Why are your Gulab Jamuns so expensive?

Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamuns: Image by Kashif M via Flickr

Last Saturday I was at unpluggd. It was the best startup event I have ever attended. While most of the speakers were  tech entrepreneurs, one of them was Gaurav Jain, founder of Mast Kalandar. It is a VC funded fast food chain in Bangalore.

During QnA, one question that was shot to Gaurav:

Why your desserts like Gulab Jamuns are almost as expensive as your Aaloo Parathas?

Gaurav responded telling one of the key inputs to their pricing strategy is the turn around time of the tables. On an average people spend 25 minutes to finish their main course and another 20 minutes for desserts. Gulab jamuns are served at an opportunity cost of main course for someone else on your table; making them expensive.

Another interesting fact which came out during his talk was that an average McDonalds burger is three months old deep frozen!!!

If you are in Bangalore, I highly recommend Mast Kalandar for a casual dine out because of their good, healthy and hygienic food. Unlike McDonalds, they cook every day. :-)

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Webaroo raises $10 million in another round of funding

Webaroo has raised $10 million in a recent round of funding for its product SMSGupshup. Webaroo was founded by IIT Bombay alumnus and serial entrepreneurs Rakesh Mathur (founder of Armedia, Junglee, Stratify) and Beerud Sheth (founder of Elance) in 2004. Webaroo is one of the incubatees of SINE, IIT Bombay.

I was an intern at Webaroo, contributed to the personalization logic of its products, when they were under development.

SMS GupShup is mobile group SMS service that allows users to create mobile communities and broadcast messages to them, similar to twitter, but more like yahoo/google groups for mobile. Currently, GupShup sends SMS messages only to Indian mobile phone numbers. It is being used by over 300,000 publishers sending around 10M messages per day. SMS to mobile devices is one of the major costs for Webaroo.

Webaroo started with their product for offline browsing, which didn’t strike the market well, even after a couple of years of the launch. With Google gears competition, its life ahead, is even tougher. I think one of the reasons why webaroo couldn’t pick up is due to the focus on caching static content, while google gears, powered easy caching and sync of dynamic content. Remember The Milk and Google reader are my favorite apps which I use over google gears.

Earlier, Rakesh Mathur with other founders, sold Junglee to Amazon in 1998 for about $250 million. Junglee had Stanford professor Jeff Ullman on their board, who was also advising Google folks that time. Interestingly, after making a good money, Rakesh Mathur & team approached their friends Larry Page and Sergey Brin to acquire Google. But the deal could not happen as Sergey was looking for a ten digit price.

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