During the deepest moments of one’s own solitude, arrive forth the thoughts. There are plenty of thoughts, the good kind, the bad kind, the mundane kind and every other kind imaginable. During these moments, one cannot help but think about the future, of oneself or someone else or the world in general. The nature of these thoughts ought to reflect one’s personal outlook towards life. If not to one’e liking, these thoughts can be changed, with deliberate conscious effort. If one chooses to do so, that is. There is always a choice. Living itself, is after all a choice.
The newest frontiers of the world are open to anyone who wants to explore them. Immerse yourself neck deep into issues that bother you enough and watch yourself swimming in all sorts of thoughts that range from your professional life to wanting to run away from civilization, only to return back in earnest. If one were to make a list of all the business segments out there, from mining and real estate to food and beverages, and then make another list with a few points about the future of all these segments, one does come away with a set of points that seem addressable, at least for now. More than anything, it’s the start of something.
Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to the founder of Rotee, a company that delivers food cooked by the home chefs living closest to you.
Give a brief info about your startup
Rotee is a home cooked food ordering and delivery platform. We partner with some of the best home chefs in a city and deliver affordable, healthy and hygienic meals to people. From weekly, monthly, 3-day subscription plans to dishes available on on-demand and pre-order basis, Rotee has a wide range of options for the customers.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
About a year back, Somangshu and I were working on different projects but we used to regularly talk about various problems from transportation, sustainable agriculture to the need for affordable and healthy food which were still unsolved. We had many friends who used to cook dishes from cakes to biryanis at home and we absolutely enjoyed eating their dishes. I think that’s where the idea came from. We wanted to help home chefs earn a living by selling their dishes right from their kitchens while we would take care of getting customers, packaging and delivery. And as bachelors ourselves who were in dire need of regular healthy meals, nothing could be more exciting, and hence, Rotee was born.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Somangshu has been a techie since the very get go having worked at multiple startups and SMEs. Prior to Rotee he was working as a Solutions Architect at a tech startup in the hiring sector. I completed my graduation in Marine Engineering from BITS, Pilani. Since then I have worked with multiple startups helping them in marketing, growth and operations and also worked as a consultant with EY.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Rotee is currently based out of Bengaluru. We are operational in more than 25 areas there which are increasing every week. Like many other startups believe, Bengaluru offers not just amazing talent but also an audience which is willing to try out new things and is more forgiving to mistakes. We also felt that due to the high IT sector crowd, Rotee would find the correct audience for early traction and we were not wrong 🙂
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Well, apart from my dog’s incessant barking, I doubt there is anything that keeps me up in the night. 😛
All jokes aside, as a startup founder, you hardly get a good night’s sleep. Both Somangshu and I are obsessed with making sure that the customer should always be satisfied with the food. We don’t go to sleep until all the orders are delivered and sometimes it gets pretty late. I think we are continuously thinking about how to make the entire experience better and that keeps us up at night. Sometimes our brainstorming sessions go until the sunrise and I think that makes all the difference. We really care about our customer and I think every startup founder should.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
There is no such thing, it’s a myth. You have to make some unfortunate sacrifices to make your startup work. Be it time with your family or skipping your date, you just have to do it. There are no weekends and there are no holidays. It’s just pure hard work to make sure that your Startup doesn’t die. And don’t get me wrong, most people who are actually looking at the bigger picture and love what they do, have no problems in making these short term sacrifices. But having said that, it’s always good to take a step back and relax whenever you feel burnt-out otherwise you’ll just end up reducing your efficiency.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We are completely bootstrapped as of now and are planning to raise our seed round.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Well we’ve spent a lot of time on what content goes up on our website, the app and all our social media channels so people pretty much are clear about who we are and what we do. But there are a fraction of our early users who initially end up thinking that we are just another food delivery startup. It is only after they make their first order and spend a little more time with the app do they realize that Rotee is anything but that. I’ve seen people give reviews like ‘ Oh this reminds me of my mom’s cooking and tastes just like my home food. Thank you for the nostalgia’. So it’s humbling and inspiring for not just us but the home chefs as well.
What gets you excited about this company?
Both Somangshu and I are extremely passionate about using technology to better the lives of the people. Rotee is just the beginning. The reason why we started Rotee was to help these home chefs earn an extra income while operating from home. This extra income has been additional books for a one home chef’s young child while for the other it has helped a home chef to gain more self respect and confidence within her family. Some of the home chefs that we interacted with told us stories of how Rotee has helped them to get excited about work again without which their life was just mundane. And not just for our home chefs, our customers too are thrilled to finally get home cooked food for daily consumption. It’s no wonder that our average dish rating is 4.1 out of 5 for our orders.This is why we started Rotee. Not because we wanted to earn a buck but because we really wanted to help people better their lives.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day usually starts at 9AM. I like to meditate for about 30 minutes or just listen to a few songs before I open my laptop. At 9:30AM I usually have my laptop open and then I just dive right into work from marketing, growth to operations and data analytics. I have my breakfast pretty late at Noon and that’s when I take a short break to scroll through a few memes. Then it’s back to work until my lunch break at 4ish. I absolutely enjoy walking so I go for a quick walk at 6PM during which time Somangshu and I discuss various things about Rotee, from growth to Investor meetings. Then it’s back to work till 12 when I have my dinner followed by a short walk or a few episodes of Friends depending on my mood. After that, 1-4 is the time during which I either design new features for Rotee or just have a very thorough brainstorming session with Somangshu about not just Rotee but what we want to build next. Lights off usually at 4:30AM.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I am extremely proud and blessed to be working with some of the most intelligent and talented people I have ever met. Somangshu is a great leader and I learn so much from him everyday. We have a pretty strong team and there’s nothing under the sun that we can’t build or solve. Somangshu and I used to work in the same coworking space and that’s where I met him. We bonded on conversations over tech, spirituality, human behaviour and so much more. We were friends for a long time before we actually cofounded Rotee.