com), Tracxn Labs and others.
DailyNinja is looking to deliver to 20,000 households every day by the end of this financial year. They are also looking forward for expanding to other cities as well.
The article was first published in The Cofounder. The Cofounder is India’s first print magazine which writes about early stage startups and entrepreneurship.