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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  Zomato’s losses mount in FY16, even as revenue doubles

Bengaluru: Food-tech company Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd nearly doubled its revenue in the year ended 31 March, but its losses widened significantly, according to a regulatory filing by investor Info Edge (India) Ltd.

Zomato’s revenue surged 91.2% to 184.96 crore in the year ended 31 March from 96.73 crore in the previous year, according to Info Edge. However, the increase in revenue came at a cost, as the company posted a loss before tax of 492.27 crore. The comparable number for the previous year wasn’t available. In 2014-15, Zomato reported an operating loss of 136 crore.

Zomato did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Zomato, which has so far raised close to $225 million from Info Edge, Sequoia Capital, Vy Capital and Temasek Holdings, landed in the middle of a storm earlier this month after analysts at HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Pvt. Ltd valued the firm at about $500 million, about half the valuation at which Zomato had raised its last round of funding, in September.

Both Zomato and Info Edge disagreed, saying the company was on the road to profitability. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and executive vice-chairman of Info Edge, said in an interview on 9 May that “Zomato’s revenue had more than doubled in the last nine months and continues to head north at a good clip".

Info Edge owns about 47% in Zomato. Food technology start-ups in the country have suffered due to a slowdown in funding, with some either closing down or getting acquired after failing to raise capital.

Dazo shut down in October and Spoonjoy, run by Emvito Technologies Pvt. Ltd, was acquired by hyperlocal delivery company Grofers (Locodel Solutions Pvt. Ltd) the same month. Eatlo Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd ended operations in December.

TinyOwl Technology Pvt. Ltd, another food ordering start-up, shut operations in all cities but Mumbai as it prepares to merge with hyperlocal delivery start-up Roadrunnr. Zomato itself shut operations in four cities last year (Lucknow, Kochi, Indore and Coimbatore) and fired about 300 people in October.

Interestingly, the company claimed in February this year that it has achieved operational profitability in six markets: India, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Qatar, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Over the past three years, Zomato has expanded to 23 countries, and claims to be the market leader in 18 of them. The firm has made eight acquisitions outside of India, including Urbanspoon, which it acquired in January 2015 for $52 million.

Until last year, advertising revenue from restaurants comprised a lion’s share of Zomato’s overall revenue. However, restaurants on Zomato that pay for advertising account for a mere 6-8% of its total restaurant database, according to the HSBC report. Last May, the firm launched a food-ordering business and invested in logistics start-up Grab, owned by Grub Services Pvt. Ltd.

In an interview on 19 December, Zomato co-founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal said the company planned to invest $40 million in the food-ordering business over the following six months. The battle in the food-ordering space is now limited to three players: Zomato, Rocket Internet-backed Foodpanda  and Bengaluru-based Swiggy (Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd), which has so far raised close to $60 million from Accel Partners, SAIF Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and others since its launch in 2014.

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Updated: 26 May 2016, 02:43 AM IST
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