Have you ever had a midnight craving and did not have anything to chomp? Too tired to cook after a long, hectic day at work? Hosting a party at your place and looking for options to order from? Look no more! Mooglii is at your service. I am sure the name reminds you of the endearing protagonist from The Jungle Book. That’s exactly where the owner of this thriving new food delivery app, Abhishek Borah draws his inspiration from. In a candid conversation with this impressive young entrepreneur from Guwahati, Abhishek reveals that he has always been fascinated by the character called Mowgli. To him, Mowgli symbolizes fun and happiness. When he decided to launch his own food delivery app, it had to be called Mooglii. Just like Mowgli jumps around trees and runs across the forest bringing in happiness wherever he goes, the “Delivery Heroes” of Mooglii run around the city carrying happiness to people’s doorstep in the form of their favorite food.
Having earned his engineering degree from London, Abhishek joined an Indian company and worked with them for a year. A self-confessed movie buff, he had been greatly inspired by Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades and harbored a burning desire to do something productive for the country. He swears by the idiom, “Think global, act local.” With the passion to bring in some kind of positive change, he went on to pursue an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of International Business, Pune. Turns out the corporate life awaited his return. Over the course of the next two and half years, he worked in various MNCs across Bangalore and Pune as a consultant catering to clients in Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa. After living the corporate dream, Abhishek realized that it was time to embark on his own entrepreneurial journey and headed back to his hometown. It was November 2017 when he returned to Guwahati.
On a usual evening, hunger pangs hit and he went online to hunt for a food delivery service. None of the big names had entered into the scene in the city by then. A local app was the only option he could resort to and the experience turned out to be awful. It was then that he realized that food delivery is a sector with great potential and needs to be tapped into. For six months, he did the groundwork visiting one restaurant after another, spoke to vendors, and researched the market. In September 2018, Abhishek’s entrepreneurial dream came true with the launch of Mooglii.
A question that he is asked time and again is what made him venture into the extremely competitive space of food delivery with giants like Uber Eats, Swiggy, Food Panda and Zomato as his competitors. As an optimist who takes challenges in his stride, Abhishek mentions that these MNCs have made his job a lot easier by bringing people online to order food. The Indian consumer is always on the lookout for the best deals and offers. Once they run out of offers on the seasoned apps, that’s where Mooglii comes in. His ideas surely are loaded because his venture is on the verge of going national with the launch of the app in Chattisgarh on 1 December.
It has not been a bed of roses for this dedicated, hard working entrepreneur. His journey has been and continues to be immensely challenging. The first challenge he encountered was the mindset of the people around him. No one could rest easy with the idea of giving up a high paying corporate job to start a venture from the scratch. Thankfully his parents have been enormously supportive of his decision. A second challenge he came across was to build his network all over again. Having lived in different cities for all these years, he had obviously lost touch with most of his connections here in Guwahati. Thus the need to reconnect and build a network of support all over again. A third aspect that confronts him ever so often is the observance of local bandhs or holidays in the state every now and then. On days when such holidays are declared, his service needs to be stopped owing to security risks. There is little that he can do in his personal capacity to overcome this unless changes are made by the administration at the policy level. The fourth difficulty comes with establishing a loyal customer base. Due to a lack of uniformity in the pricing of food items across various apps, consumers tend to switch to whichever is doling out the best deals on that particular day. However, with competitive pricing and fast delivery, Mooglii has been able to create a bunch of dedicated customers. A final challenge is that of recruiting and retaining people. It is a prerequisite for a successful business enterprise to establish the company’s culture. Mooglii though has a hierarchy in its structure but is mostly flat in its functioning. It follows the military protocol where a colleague is not just a co-worker but a brother. Disagreements and differences prevail within the company but when face-to-face with an external force, the team stands united as a family. The owner is one who leads by example. During peak hours he steps into the shoes of a Delivery Hero and delivers orders to customers. His employees, needless to say, are inspired to witness their boss lead from the front.
The highs in a business are often accompanied by lows. When quizzed about any failures he has overcome in the course of running his venture, Abhishek humbly accepts that there have been mistakes, lots of them. Errors tend occur during high pressure situations. His team, however, remains unfazed by them. Their way of dealing with these slips is to rectify and then improve upon them. At Mooglii, they seek continuous feedback from customers and appreciate constructive criticisms. A sound technical team bolsters their efforts at providing the best possible service to clients.
A successful entrepreneur is an inspiration to many others who intend to walk down the same path. Abhishek, from his personal experience, shares a few pearls of wisdom. He follows three core principles. Dream. Believe. Achieve. He confesses to being a perpetual dreamer. A workaholic by nature, he begins his day at five in the morning and signs off at midnight. He has had no mentors. The only ones he could rely upon were the books he has read over the years and continues to do so. Knowledge, he believes, is everything. He urges aspiring entrepreneurs to be well informed. To quote the man himself, “There is ample knowledge. Know where to find it.” Another life lesson he gives out is to believe in oneself and one’s product. That businesses stem out of money is a myth, according to him. It is the idea, and the concept that matter. A valuable piece of advice he adds is to complete the monetary transactions on time. The foundations of thriving business relationships are built on faith. The ones who make sure to pay off their debtors first and then reward themselves establish trust and loyalty, the two invaluable assets to any flourishing professional relationship.
The dynamic businessman ends his inspiring account with his favorite lines by John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.” So the next time hunger hits, think Mooglii.