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The major challenge that comes across is the skill gap in the operating team: Dippankar S Halder, Jalongi.com

In an interview with BW Disrupt, Dippankar S Halder, Founder at Jalongi.com, a specialist online retailer of Fish & Seafood, talks about company’s business model, funding and more

1.Brief about your business model like how did the idea came to start and how does it work.

Back in 2005-2007 the Founder of Jalongi.com, Dippankar was the founding CEO of Spinach Supermarkets in Mumbai (DHFL Group). $35 Mn ARR of the chain had $2 Mn+ of Fish & Seafood. Subsequently, Dippankar was Business Head/CEO of EasyDay stores with Bharti Walmart Venture where $100 Mn ARR chain in north had $10 Mn ARR in Non-Veg category. Post 2015, it was seen that Indian consumers are getting comfortable buying food & grocery online. Fish & Seafood is a large consumption category, unorganised and has a big transformation & value unlocking opportunity. With category familiarity and experience at a scale, Dippankar realised that it was right the time for to start Jalongi.com, to take fish & seafood online.

Jalongi.com (founded in 2018) is a Gurgaon headquartered venture. The business was launched in Kolkata, just to be baptised on fire, in the most competitive market for the category. In Late 2018, Jalongi’s operations were launched in Gurgaon, and was followed by NCR in April 2019. Recently, the company has started long distance deliveries to Mumbai & Hyderabad.

2. What are the unique key points of your company?

Jalongi.com has the widest range of fresh water & sea water fish in the country (60-80 items at any point in time). The company have end to end ownership of the value chain, including buying and last mile delivery that sets them apart in this complex and sensitive perishable category: delivering quality, freshness and consistency.

3. How are you different from the existing competitors?

 a) Jalongi.com has the Widest range of items including exclusive items like Sunderban Bhetki, Mud Crabs, Prawns, Himalayan Rainbow Trouts. (60-80 items, all days)

b) Unparallel quality and freshness delivered by own direct sourcing model. (70%+ direct sourcing)

c) Every order is custom cut to the choices of the consumer. This is the first phase of pan ready items

d) The second phase of the pan ready items is All items are cleaned and washed with RO water so that it needs little or no handling at home, giving customers freedom from stinky hands. This is a big hit among home makers and their helps.

e) Jalongi.com also has a select range of Recipe Ready Packs items like Bhetki Paturi, Patrani Pomfret etc. which are all prepared and need simple finishing or cooking at home.

Fundamentally Jalongi.com has the best practice retail model at work that ensures continuity, consistency and a profitable progress/growth. Everything from sourcing to delivery at Jalongi is in-house. This is one of the core reasons behind the continuous operations during COVID times and has led to witness a growth of 3x in terms revenue during this period.

 4. What is the funding status and monetization model?

Our firm is a bootstrapped venture. The company is currently looking forward to raising Series A funding round to grow the business. The funding will be also be utilised to build on cold chain and invest in technology.

5. What challenges are you facing in running your business?

The major challenge that come across is the skill gap in operating team, especially in processing the procured items. To bridge the gap, Jalongi.com runs their continuous ‘Training Programmes’ at all processing centres. As a long term development programme Jalongi.com is setting up ‘Integrated Development Centre’ (IDCs) at village level to run Training schools. IDCs will also be collection centres where local fishermen and fish farmers will sell their catches. The first IDC is expected to come up in West Bengal by December 2020 followed up by 10-12 more centres in coastal states by 2022.

6. How has been the people`s response so far?

We have received an overwhelming response from the customers across the operating cities. The company has a customer repeat rate of 79% on monthly basis. Kolkata is usually one of the most competitive market for the sector. However, for Jalongi.com this city has been one of the winning fields. Because of Jalongi.com’s best-in-class quality and continuous operations, NCR has also shared a decent response followed by Mumbai and Hyderabad which are growing fast.

7. What are the traction details (like users, website visits, orders & other achievements of the company)?

In a short period of 2 years of time the firm has built a customer base of over $1.5 Mn monthly consumption. With 3x year on year growth is on track on its plan to be $100+ million Company by 2025.

8. How do you look at expansion?

The company’s immediate focus is to grow newly launched operations in Mumbai & Hyderabad. There after they will be expanding its presence to into Bangalore & Chennai and select Tier 1 cities. 

9. What are your marketing plans?

The company will have a combination of digital marketing and traditional media channels which have also worked well for it in the past.

10. What has been the biggest learning’s so far?

Contrast of Kolkata where one gets fish in abundance with supply deprived NCR was revealing. The company needed to be played in totally different way and that was a big learning for them. However, COVID19 gave Jalongi.com an opportunity to learn how to survive and grow under all possible constraints. 

11.  What is the market size and opportunity? 

Indian urban Fish & Seafood consumption is estimated as a $8 Bn market in 2020 growing at 22% p.a., making it a $22bn opportunity by 2025. 


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