How Deepinder Built A Restaurant Discovery Site With Over 15 Million Monthly Users


Welcome to our founder lessons series. This week we have an exclusive interview with Deepinder Goyal; Founder and CEO of Zomato.

Deepinder is a Mathematics and Computing graduate from IIT Delhi. After graduation, he joined Bain and Company, a management consulting firm.  Zomato was conceived when he was working at Bain.

Zomato is an online restaurant guide providing information on home delivery, dine-out, cafés and nightlife in cities of India, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Zomato

Deepinder shares how the company started and lessons learned in the process and he encourages new entrepreneurs to focus, persevere and follow through their dreams.

—Brief Summary about Zomato

Zomato is a search destination for restaurants across eight markets in the world. We operate in 35 cities across 11 countries worldwide, with plans to expand even further in the near future.

Our main aim is to provide our users with an easier way to find places to eat, and we offer a number of filters to help users highly specialise and customise these searches, based on location, price, popularity and more.

This is available on our  Restaurants Search as well as our awesome mobile app. Users can write reviews and provide ratings for restaurants and we regularly host contests on social media platforms.

Currently, Zomato gets over 15 million visits across its web and mobile platforms every month. More than half of Zomato’s traffic is seen on its mobile apps. It is also seeing robust monetisation trend with 500 per cent growth in monthly billings as compared to a year ago.

The company has raised a total of around $55 million funding to date. Zomato recorded $2 million in revenue at the end of its first fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

—How Zomato was started

The idea came about during my time at Bain and Company. I observed that my colleagues wasted a lot of time each day by queuing up in the cafeteria to look at the menus which they weren’t allowed to take back to their desks.

To save everyone time and bother, I decided to scan the menus and put them up online. There were soon a substantial number of hits on the site. I was joined in the venture by Pankaj Chaddah and we eventually realised that this was a viable business idea, launching it in 2008.

–How does Zomato earn money?

Restaurant advertising accounts for 100% of our regular revenue. We have other one time revenue streams: NYE ticketing and print guide sales. We have shut our events section as well as consulting services.

—What are the biggest challenges and lessons after launch and how did you solve them

The biggest challenge has been making our database of restaurants as exhaustible as possible. We currently cover 181,300 restaurants worldwide, and we want to add to this number.

The solution to this challenge lies in hiring the right people. Ethos, respect, attitude and skill, in that order, are the qualities we look for in the people we bring in, and all this goes toward putting a great team together.

All of our data is collected by personally visiting the restaurants, so having the right people with the right attitude makes a huge difference. The feedback system we have in place has also been an excellent tool for expanding our database.

We encourage our users to let us know if there’s a particular restaurant we may have missed out on, as well as any other suggestions they may have on how we can improve our product.

—What advice do you have for entrepreneurs chasing the startup dream

Focus, perseverance and follow through – these are the three main pointers I would give to anyone looking to get started. Never begin work on a product with the sole purpose of selling it.

Focus on creating something that is solid and that will help as many people as possible, and success will follow of its own accord. Go one at a time if you must, but most importantly, get things done.