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Mukesh Bansal steps down from Swiggy board as CureFit eyes food delivery

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-03-2017 Mihir Dalal

Bengaluru: Mukesh Bansal, co-founder of health and fitness start-up CureFit Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, has stepped down from the board of food delivery platform Swiggy (Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd), a role he assumed about six months ago.

Swiggy confirmed the development though Bansal declined comment.

According to three people aware of the development, Bansal stepped down earlier this month over a “conflict of interest” as CureFit, a start-up he founded with former Flipkart Ltd executive Ankit Nagori in March last year, is also contemplating food delivery that overlaps with Swiggy’s core business.

The three spoke on condition of anonymity.

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“Curefit will launch subscription-based health food delivery soon. While Swiggy has a broader horizon, still, the business overlaps and there is a conflict of interest. Hence, (Mukesh) Bansal stepped down,” said one of the three people cited above.

CureFit had acquired online health-food delivery company Kristys Kitchen for an undisclosed amount in a cash and stock deal in March this year. Kristys Kitchen prepares and delivers international healthy food. Founded in September 2016 by Cristina Maiorescu, Cedric Carvalho and Sumit Sinha, the company has a kitchen in Bengaluru and claims to be operationally cash positive and servicing over 250 orders a day, Mint reported on 1 March.

Bansal, who had earlier founded online fashion store Myntra Designs Pvt. Ltd before selling it to Flipkart Ltd, had joined Swiggy and online freight operator Rivigo as an independent director in October last year.

His latest venture, CureFit, raised as much $15 million in a Series A round from Kalaari Capital, Accel Partners and IDG Ventures in June last year, one of the largest early rounds of funding ever by an Indian start-up.

Incidentally, Accel Partners is also an investor in Swiggy.

CureFit plans to offer its three main planned services—health food subscriptions, Cult fitness subscriptions and mental wellness offering—focusing on the prevention side of healthcare. The company has acquired controlling stakes in fitness chain The Tribe and bought fitness centre brand Cult and mental wellness service provider Seraniti Mental Health to expand into these verticals.

The food delivery segment is dominated by Swiggy and Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd, but neither deals with speciality cuisines. Both Swiggy and Zomato aggregate restaurants on their platforms and facilitate delivery on a commission basis.

Bansal joining the boards of Swiggy and Rivigo as an independent director was seen as a signal that smaller home-grown start-ups were moving towards adopting a professional work culture and seeking expert guidance to accelerate growth. Both Swiggy and Rivigo are among the leaders in their respective verticals. Swiggy has so far raised about $75 million from venture capital firms while Rivigo has garnered about $115 million.

Most venture capital-backed start-ups have investors and founders on the board, with a few exceptions such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm, that have appointed independent directors after scaling up.

For instance, Flipkart appointed Dropbox Inc. vice-president Aditya Agarwal to its board as an independent director while Snapdeal roped in Bharti Enterprises Ltd executive Akhil Gupta. Both appointments were made in 2014, the heady days of e-commerce, when start-ups were flush with funds. In 2015, Paytm appointed Facebook Inc. executive Ruchi Sanghvi, Whatsapp executive Neeraj Arora and InMobi co-founder Naveen Tewari to its board.

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