Interview with Sagar Yarnalkar, Co-Founder at Daily Ninja

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[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

DailyNinja is a subscription based hyperlocal platform for managing and ordering daily needs such as bread, eggs, milk, etc. The daily needs market is huge and has tremendous potential but to cater to the daily needs of millions of households is a herculean task in itself. But DailyNinja team is doing it with ease, and the speed at which they have been executing and growing looks really promising.

DailyNinja which was founded 6 months ago by Sagar Yarnalkar and Anurag Gupta is based out of Bangalore and is active in Bannerghata Rd, Kanakpura Rd, Whitefield, ITPL, Doddanekundi, Marathahalli and Mahadevpura areas of the city. The app based startup allows its users to set subscriptions for their daily needs and then manage the same quite easily using an app. This hyper-local delivery based startup is already quite popular and have recently received seed funding from TaxiForSure (TFS) co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna, NuVentures and some other angel investors.

Let’s listen to the story behind this startup from the founder himself, Sagar Yarnalkar.

Give us a snapshot of your professional journey till now?

Me and my Co-Founder Anurag are both BITS-Pilani, Goa campus graduates. After graduation I joined Reflexis Systems as a backend developer and then worked with Carwale, leading the mobile development team there, while Anurag worked with Sabre Technologies and then Goldman Sachs. After that I started my first venture Scoot, which was an aggregator of cabs. I sold most of my stake in the company and then started a mobile app development firm Appspire technologies along with Anurag.  And finally it was in June this year that we came up with DailyNinja.

When & how did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?

I come from a business family and have always tried to do some or the other business even during my school and college days. Me and Anurag are college mates and have sold Holi colours, mess coupons and midnight maggi meals in our hostel days. I feel there is nothing more exciting than building a business.

What were the early days at Daily Ninja like?

It was a very hectic time. We were working out of Anurag’s apartment, and as we were doing a tech services business, the founders and our developers used to code in the afternoon and go for customer onboarding in the evening. In the morning from 4 am to 6 am, we used to deliver milk to around 200 households ourselves. We’ve seen that there is an initial resistance from the customers when we ask them to shift onto our platform from a conventional system which they have been using for years. Now we deliver to about 2500 households everyday.

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Can you please describe what a typical day at office is like?

Our office is open 24 hours a day. Our operations team works during the night to make sure that we deliver the products to our customers and the other teams work during the day. Our morning begins with customer calls and vendor coordination. We are a team of 30 people and everyone is completely occupied during the day.

Can you tell us about the technology stack used at Daily Ninja?

We have native Android and iOS apps for the users, a number of apps for our field agents and vendors and a fair amount of admin screens, all of which interact with our backend. We use Java, Spring, MySql and Hibernate. We use AWS to host our backend and are currently undergoing a complete revamping process. For our frontend we use native Java+Android, Objective C and php.

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Is there any technology that you’re personally betting on to help you scale up?

Instead of technology, we are betting on our people. Our all star developer team has only 3 people, all of them have been working with me in my previous roles and are also my college juniors. These guys are extremely capable and we are betting on their ability to get things done.

How are you using Business Intelligence and analytics at your company?

We have our own Business Intelligence dashboards, all of which are real-time and highly detailed. We have a huge amount of data and nearly all of our operations are under constant analysis to add more efficiency. We mainly use these tools to do forecasting and manage stocks in our warehouse.

How else does technology help your company stand apart from its rivals?

We are a tech driven company. I and my co founder are both from a technical background and all our early employees are techies. We are doing a business which is extremely operations intensive and our strong technical background ensures we are well equipped to optimise a lot of things using technology.

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What has been the biggest technical challenge you’ve faced while running Daily Ninja?

The biggest technical challenge I have faced has been in migrating our backend from Parse to our own backend without a single hiccup. When you are an app based business you need to account that not all of your users are going to update to the latest version of your app and any change you make has to be backwards compatible.

What are some of the attributes you look out for in prospective technology employees?

We look for strong logical skills. All of our techies are people who have built systems on their own and are very quick in adapting to new technologies. I believe that you should always have a small but highly competent tech team, as it is easier to move fast and make quick changes to your system and also because techies are expensive (:P).

How do you keep up to date with the latest happenings in the technology world?

I read newsletters like Android Weekly, etc. and also follow some tech blogs. I am currently focussing on the business side of things.

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

The daily needs market has a huge target audience, comprising of nearly every household. It requires every day delivery and the volumes involved are very high. Daily needs like milk,etc. are critical every morning for a household and it is extremely important to have timely delivery as people’s schedule is dependent on these items. This is a highly unorganised and fragmented sector where multiple vendors operate in tandem, leading to huge operational inefficiencies. DailyNinja is trying to organise one of the biggest markets in the country and that is enough motivation for us to come to work everyday.

What sets Daily Ninja engineering culture apart?

We are a very young team. Everyone here is a product manager, designer, customer care executive and delivery executive. Our developers have delivered orders themselves and know exactly what they are building and how it is going to be used. This connect between the engineering department and operations is what sets us apart.

Which Daily Ninja value resonates best with you?

One of the reasons I love DailyNinja is because this business is unforgiving, you need to be out there delivering 365 days of the year. This requires a never say die attitude and an extremely high mental strength. This is what drives us to make our system more robust.

Any piece of advice for the techies out there?

Always be open to trying out new technologies. This field is one where changes happen very fast and trends can change in a matter of months. If you have a sound logical mind and have strong basics, everything new seems easy. One more thing, always remember to take a backup copy of your code. Always…

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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