Rishabh and Varun share a lot of commonalities. They know each other since university time, they were course mates (Information Systems at Singapore Management University), housemates and both went to investment banks after graduation. Not surprising to see them partnering to start a business together, but what really impressed me is their willingness to give up jobs at prestigious banks with high salaries and now work together in a 10-meter-square office, with lots of delivery bags stacked together and the constant smell of food (mostly fish soup). You can tell from their substantial change in lifestyle that they are not here just to do business – they are sincerely tackling the number one leisure activity in Singapore – queuing.
Rishabh Singhvi, 27
Varun Saraf, 27
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Both Varun and Rishabh grew up in families which have been running businesses for decades; it wasn’t unexpected for them to venture into startup scene. In fact it’s a huge advantage to grow up in family like that. Apart from having exposure to business since young, most importantly their families are very supportive of their career decision. I have met some people who quit entrepreneurship because of family pressure or lack of understanding from their closest ones.
Journey to Entrepreneurship
Like many other entrepreneurs, the company started because the founders wanted to solve a problem that they experienced. During lunch hour all hawker centres around downtown area are always jam-packed, it’s really unpleasant to spend most of the time queuing for food, finding seats and finishing the meals quickly as the lunch break is ticking (plus there are other people waiting for the tables).
Varun’s lunch break sometimes was as short as 30min (now you know how stressful it is working in an investment bank); he was not the only one having this problem but all the other white collars too! Varun and Rishabh were determined to solve this issue for themselves and for other people.
Started as a side project, they partnered up to run a food delivery service for hawker food around Central Business District area and tested out around Changi Business Park as well. This is an ingenious solution not just for the white collars, WhyQ helps hawker food stalls to inventory and digitize their food menus which directly drive more business to them too.
How are Varun and Rishabh Doing Now?
With a right business model, operation system and marketing strategy, great demand came shortly and very soon both Rishabh and Varun left their corporate jobs to pursue WhyQ on full-time basis. They manage to keep operating overheads very low by arranging specific timeslots for food delivery, leveraging on freelancers for delivery service and focus on high density areas and very popular hawker centres only. I saw heatmaps around with targeted areas in their tiny office, these men are so detailed!
Vision for the Future
Rishabh and Varun are in business for long term. They already have different expansion plans such as extending food delivery slots to dinner hours and weekends, and are eyeing international markets as well (places that have similar characteristics as Singapore). Undoubtedly ambitious!
More exciting news is they plan to help marketing the hawkers by creating a series of documentaries, just like the style of Humans of New York – check out their stories on Facebook here.
Some Lessons Learnt
- It’s great to have working experience with corporate, that helps with building network
- Don’t worry about failing, there is always something new to learn
Food Delivery Service
- WhyQ’s mission is to bring famous hawker centres and favourite food courts into offices, gyms and homes, so busy folks can enjoy the unique tastes Singapore has to offer, conveniently, affordably and quickly
- WhyQ is available both on website portal and mobile application, charging a flat delivery fee of SGD1.50 only with no minimum order
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