Trampling VCs, dying startups

Update (November 21, 2019): A twist in the story – the empathy was reserved for customer communication, but not for vendors and employees, it seems 🙁 – Exclusive: Doodhwala Employees File FIR Against Founders Over Unpaid Salaries

Our milk delivery start-up is ceasing operations! We noticed the message in the app yesterday and the plans to move existing customers to Fresh To Home (FTH).

3 months ago, I had written about BigBasket’s foray into daily, micro-delivery, owing to its acquisitions of Pune-based on RainCan and Bengaluru-based MorningCan. And, that their launch plans seemed predatory and cut-throat, as a larger player with more money to burn.

Possible result? The demise of Doodhwala!

I have written about Doodhwala earlier too, on one of their processes (See: Regular customer). But largely, I have very limited things to complain about Doodhwala and more to admire. They did their job well.

The most impressive part is, of course, the way they took care of their paying customers even when going out of business! There was communication all across the cycle – through the app, yesterday; printed letter in a neatly labeled envelope, this morning.

And the service continuity, instead of merely refunding the money, by arranging the handover with FTH. From what I read, FTH has not acquired or acqui-hired Doodhwala; it simply looks like a functional customer handover at the request of Doodhwala.

I don’t know what to expect from FTH’s service since it is not something we consciously opted for, but something that we’re merely saddled with. Let’s see!

But, a job well done by Doodhwala, though market circumstances had a different plan! Ebrahim Akbari, Doodhwala’s founder, has ‘Bleed Milk’ as his LinkedIn bio. That he did very well. Unfortunately, his young start-up perhaps also bled cash, owing to larger rivals’ larger war chests fattened by larger VCs.