Rotis inside a tiffin box of a dabbawala in the Vikroli area of Mumbai, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

Startup Street: Zomato Invests In A Home-Cooked Food Delivery Startup

This week on Startup Street we take a look at Zomato’s fresh investment in homemade food. A legal battle brews within an e-commerce firm, and it is not Amazon or Flipkart. IKEA acquires a startup to solve assembly problems of customers. And new updates about your trip to Mars from the house of Elon Musk.

Zomato Invests In Homemade Food Startup Tinmen

Source: Zomato Blog
Source: Zomato Blog

Food delivery startup Zomato, which claimed to have turned profitable last week, has invested an undisclosed amount of capital in Hyderabad-based Tinmen which provides home cooked meals.

The investment will "help surface larger variety of healthy meal options to our users", said Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal in a blog post. He added that the company is exploring alliances with big and small existing players and is also working on "a bunch of exciting tech-led intiatives".

While Zomato and Tinmen will first work together only in Hyderabad, there are plans to expand services to the rest of the country, the blog post said.

Tinmen is delivering over 30,000 orders a month and the number is expected to steadily multiply over the next 6-9 months, according to Goyal.

Less than a fortnight ago, Goyal wrote that Zomato is a profitable company in all 24 countries it operates in. "Our core advertising business in India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East - the three key regions for us, is generating enough cash to cover for the millions of dollars of investments we are making into the rest of the regions, and our new businesses," Goyal had said.

Founders Spar In Shopclues' Legal Tussle

Source: Sandeep Aggarwal Twitter handle.
Source: Sandeep Aggarwal Twitter handle.

While Amazon and Flipkart were engaged in the country's biggest e-commerce sales war, smaller peer Shopclues is entangled in a legal battle between owners.

On September 26, founder Sandeep Agarwal lodged a complaint in the Delhi magistrate court against his co-founder wife Radhika Aggarwal, and chief executive officer Sanjay Sethi alleging fraud, according to wire agency PTI.

Sandeep claimed that his wife and Sethi had conspired together and fabricated several documents to gain control over the company. "They took his signatures on wrong papers and committed forgery to usurp the company," Aggarwal's counsel said in court, PTI reported.

Aggarwal alleged that while he was facing insider trading charges in a separate case in the U.S. in 2013, his wife conspired with other unknown persons to oust him from his own firm.

Both Radhika and Sethi have defended themselves saying the FIR is an attempt to malign their reputation.

According to Economic Times, the Delhi High Court has stayed any action arising from the FIR till the next date of hearing, which is on October 16.

IKEA Assemblies Were So Difficult It Acquired A Startup To Do It For Them

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg  
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg  

Swedish home furnishing retail giant IKEA has acquired TaskRabbit, a startup which provides on-demand services ranging from furniture assembly to moving and packing by connecting users to skilled freelance workers.

The deal was signed on September 25, and is expected to close in October, IKEA said in a media statement. Following the closure, TaskRabbit will operate as an independent company within the IKEA Group, the statement added.

Ikea's buy came after it conducted a pilot programme in London last year, where it offered TaskRabbit's furniture assembly services to IKEA customers.

TaskRabbit's services will be available for IKEA customers in U.S. and U.K., while other countries may be added at a later date, the statement said.

The startup had recently expanded its presence to 40 cities in the U.S. and in London.

Elon Musk Redefines His Mars Colonisation Plans

Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg
Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Exactly a year ago, Elon Musk took centre stage at the International Austronautical Congress charting out a scheme that would put man on Mars, and further envisaged a long-term self sustaining human presence on the Red planet.

One of the biggest doubts of Musk's moonshot (rather Mars-shot) was the financial viability of space travel itself.

This year, in Australia, Musk had an answer. “I think we have figured out how to pay for it – this is very important,” Musk said in his keynote address.

The plan is to have a single, slimmer and shorter rocket to cut costs. The BFR rocket, Musk said, will end up rendering all current SpaceX vehicles redundant. The earlier plan involved sending an unmanned SpaceX's Red Dragon rocket to Mars in 2018, and then with the first humans in 2022. In contrast, NASA's first human mission to Mars is expected in the 2030s.

Musk forecast that the BFR rocket will cost less than any current launch system and will be fully reusable.

He added that BFR will be capable of traveling anywhere on Earth in under an hour. Read more about it.

Also, you can watch Musk's full keynote address at IAC 2017 here.