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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Here’s why Zomato stopped operating its restaurant funding platform

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Zomato started a restaurant funding platform, last year, to ease equity funding for restaurants or cloud kitchens by introducing them to investors.   This article shows why Zomato has halted operations of Zomato Wings, the funding funding platform.

Zomato has ceased operations of its ‘Zomato Wings’ platform, which it established late last year to assist restaurants connect with investors in order to acquire finance.

The investment community has fled due to the funding winter.  Things have been put on hold at Zomato Wings since the first quarter of this financial year. but, there is a chance that it will reopen towards the end of the year.

Zomato Wings was created in November of last year as an intermediate platform for restaurant/brand/cloud kitchen equity financing. The platform brought these entrepreneurs and investors together on a single platform. However, since Zomato’s stock price fell during the first six months of 2022, the company opted to focus on its main business.

The worldwide economic downturn, along with geopolitical concerns, has impacted not just the global equity market, but also startup investment.

As investors became more cautious, the year 2022 has witnessed a steep drop in investment, firms laying off employees, and valuations in the Indian startup ecosystem plummet.

Zomato Wings was primarily launched as a platform for restaurant equity financing. Because Zomato was merely functioning as a mediator between investors and restaurants, there is no link between Wings and our P&L “According to a business spokeswoman. However, the firm did not respond to queries regarding how many restaurants or brands Zomato Wings provided money for in the first nine months, or whether the platform is still active.

They then attempted debt and want to handle it in-house. However, they were unable to scale it in-house.” For the range of needs across restaurant partners, the best solution necessitates a complicated operational structure that cannot be constructed in-house.

Deepinder Goyal’s startup began a pilot initiative to assist eateries with funding early last year by working with multiple revenue-based finance platforms (RBFs).

However, the experimental project was cancelled after only three months. “RBF was a very modest trial to evaluate the desire for different tools, but the market appeared limited, therefore we didn’t scale it up,” a Zomato spokeswoman stated. Zomato was unable to locate the appropriate eateries that would have been a suitable fit for RBFs for the pilot. According to one of the sources, there was no vetting of restaurants based on basic requirements, and there was no marketing for the initiative. RBFs, such as GetVantage, Klub, and Velocity, provide finance to startups and enterprises across industries to help them expand.

In June, Zomato announced the acquisition of Blinkit, a loss-making quick-commerce business, for $558 million in order to compete with Swiggy’s Instamart and Mumbai-based Zepto. It should be noted that the valuation was 44% lower than when Zomato invested in it last year ($1 billion).

Zomato has also reduced its entire investment projection for Blinkit to $320 million from $400 million before.

So far, it has spent $150 million in the quick-commerce firm. It stated last week that its consolidated deficit narrowed to INR 186 Cr in the June quarter of fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23) from INR 360 Cr in the same quarter previous year.

The startup’s operational revenue increased 67% year on year to INR 1,413.9 Cr. While Zomato’s meal delivery division achieved breakeven at adjusted EBITDA in the June quarter, it is now aiming for breakeven at adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter. While Zomato’s meal delivery division achieved breakeven at adjusted EBITDA in the June quarter, the company is now aiming for overall breakeven at adjusted EBITDA between the fourth quarter of FY23 and the second quarter of FY24.

The startup’s CFO Akshant Goyal said, “…internally, we are trying to get there by the fourth quarter of the current financial year.”

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