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19-year-old duo dropped out of Stanford computer science program to set up a startup

Zepto, a 10-minute grocery delivery app startup founded by two teenage Stanford University dropouts has raised $60 million in funding from investors like Y Combinator and Glade Brook Capital to boost its presence in India’s crowded but fast-growing grocery delivery market. Established earlier this year by 19-year-olds Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, Zepto is already backed by Nexus Venture, Global Founders and Silicon Valley angel investors Lachy Groom and Neeraj Arora, the Mumbai-based startup said in a statement Sunday. The firm is valued “between $200 million and $300 million,” Palicha, co-founder and chief executive officer, said on a call without revealing the exact valuation.

Palicha and Vohra got admission into Stanford University’s vaunted computer science engineering program last year but decided to quit to pursue entrepreneurship. They zeroed in on grocery delivery — an area that got a big boost amid the pandemic-led lockdowns in India — and set about building a service which launched earlier this year.

Zepto will be competing with multiple bigger online grocers such as the SoftBank Group Corp-backed Grofers and the Google-backed Dunzo for a slice of the rapid grocery delivery segment, the so-called Quick Commerce or Q-Commerce. With a network of micro-warehouses, known in the industry as cloud or dark stores, it aims to raise the game and deliver within 10 minutes in neighborhoods of Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi.

Besides expanding in these three cities, the startup also plans to start operations in others such as Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai in the coming weeks.  

“Q-Commerce in India is an opportunity of epic proportions,” Palicha said in the statement. “We’re consistently growing 200% every single month.” 

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