Deepinder is a 2005 Mathematics and Computing graduate from IIT Delhi. His love for food dates back to his IIT days
when in order to avoid the hostel food, he and his friends used to eat out almost every day. After graduation, he joined one of the largest management consulting firms in the world, Bain and Company. Zomato was conceived when he was working at Bain. What inspired Zomato was a huge stack of menus in the pantry of Bain that people used to look up to order food from nearby restaurants. Deepinder, being an internet junkie, just asked himself -‘What if all this was available online?’
From this simple question to how Deepinder made a million dollar company, we have got it all in conversation with Zomato’s Chief. Here are the excerpts from the interview
G(Geeks): Everybody here knows Zomato, for those who don’t, Could you just brief us about Zomato.
D(Deepinder): Simply put, Zomato is the definitive search destination for restaurants across the cities of our presence. We operate in 35 cities across 11 countries worldwide, with plans to expand even further in the near future. Our main aim is to provide our users with an easier way to find places to eat, and we offer a number of filters to help users highly specialise and customise these searches, based on location, price, popularity and more. This is available on our Restaurants Search as well as our awesome mobile app. Users can write reviews and provide ratings for restaurants and we regularly host contests on social media platforms.
G: How did this million dollar idea come to your mind. When was the Eureka moment?
D: The idea came about during my time at Bain and Company. I observed that my colleagues wasted a lot of time each day by queuing up in the cafeteria to look at the menus which they weren’t allowed to take back to their desks. To save everyone time and bother, I decided to scan the menus and put them up online. There were soon a substantial number of hits on the site. I was joined in the venture by Pankaj Chaddah and we eventually realised that this was a viable business idea, launching it in 2008.
G: What have been the Biggest challenges and lessons after the launch?
D: The biggest challenge has been making our database of restaurants as exhaustible as possible. We currently cover 181,300 restaurants worldwide, and we want to add to this number.
G: So, how were you able to solved this?
D: The solution to this challenge lies in hiring the right people. Ethos, respect, attitude and skill, in that order, are the qualities we look for in the people we bring in, and all this goes toward putting a great team together. All of our data is collected by personally visiting the restaurants, so having the right people with the right attitude makes a huge difference. The feedback system we have in place has also been an excellent tool for expanding our database. We encourage our users to let us know if there’s a particular restaurant we may have missed out on, as well as any other suggestions they may have on how we can improve our product.
G: There are thousands of budding entrepreneurs out there. One piece of Advice for these entrepreneurs chasing the startup dream
D: Focus, perseverance and follow through – these are the three main pointers I would give to anyone looking to get started. Never begin work on a product with the sole purpose of selling it. Focus on creating something that is solid and that will help as many people as possible, and success will follow of its own accord. Go one step at a time if you must, but most importantly, get things done.
Zomato is an online restaurant guide providing information on home delivery, dine-out, cafés and nightlife in cities of India, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The site has an Alexa rank of 1,926 in the world and 205 in India as of October 2013.
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