The strategic investment would help Thrive offer customers the option to customise their orders and Coca-Cola to sell package deals
Thrive partners with restaurants and allows them to start receiving orders online and incorporate tech-enabled features
Founded in 2020, the startup is said to have partnered with more than 5,500 restaurants and competes directly with Swiggy and Zomato
The Coca-Cola Company has reportedly acquired a 15% stake in Indian foodtech platform Thrive, marking the beverage maker’s first investment in an Indian startup.
Thrive partners with restaurants and allows them to receive orders online and incorporate tech-enabled features such as digital menu, WhatsApp ordering, menu management and order management. It also includes a tool for restaurants to manage dine-in orders. On the front end, it is a food discovery and delivery platform.
Krishi Fagwani, cofounder and chief executive of Thrive, which competes with delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato, was cited as saying by ET that Thrive and Coca-Cola will collaborate to bring positive disruption in the foodtech space.
Citing one of the company executives, the publication also reported that Coca-Cola will gain an edge over its competitors through the deal as it would be able to push consumers to order only its products along with the food orders on the Thrive app.
This would further help Thrive offer customers the option to customise their orders and Thrive and Coca-Cola to sell package deals and meal combinations, along with loyalty codes for customer acquisition and retention.
Founded in 2020 by Dhruv Dewan, Karan Chechani and Fagwani, the startup is said to have partnered with more than 12,000 restaurants and competes directly with Swiggy and Zomato. Thrive allows restaurants to either use their staff to deliver the orders or one of the startup’s third-party logistics partners.
Thrive also has a self-serve tool that offers restaurants the option of building their sub-portals on its platform so they can get direct online orders from consumers. The platform has gained a large restaurant base as it claims to charge only 3% commission, compared to 18-25% being charged by Zomato and Swiggy.
The Coca-Cola investment will not be the first time when Thrive will receive investment from a major food player. In 2021, Jubilant FoodWorks, which operates Domino’s India, picked up a 35% stake in Thrive for around INR 25 Cr. The Coca-Cola deal has taken down Jubliant’s shareholding in Thrive from 35% to 29.75% on a fully diluted basis.
Both Coca-Cola and its arch-rival PepsiCo have been having a turf war in India in terms of partnerships with major food brands to pair their products.
For instance, while local food brands such as Burger Singh, Biryani By Kilo and Wow! Momo have partnered with Pepsi, several international brands such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s have partnered with Coca-Cola.
According to a Statista report, the Indian online food delivery segment is projected to reach a revenue of $20.27 Bn by 2027. However, the market is basically a duopoly as Zomato and Swiggy account for an overwhelming majority.
An HSBC report showed that Zomato’s market share stood at 55% for the January-June 2022 period, with the rest being held by Swiggy. For the December 2022 quarter, the share mix changed to 54% for Zomato and 46% for Swiggy, respectively.
However, both companies are loss-making, with Zomato reporting a loss of INR 346.6 Cr in Q3 FY23 and Swiggy posting a loss of INR 3,629 Cr in FY22.