Indian Railways is world’s third largest, yet the quality of food served in even the most expensve trains isn’t even close to its stature. TravelKhana, a Delhi-based startup which provides online food ordering service for train passengers is however looking to change that, and has hence raised an undisclosed amount of money from Astarc Ventures along with a group of angel investors.
This round of funding is a bridge round to the Series A round of funding, which is expected to be around $10 million and will close in a few months, reports ET.
It is currently providing services from over 150 stations and with fresh funding, will now expand its presence to over 400 stations. It will also invest money to improve it’s back-end technology, which is a core to how the app functions.
The company claims to be paying attention to three important things – Availability, Hygiene and Flavour. It ensures that the customers get their food on time and exactly what they ask for. You can call in the middle of the night or at dawn to place your order, and you’ll be delivered with the same at the next station.
You can order food by calling, website, or by using their mobile application. You can book meal by providing ‘Passenger Name Record’ (PNR) number and you can pay either online or on delivery.
It charges restaurants a commission of about 18–20 per cent on every order, and does not charge commission to the traveller. When the train reaches the station specified, hot food is delivered to travellers at their seats. It offers selection from North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Mughlai, Hyderabadi, Continental, Italian, Non-Vegetarian, Vegetarian, Soft Drinks, etc.
Founded in 2012 by Pushpinder Singh, TravelKhana claims to be serving more than 3,000 passengers per day. Previously, the company had raised seed funding of $2 million from Rajan Anandan, Alok Mittal, Sarbvir Singh and a few other angel investors.
It claims to have served meals to a whopping 383,921 train passengers with annual revenues in 2014 already clocking Rs 1.4 crore. Suprisingly, given the labour intensive nature of this business, the company has a staff of just 40 people.
Salil Musale, promoter of Astarc Ventures, said in a statement,
TravelKhana has done a fabulous job in getting the initial traction and getting a good working model. Now is the time to scale this solution to reach much larger audience. We like the deep pain point that this company is solving for a large number of middle-class passengers, the entrepreneur’s determination, scalable business model and the current momentum.
In partnership with Makemytrip, the company is developing a similar service on long-distance buses. Initially, the service will be available in Delhi and the National Capital Region.