Home >Companies >Start-ups >Startups eye new revenue streams to tide over covid

BENGALURU : Several startups have seen massive disruptions across their core businesses, with revenue lines dropping as much as 90% after the covid-19 pandemic struck in March.

However, the coronavirus crisis also caused many startups to go back to the drawing board and look at new business segments.

Gurugram-based payments firm MobiKwik tapped on the tailwinds around digital payments and insurance to soften the impact of covid-19 on revenue.

“In-store payments have gone up because card or cash is something consumers don’t want to use anymore. Our revenues were down by 35% during the covid-19 lockdown, and are still down by 25%. But since we diversified into multiple categories over the past years, we expect a full recovery by October," Upasana Taku, co-founder of MobiKwik, said at Mint’s Pivot or Perish webinar on Thursday.

In June, MobiKwik joined hands with e-commerce firms Flipkart, ixigo, Snapdeal, and Confirmtkt to help launch bill payments on their platforms, through the ‘MobiKwik Biller Stack’. Earlier in April, MobiKwik also launched a health insurance product on its platform to insure customers from covid-19. Recently, the company launched mpay.me—a UPI payment link service to send and receive money from any UPI payment app.

“We have 17 business units of which two-three units contribute to a large part of the revenue and some of them have done well in this crisis. But five-six of our business units saw more than 90% of revenues disrupted. We were thankfully well-capitalized, primary operations were going well and could handle the market variations without being short-term in our approach," said Yashish Dahiya, CEO and co-founder, Policybazaar.

With restaurants shut during the nationwide lockdown, food-aggregator unicorn Swiggy doubled down on the grocery segment and launched task-management service Genie, and used its idle delivery fleet to deliver orders in this new segment.

“The food delivery business has gone through a roller-coaster, with a dynamic lockdown still continuing due to the pandemic," said Vivek Sunder, COO, Swiggy. “We are now working on consumer trust and getting consumer frequency back. But we got into all hyperlocal categories, where our expertise allowed us to exist in."

“Today, we have a recovering business, and it’s safe to say that things will be back to full recovery in the next three-four quarters," he added.

Though the frequency of orders has been impacted, individuals continue to order large ticket sizes, owing to the trend around family ordering, which is improving efficiency.

“For Swiggy, covid-19 was the first time we interacted with kiranas, and brought in a digital module for on-boarding, which otherwise was a physical process. Alternatively, we used a delivery fleet to make task-based orders. And we will continue with these efficiencies in the post-covid world," Sunder said.

By June, food aggregators including Swiggy and Zomato were looking at alcohol delivery in tier-2 and 3 cities of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.

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