BigBasket Achieves its Big Dreams
BigBasket was started by five partners, current CEO Hari Menon along with Abhinay Choudhari, Vipul Parekh, V S Sudhakar, and V S Ramesh, in Dec 2011 as an online produce delivery company. Their initial business model was simple - they picked up produce items from the wholesaler and delivered them to the customer.
Over the past decade, they have grown into a warehousing operation and one of the largest e-grocers in a crowded market like India, with high demand and strong supply. Currently, BigBasket has expanded to 25 cities and in May 2021, the company got acquired by Tata Digital, which is now the majority stakeholder of BigBasket.
The story starts with a small operation and a clear business mission. A well-known fact about the founders of BigBasket is that they created a small business in 1999 called Fabmart which was ahead of its time and subsequently needed to be wrapped up. The startup world is one where mistakes are nothing but stepping stones to future success. The business lessons of Fabmart, and their subsequent venture Fabmall (which was acquired) helped these entrepreneurs build the resilience required to be successful and led to a steady path to growth for BigBasket.
Many fast-growing businesses start with solving a customer pain point, which in the case of BigBasket was bringing fresh groceries from the seller to the buyer, without the customer ever leaving their home. But one of the aspects of BigBasket that stands out, especially in the small business world, is how they maturely handled the challenge of entrepreneurial partnerships - managing to thrive in a business with five founders, all of whom were able to put aside their individual differences to work collaboratively and focus on the growth of their company. Whether it’s a music band or a business startup, souring partnerships are a common reason for any fallout, and BigBasket offers a beacon of hope for start-up founders, showing them how to harness the power and wisdom of five minds to create business success.
BigBasket learned early to put their attention where it was most needed, like sourcing unique produce items, managing vendor relationships effectively, diversifying suppliers to maintain a steady warehouse stock, and setting strong customer service standards due to the perishable nature of their business. But above all, in India, a country of 1.3 bn people, where the impact of any venture can be felt manyfold, BigBasket took on the job of creating efficient logistics and delivery systems, which is the backbone of an online food grocer’s operation. The company has survived and thrived through the up-and-downs of a global pandemic, and with their recent acquisition by Tata Digital, they have joined the big leagues with players like Reliance, Amazon, and Walmart.
On the surface, BigBasket appears to be yet another tech startup that happened to be in the right business at the right time. And while that is definitely the case here as well, we see a more mature evolved strategy at play throughout their journey. With initiatives like their farm-to-plate sourcing model and Green BigBasket which showcases their low environmental impact, this is a business that focuses on building a culture of creating value for everyone who comes in contact with them.
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