3 a.m. in Mumbai. Need food, cigarettes, condoms? Fly by Knight will deliver

July 02, 2013  

Our social experiment succeeded, says founder Neha Jain.

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By R. Chandrasekaran

CHENNAI: In the last one and half decades, there has been considerable change in the life style in India. The working culture too has gone for a significant change.

Neha Jain, Founder, Fly by Knight.

Neha Jain, Founder, Fly by Knight.

Gone are the days where factories alone work in three shifts. Now the e-age and globalization has ensured work does not end at night for many office-goers. Outsourcing and the development of IT has not only brought global call center offices to India, the official timing has also changed to 24×7.

While delivery system for commodities, food and goods is in place during the day time, delivery in the wee hours of the morning for people at work and those up for leisure is yet to pick up. Budding entrepreneur Neha Jain is trying to change that, one city a time, starting with Mumbai.

Jain, 26, resigned her job as an executive with Google Analytics in India, to launch Fly by Knight (http://www.flybyknight.in), a midnight and past delivery service company focusing on Mumbai currently. “The social experiment seems to have succeeded at least in Mumbai now,” says Jain in an exclusive interview to The American Bazaar.

Fly by Knight offer a completely hassle free online shopping experience with an option of paying through cash on delivery, with a promise to deliver in minimum of 45 minutes to the doorstep of the consumers. Jain explained the reasons behind starting such a venture and the response from the public.

Excerpts from the interview:

What are the reasons behind launching this service?

I wanted to focus on something that solves a problem instead of being in projects that are already in the market. Therefore, after speaking to a friend, I thought there is a market for night delivery service. Initially it was only a rough idea. Also, I did a small survey, contacted about 100 friends, to find out what they are looking for and also what are the products they will be interested in if a night delivery service is launched. It gave me an idea that after a hectic day, people get tired when they return home and expect some delivery to be made even if it takes a bit of time. It is also a low investment business.

What do you deliver and how you go about?

We deliver what a customer needs, whether it is food or beverages or dessert or cigarettes or even contraceptives or Maggi or chips, or Eno, but no liquor. A customer has to name it, we will deliver it.

Do you have any arrangements with the vendors or do you source it yourself?

We have an agreement with various kitchens for food items. However, for other items such as cigarettes, we have our own stock. We procure them based on our experience and the customers’ choice from the distributors or from the makers depending on volume and marketing and store it in advance. Except some of the food items, we may not be able to procure everything during the night and deliver it. Bakery goods are sourced bi-weekly basis. The customer gives an order and we decide to buy the food from kitchens. Hot foods are already part of menu. Biriyani, pulao, Indian and Chinese hot foods are already there.

What are the cities you are covering now?

Currently, our focus is Mumbai and we are available in all areas of Mumbai whether it is Colaba or Goregaon, except Navi Mumbai due to low demand. We don’t restrict ourselves with a kilometer range. We have employed a lot of delivery boys and they work on rotation basis. There is a team manager to take care of the shifts.

How many orders do you get on a daily basis?

Roughly, 25 orders on average a day and per ticket average is Rs.500. Consumers will have to bear all the toll taxes levied by the local administration.

Who are your regular customers?

We get orders for after party crowd, film post production houses as these guys don’t go home for two-three days, BPO workers, late night movie goers, TV viewers and a lot of young couples or singles. Tourists and people coming from other cities to Mumbai also call us.

Do you plan to add to your menu?

Yes, we want to add pharmaceutical products to our menu. We are also working on other products too.

What are the margins you can expect?

It is less than a year since we launched our service. Therefore, our aim is to reach as much as possible and it will be difficult to predict our margins now. However, we may get better margins from bakery products and hot foods.

What is your next target city?

It could be either New Delhi Capital Region (NCR) or Bangalore. The chances are that we may prefer NCR as the next destination to try our services.

What is your investment and are there any other investors?

We have invested Rupees one million so far. I have a business partner, Jude D’Souza. We are also talking to investors to add more cities and a firm indication is yet to emerge.

Who do you think are your competitors?

An unorganized food market is our competitor. During the nights, there are no restaurants or hotels available. Therefore, consumers tend to take food from wayside eateries only. But placing orders with us ensures quality food to the consumers.

Do you have any restrictions on selling particular items?

We don’t have any restrictions and whatever is legally permissible we are delivering them. However, there is restriction on selling liquor after 11 p.m. though there are more enquiries for it. But since legally it is not permissible, we don’t do it.

To contact the author, email to rchandrasekaran@americanbazaaronline.com

Copyright (c) 2013-2014 The American Bazaar
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