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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Know how this Zomato-backed startup helps restaurants run operations online

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UrbanPiper, a Bengaluru-based B2B restaurant management business, offers a platform that allows restaurant operators to handle both physical and online orders in one spot. It just attracted foodtech behemoth Zomato as a backer.

Foodtech competitors Bengaluru-based Swiggy and Deepinder Goyal-founded Zomato, despite having differing investment strategies, have one name in their investment portfolios: UrbanPiper. The Bengaluru firm offers a business-to-business (B2B) restaurant management platform allowing restaurants to handle their physical and online orders in one location.

The two food delivery firms, as well as Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global, put $24 million into UrbanPiper’s Series B fundraising round in April 2022. Existing investors Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital India helped UrbanPiper secure $7.5 million in a Series A round in 2019.

UrbanPiper was formed in 2015, at a time when online food delivery firms like Swiggy, Zomato, and Foodpanda India were just starting to gain traction with investors. Since then, it has been a part of the Indian food delivery industry’s evolution.

UrbanPiper was founded by Saurabh Gupta, Anirban Majumdar, and Manav Gupta as a “Shopify for eateries.” The ecommerce startup situated in Canada assists retailers in creating an omnichannel experience.

Most eateries were new to the internet realm in 2015, and few individuals ordered food online. Instead, they used Zomato, which is based in Gurugram, to find new eateries and verify their reviews.

A few mid-sized restaurant chains, such as Chai Point, Chili’s, and others, were, nevertheless, willing to use data solutions. This was the point at which UrbanPiper made the decision to enter the market.

Saurabh explains, “We were aiming to establish a technological framework to allow a restaurant get online on its own.”

Axilor Ventures helped UrbanPiper secure Rs 1.34 crore in a seed round in February 2016. It created a team of 25 workers after raising Rs 3 crore in a pre-Series A round in January 2018, with Kumar Vembu, Founder and CEO of GoFrugal, as an investor.

The company now employs around 150 people. It intends to expand to 250 people next year.

Swiggy, Zomato, FoodPanda, and Uber Eats all joined the foodtech industry between 2017 and 2019, actively attempting to convert eateries to deliver food online.

It didn’t sit well with UrbanPiper, who was asking eateries to invest in its system and a delivery fleet to transport meals on their own when they could use Swiggy and Zomato instead.

“Almost no one [restaurants] was interested in doing their own delivery,” Saurabh adds.

The co-founders saw a deeper problem in the sector when re-evaluating the startup’s approach.

Apart from handling offline and online consumers, restaurant owners also had to deal with workers, shifts, energy and other maintenance expenses, consumables, and inventory, to name a few things.

It wasn’t until restaurants began accepting online orders that they realized they could run other operations digitally, something they had previously done with 30-odd distinct pieces of software. It became clear that they needed to create a new business that required optimisation and investment to achieve scale margins.

“If you’re the same restaurant man, with the same thinking before internet delivery arose, you wouldn’t make sense,” Saurabh adds, “because you’ll be paying roughly 20-25 percent of your books to these [delivery] partners.”

To assist these restaurants in operating and scaling their businesses, UrbanPiper attempted to integrate these technologies with its full-stack restaurant management platform.

In addition to resolving issues with internet integration, the startup enabled restaurant owners to manage their activities from a single platform. It also began combining data from many sources in order to more effectively optimize orders. Customers pay a set membership price to use the startup’s cloud-based technology. Prime POS, a restaurant POS system; Meraki, an online ordering system; and Hub, a solution that connects Zomato and Swiggy with the restaurant’s existing POS system, are among the company’s offerings.

A one-year plan with add-ons costs around Rs 10,000 per year, while a two-year plan plus add-ons costs around Rs 7,500 per year.

Meraki’s website costs Rs 4,500 per month, while the website and applications cost Rs 9,000 per month. The cost of a hub is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of outlets and units. The worldwide restaurant management software market is estimated to reach $14.70 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 15.8% from 2022 to 2030, according to Grand View Research, Inc.

In the Middle East, UrbanPiper claims to have over 30,000 restaurant outlets in eight countries, including India, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Over the last two years, the startup claims to have grown by a factor of ten.

After receiving its Series B financing, UrbanPiper intends to use the funds to expand its product and technical teams, develop its platform capabilities, and expand its products to include more restaurant services. With customers including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway, Cure Foods, Taco Bell, and Rebel Foods, UrbanPiper claims to process almost 15 million orders each month, including 20% of all online orders from Swiggy and Zomato, for a total order value of $750 million.

In the future, UrbanPiper hopes to become a single-window platform for restaurants, allowing them to manage orders, utility bills, insurance, inventory, and other aspects of their operations.

PetPooja, LimeTray, and FoodEngine are among its current competitors.

The company intends to grow its footprint in the Middle East and Europe in order to have access to more than 200,000 restaurant locations.

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