The best gifts — to loved ones or to yourself — are those that recreate special memories or evoke feelings of a special time and place. It is certainly not an easy task yet thanks to its curated offers, based in Bengaluru In a minute promises to do just that.
Founded in 2020 by Vineesh Chadha and Sanjay Agarwalthe food delivery startup offers an assortment of local and international products with authentic taste and iconic feel.
“Our products are carefully selected from the best brands. We ensure that these are the original and preferred labels from all over India and the world. We also offer the best kept local secrets of Bengaluru where we are based. If it’s not authentic or pure, you won’t find it on INaMinute,” the founders share in a conversation with YS Weekender.
After studying at Nagpur University, Vineesh went to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Kolkata. He made a name for himself as a business and marketing professional.
Sanjay is an alumnus of CSIS Penn University, Domus Academy Milan and CEPT University in Ahmedabad. By profession, he describes himself as a retail design architect.
Together they founded INaMinute to tap into Indians’ love for food.
“In a vast country like India, where different types of food are available every few miles, local food is a key part of people’s cultural identity. Most of us crave the foods we grew up on and feel nostalgia for them. INaMinute brings you your favorite foods wherever you are – in India or anywhere in the world,” says Vineesh.
To facilitate this, they have partnered with traditional, authentic and iconic food brands and producers across the country to deliver their best-known specialties to customers sitting at home.
Their eight-person team across sourcing, customer service and operations manages a tight ship to ensure best-in-class products and seamless delivery. In addition to the founders, the team is made up of a battery of passionate female entrepreneurs. Plus, they strive to support small businesses driven by passion.
“Wherever possible, we prefer to source directly from growers or growers, to allow them to maximize the value of their produce and effort,” Sanjay says with a smile.
Although they started in Bengaluru, they started shipping customers across India and overseas in October 2021. They rely on DHL and Fedex to ship their international orders.
According to the founders, the brand name was coined based on feedback from their first set of customers, who told them their offerings were so compelling they could make their selections in a minute.
“Plus, we’re happy to say that everything we provide to our customers disappears within a minute when our packages are delivered!” laughs Vineesh.
The startup offers a wide range of delicacies and food products to meet the needs of regular days, special celebrations or themed events such as Indian festivals. This includes snacks, savory dishes, sweets, exotic staples, ready-to-cook regional products, historic baked goods, organic farm produce and many more.
“We have offers to cater for all major Indian festivals and seasons. Our recent blockbusters for the winter season were Gajjaks and Rewaris from famous brands from Lucknow and Jaipur. We also had a great response to our Makar Sankrati specialties including Ellu Bella and Sakaracchu. For the Lohri celebrations, we airlifted Moongfali ‘Time pass’, which are unshelled groundnuts, from North India for our customers in Bengaluru,” says Sanjay.
On their website, one can choose from winter specials, health and immunity boosting dishes, international delicacies as well as seasonal fruits, which are the only items limited to local delivery. They also have a selection of home and personal items like aromatic incense sticks, organic tissues and towels as well as herbal cleansing agents.
The team personally explores India’s famous food towns and villages and identifies traditional, authentic and iconic brands and producers for a variety of products. Often, their customers provide suggestions on what kind of foods they should stock all over India, which they buy through their network.
When asked what they are working on next, Vineesh shares,
“We are working to curate an enticing assortment for Holi from Lucknow, Benaras, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Nagpur.
Our biggest draw is certainly the Thandai de Benaras. The family of the manufacturer Thandai has been using this exclusive recipe for five generations. They use the 26 ingredients prescribed by ancient Ayurvedic texts, including the “char magaz” (four seeds) of watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber and cantaloupe. These seeds are known to improve the functioning of our brain and heart, while reducing memory loss and rejuvenating the skin. The Thandai is made by hand using a ‘silbatta’.
The company in numbers
According to data published in Technavio, India food delivery market size is projected to grow by $716.53 million from 2021 to 2026, registering a CAGR of 28.13%. By providing a niche delivery service, INaMinute is poised for some growth.
The founders have invested around Rs 25 lakh in this business started and have since grown by leaps and bounds.
Sanjay explains, “In October 2020, we started with a limited supply in Bangalore delivering items in our own cars. We have grown organically since then and are on track to deliver over 1,000 orders in March 2022.”
Although the team has worked with a limited set of regional influencers, they rely primarily on word of mouth. They also use community and digital marketing for better results.
Currently operating exclusively as an e-commerce store, the founders are open to exploring physical stores in airports and other tourist destinations in the future.
“Our biggest challenge has been to access reliable and fast transport that causes minimal damage to our products during transport. To do this, we are constantly exploring new transport methods and links with logistics providers to improve delivery times and reliability,” says Vineesh.
However, he also claims that these teething problems pale in comparison to the smiles on their customers’ faces when they bite into food they haven’t tasted in 20-30 years. It is these satisfied customers who ensure continued business by referring INaMinute to their neighbours, friends and relatives.
Speaking of competition, the founders point out that there are a few players in the market, but each has their own view of the business. Some of the players operating in a similar space include The State Plate and Delight Foods. However, the founders claim that no one does exactly what INaMinute does – as they focus on providing traditional, authentic and iconic food products.
Sanjay ends by saying, “We believe that when people move away from their place of origin and have higher disposable incomes, they indulge more in memories and nostalgia. It is a large and rapidly growing market. INaMinute delivers that feeling of nostalgia, finger-licking taste, and awesome quality. Our ease of ordering, high quality packaging and excellent service are the reasons our products are so popular.