Outliers 73: 80+ investors said no to Kabeer before he raised funding from Google; Here’s how he built Dunzo

Pankaj Mishra September 28, 2018

“The biggest investment you make in a startup is your time; it’s not capital or anything else.” The first big lesson for Kabeer Biswas, from his first startup Hoppr is that entrepreneurship is more about the time than anything else.

Biswas, who co-founded Dunzo, is potentially building the next unicorn, or the startup with over billion dollar valuation. But that’s not what makes him and Dunzo outliers.

“Our mission is to go ahead and say we’re going to make cities more convenient and we’re going to make sure that every store in the city can be transacted with,” he says.

“That’s a massive business. It’s not the business of hyper-convenience, time—this is the business of buying and shopping. This is the business of local commerce.”

“And nobody wants to give you money because logistics as business lost a lot of money in 2015-2016.”

So why go on building it when none of the investors were ready to write the big cheques?

“Because the users wanted it,” he says.

And it continues to be frustrating for Kabeer and his co-founders to explain why Dunzo deserves bigger rounds of funding to fulfil its mission.

By September of 2017, Dunzo actually became profitable. But it was also the year when Kabeer and his team faced a near death experience.

“We ran out of money in June. And by that time we had got 85 people (potential investors) to say “no” to us.”

Dunzo has been an outlier from the time it was born on a WhatsApp group in 2014 and kept battling it’s near death experiences despite a growing community of users who loved the app.

Much before Google invested in Dunzo earlier this year and it became a popular startup, FactorDaily wrote this story in August 2016. “Dunzo! How a hyperlocal concierge app is killing it in Bengaluru


Thank you for reading FactorDaily

We hope this story worked for you.

Our journalism is produced by some of the best brains in the story-telling business who believe that good stories have only one master: you, the reader. Bringing these stories to you, just so you know, costs us a pretty dime even as the context of disruption remains unchanged in the journalism business the world over.

If you like what you read here, consider supporting the FactorDaily journey. We don’t have a paywall because we believe access to good journalism must be free to all, especially when it is in public interest and informs citizens with independence and accuracy. Such stories should not be restricted to a few who can pay. You are free to support us with any amount you like. 

Please note that 18% of your contribution will be paid to government as GST, per Indian accounting rules.

Yes, I'd like to contribute.


Disclosure: FactorDaily is owned by SourceCode Media, which counts Accel Partners, Blume Ventures, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Jay Vijayan and Girish Mathrubootham among its investors. Accel Partners and Blume Ventures are venture capital firms with investments in several companies. Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of Paytm. Jay Vijayan and Girish Mathrubootham are entrepreneurs and angel investors. None of FactorDaily’s investors has any influence on its reporting about India’s technology and startup ecosystem.