Interview With Keval Raj and Hanish Pahwa
Describe your product or service:
“As the most comprehensive marketplace in the SA food and grocery space, Quicklly brings authentic Indian flavors to consumers across the country — whether that be authentic chais, delicious rotis, original spices or, most recently, the highest quality premium sweets.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Quicklly is focused on helping bring the joy of cooking back into kitchens across the country. Our mission is to be the nation's largest and most comprehensive Indian and South Asian food marketplace, so it’s important that we continue to build a one-stop shop for our customers.
We offer a mix of essentials as well as more unique restaurant and grocery items that truly allow customers to save time. By adding this full scale of offerings, we’re removing the need for shopping trips that would have required multiple stops and would have taken most of the day.
Through partnerships with local ethnic entrepreneurs and a simplified ordering process through quicklly.com and the app, Quicklly is also helping these local businesses create digital storefronts that connect them with their customers across Greater Chicago, Greater NYC, the Bay Area, and beyond.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Originally called ‘MyValue365.com.’ Changed name to ‘Quicklly.com’ in 2020.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“First, as the children of small business owners, we know first-hand the challenges that local entrepreneurs face. Through Quicklly, we wanted to give these businesses the technological resources to compete against the larger players by building their digital storefronts, expanding their consumer base, and scaling their digital capabilities with a significantly lower fee structure.
Secondly, we’re both Indian immigrants with firsthand knowledge of the challenges that consumers face when trying to find and shop for ethnic groceries.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Our products and services are aimed at simplifying the lives of South Asian consumers and all people who love to eat and prepare Indian and SA cuisine.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Word of mouth, influencer marketing, partnership marketing (especially Instacart).”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Sales, revenue, retention.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“Keval: Book — ” ‘The Almanack of Naval Ravikant;’ don't listen to the podcast.
Hanish: Peter Theil — ‘Zero to One’”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“Keval: It's not a song or poem, but my favorite all-time motivation speech is by Admiral William H. McRaven at Austin 2014 Commencement Address titles: If you want to change the world.”
Hanish: Gully Boy songs, fav song#Apna Time Aayega.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Keval and Hanish: There are many for different levels like SEMRush for marketing [like] JIRA for QA and reporting etc.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“Keval and Hanish: Entrepreneurship is a never-ending journey, but what matter is not the only destination but the entire journey. Every stage is significantly important to reach that destination, and the challenges and excitement never end.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Keval: I like to start my day with powerful training to ease my mental stress. Similarly, I like to balance my schedule and maintain focus — if I am working, I am entirely devoted to the work, and if I am with family, then my time is entirely devoted to them. I like to take two breaks a year and do some adventures around the world and reward myself. For this year, my family and I will be on an Antarctica Expedition.
Hanish: Taking inspiration from Keval to be more balanced.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Keval and Hanish: Work hard and play hard. It keeps you motivated and always listens to everyone because everyone is unique and they have something to contribute.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Keval: I have completed my schooling in the military school, and since my childhood, I have developed the lesson of being disciplined, having a schedule, and following it. This keeps me on track and focused.
Hanish: I have always seen my parents running businesses. Their goal has always been to help employees [and] customers in anything they do and at the same time make a difference in society. They have been super disciplined and motivated throughout their life and have always treated their work as their religion.
On my wife’s side, she and her family have achieved a lot in their work or entrepreneurial journey, their work has been published in all major journals, but they have always stayed grounded in their life irrespective of ups and downs in the journey.
I do take motivations from both sides and hope to be truly like them one day. I am still a work in progress.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“Keval: My first job was [as a] Marketing Analyst at Delivery Hero (Germany) — a food delivery startup. Now they're a billion-dollar company. It taught me so many things since I had the first-hand experience of working for a food tech company and understanding the process of how the different levers (marketing, tech, ops, etc.) work to make it a successful company.
Hanish: My first job was as a delivery boy at my mother’s patient’s food cafeteria in India. It had taught me so many things, including no work is small and be proud of what you do.”
More on Quicklly
Keval Raj & Hanish Pahwa, founders of food tech startup Quicklly, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.