PC: Finnoexpert

Kaivalya Vohra’s parents weren’t convinced until he had “a couple of long conversations” about leaving Stanford University.

It took some convincing, but eventually, he brought them on board.

“They saw how this business was growing in front of them, they saw how quickly we achieved what we achieved.”

Zepto, an app that promises to deliver groceries in as little as 10 minutes, was valued at $900 million in just nine months by Vohra and his co-founder, Aadit Palicha.

What made two teenagers build one of the fastest-growing quick commerce apps in India? Let’s find out.

1. Talk to your customers

His advice is: It’s very important to have a good product-market fit. That’s what you’re aiming for, I would say. “To ensure you’re on the right track to finding product market fit, speak with your customers. Think of that as a holy grail.”

It’s one of the hardest things actually. To actually get there with a product that people love, I mean that takes a lot of time, it takes time for customers to know about you, for them to come and buy the product, for them to actually fall in love with the product, for them to become such strong advocates for the product, he remarked.

In the early days of Zepto, the 19-year-olds handled customer service themselves and delivered groceries to consumers just so they could converse with them.

The company still does it to this day … with millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of orders every day. “We spend a lot of time talking to our customers and learning from them,” said Palicha.

“Going in with the mindset that you’re wrong and learning where to get right … that journey has been humbling.”


2. Fall in love with your product

Initially, Palicha and Vohra weren’t taken seriously–not just because of their age, but also because of the unconventional ideas they bring to the table in less than 10 minutes.

“When we started this 12 months ago, every conversation we had was, ‘You’re totally out of your mind, this is never going to work,’” said Palicha.

They remained dedicated to their product, however.

“Kaivalya and I fell in love with the product so much that we just saw ourselves as custodians of what would probably end up being a large phenomenon in consumer internet in India,” said Palicha. If we don’t build it, someone else will. When you operate with that mentality, everything becomes easier.”

That’s why the duo could take on “challenging conversations” with investors, senior executives, and even a government official, Palicha added.

“Falling in love with the product and building that conviction really just pushes you to … see that product through,” said Palicha.

3. Hold yourself accountable

Palicha and Vohra have been friends since they were seven years old – a major advantage in their transition from childhood pals to business partners.

“Kaivalya and I really complement each other’s skill set. He has always been more technically sound than I am, so he’s made a great chief technology officer,” said Palicha.

“12 months ago, when we were building the first iteration of the product, I don’t think we’d been able to get it off the ground without him.”

For Vohra, it’s their ability to “hold each other accountable” that brought them this far.

“This has been something we’ve been doing since way back … [even as] we worked on a bunch of projects together throughout school,” he added.

“Over time, I think that relationship just strengthened. So yeah, it’s a lot of fun.”