I have great news from the world of online takeaway ordering: Just-Eat has partnered up with the best team in India, and HungryZone is now part of the family.
We have for a long time been looking with great enthusiasm at the opportunity to do something ambitious in India. It’s a fascinating and massive country that is finally on it’s way up to take it’s position among the top countries of the world. It’s the worlds biggest democracy with a vibrant economy and all sorts of promises for the future, and now we at Just-Eat wants to participate in that progress.
Originally we were planning our own launch, but then in the summer of 2010 we started talking seriously with Ritesh and Sandipan, who are the two entrepreneurs behind HungryZone who set up shop some years ago, and the last two years they have had full focus and angel investor backing to develop their offering (big thanks to Kimmi, Joe and the other guys at the Indian Angel Network, who has supported the team up until now, and who will continue the journey for a while yet). Since India obviously is different in a number of ways compared to the countries where we are operating today, then local knowledge is even more key than normal to establish success and clear leadership. And this is exactly what Ritesh, Sandipan and the rest of the team can offer us in abundance. We are very-very pleased to enter this partnership in India.
What now for HungryZone? Well, we are already in full speed executing on the plan we made together. Over the next several years, Just-Eat will invest several $ Mio. to get good restaurant coverage throughout this massive country, and evangelise the message of “online ordering the smart way” to millions of hungry surfers. Just in Mumbai, there are 20-30 Mio. people, which for a guy from a small country is fairly intimidating. Of course not all of those inhabitants ready for online takeaway ordering, so we have to be a bit smart in our approach to the roll-out. But we are very ambitious and bullish about what needs to be done. It will take several years before India will be a big business for us, but Just-Eat is in this game for the long haul, and India is one of our important, long term growth opportunities.
There are of course other big countries in Asia, but India is our top priority due to it’s size and how it welcomes foreign companies, and we will move on from there. Lots to do ahead of us, and this will be a proper entrepreneurial challenge. Think about the tens of thousands of delivery restaurants we ultimately will have to work with in order to offer our service to the millions of hungry surfers in Indian cities and towns. We will need to re-invent the classic online model a few times before we get there, but that is the fun part of scaling a business.