Zomato’s adventure started in July 2008, two young consultants, Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, were in the cafeteria of Bain & Company in New Delhi, the consulting firm where they worked. They realized that customers spend a large amount of time looking at the menus in order to order food, so they decided to scan the menus and upload them on an intranet website for Bain employees.
Quickly the website became really popular among all employees and they decided to launch it publicly in New Delhi’s region, Kolkata and then Mumbai, the service was initially called Foodiebay.
Foodiebay grew quickly, changed its name into Zomato and became leader in India for food review positioning itself inside the same market as Yelp and Tripdavisor.
The indian startup however since yet has never been afraid of fighting against such industry giants and today is present in 23 countries, including United Kingdom and US.
It features an active community of reviewers, but also offers services for restaurants such as cashless payments, table reservation, point-of-sale systems and of course the initial scanned menus.
Challenges and obstacles in the past
Zomato is one of the best examples showing young entrepreneurs fighting for their success in developing countries and with a global mentality.
Few years ago this wouldn’t have been possible, many were the obstacles: logistics and transportation of goods, PCs penetration and smartphone usage, online payment, capital, and most of all, internet access.
Beside technical obstacles there was also a problem of mentality, failure has always been strongly stigmatized and previous generations in developing countries like India and China have grown with the main concern of getting a stable job, entrepreneurship was not even considered as a possibility.
A change in mentality
Today entrepreneurship in developing countries is driven by a change of mentality represented by a new category of young entrepreneurs, primarily engineers, in their mid or late 20s with work experience of just 2-3 years when they started and with many starting out of college over the last 18-24 months. They are inspired by great success stories such as Zomato, and we see the results: just as an example the Young Entrepreneur of The Year in 2015 features more winners from Sri Lanka, China and India, while only one come from western countries.
A digital future
Digital startups based on web and mobile apps can generate wealth and simplify people’s lives, we have many examples, like BlaBlaCar, Uber, AirBnB, Flipboard, Telegram, Zalando, HelloFood etc. all they need are a web platform and an app to work.
Developing countries today have all the ingredients to start their own digital future: capital, mentors, internet and digital young entrepreneurs ready to solve the problems they face with a simple app that can revolutionize the life of millions of people.
About the author
I think as an Engineer, I operate as an Entrepreneur. In January 2015 I’ve become President at J.E.To.P. – Junior Enterprise Torino Politecnico. I’ve managed a Junior Enterprise, an association composed by students, but structured exactly like an enterprise, with 61 students working on different projects, Event creation & organization, Mobile & Website development, Visual Design, Social Media Planning & Strategy. Together we created WTT: Wearable Tech Torino, the first exhibition in Italy on the wearable technologies. Today I’m Senior Advisor for J.E.To.P. and Master student in Computer Science at Politecnico di Torino.