When Kaivalya Vohra wanted dropped out of Stanford University to run his own startupit took “a couple of long talks” to convince his parents.
But getting them on board wasn’t too difficult, he said.
“They’ve seen this business grow in front of them, they’ve seen how quickly we’ve achieved what we’ve achieved.”
It took just nine months for Vohra and his co-founder Aadit Palicha to build Zepto, an app from India that promises to deliver groceries in less than 10 minutes, to the tune of $900 million.
How did two teenagers build one of India’s fastest growing e-commerce apps? CNBC Do it finds out.
Finding the right market for the product is important, Vohra said. His advice on how to do it?
“Talk to customers. Just use it as a holy grail [to] make sure you’re on the right track with product-market fit.”
“One of the hardest things is getting to the point where you have a product that people love… It’s much easier and faster if you’re constantly talking to customers, getting feedback from them and learning from them,” he added.
In Zepto’s early days, the 19-year-olds handled customer service themselves, delivering groceries to customers so they could have a quick chat with them.
“We still do it today… We have millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of orders every day. [We still] spends a lot of time just talking to customers, learning from them,” Palicha said.
“When you think you’re wrong and learn where to do the right thing … that journey has been humbling.”
Palicha and Vohra were not always taken seriously, not only because of their age, but also because of the “crazy” idea of delivering under 10 minutes.
“When we started this 12 months ago, every conversation we had was like, ‘You’ve completely moved out, it’s never going to work,'” Palicha said.
But their belief in their product kept them going.
“Kaivalya and I fell in love with the product so much that we just saw ourselves as the custodians of what is probably going to be a big consumer internet phenomenon in India,” Palicha said.
“If we don’t build it, someone else will. When you work with that mentality, it makes things less intimidating.”
That’s why the duo can start “challenging conversations” with investors, senior executives and even a government official, Palicha added.
Despite being just one of many companies to join the spot trading wave, it has caught the attention of investors. The latest cash injection of $200 million in May brought Zepto closer to unicorn status.
“Falling in love with a product and building that belief really just pushes you to … see that product,” Palicha said.
Palicha and Vohra have been friends since they were seven years old, a huge advantage as they have gone from childhood friends to business partners.
“Kaivalya and I really complement each other’s skill sets. He’s always been more technically sound than me, which makes him a great chief technology officer,” Palicha said.
“12 months ago when we were building the first iteration of the product, I don’t think we would have been able to launch it [without him]”.