Before fundraising, Zomato looks to bolster its senior management

Hoping to raise around $750 million in a mammoth funding round, foodtech unicorn Zomato is bolstering is senior management as well as newer verticals as demanded by present and prospective investors, sources in the company said.

The elevation of Gaurav Gupta as co-founder comes at a crucial time as Zomato is on the brink of raising fresh funds from various investors, including tech giant Alibaba and Delivery Hero, they said. 

With the company going for a major expansion of its various verticals, including Zomato Gold and Hyperpure. as well as the launch of the events business, Zomaland, the investors have asked the firm to start padding up its leadership positions once again to ease strain on Goyal. “They (investors) want another person on the top to look into newer verticals. Having a co-founder would help it branch out,” said a source close to the firm.

In the last one year, the Gurugram-based food-delivery platform has seen major churn in its leadership, including the exit of co-founder Pankaj Chaddah, who left the company soon after Alibaba (through its payments affiliate Ant Financial) joined it as a major investor. 

Last year, more than 10 exits happened in the mid- and senior-management levels of the company, which included Mukund Kulashekaran, chief business officer (CBO) of the firm. On the other hand, Gupta's rise in the company has been meteoric — he joined Zomato four years ago and was promoted quickly, and over the last year, the sources said, has taken up Chaddah's vacant role as chief operations officer. 

According to the sources, last year investors, including Ant Financial, Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings, wanted a rejig in the top management to boost some of its verticals, including the delivery business, which is crucial to Zomato’s growth. 

This is what led to the exit of Chaddah in March. The firm in February 2018 had secured $200 million from Ant Financial, raising its valuation $1 billion.

Zomato and Swiggy, which raised $1 billion in December last year, are in a fierce competition over supremacy in the foodtech space. Last year, there were four major competitors in the sector with Uber and Foodpanda (bought by Ola) bringing up the rear. But recently, the mobility giants have written off their foodtech ventures with Uber Eats in conversation to sell the business to Swiggy and reports suggesting that Ola turning its focus on EV venture for its next growth story.