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Chicago-Based Quicklly Thrives Selling South Asian Food and Meal Kits

Photo: Quicklly

Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In launched The Future 5 across 11 major US tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of Chicago‘s rising startups from last quarter here.

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The food industry was one of the most affected by the Covid pandemic. While many restaurants closed due to a drop in customers when indoor dining restrictions were in place, food delivery services reached new heights as many people traded dining at restaurants for food delivery and even meal kits.

Meal delivery kits offered the best of both worlds for many people who didn’t feel like finding a recipe to cook but also didn’t feel like ordering out. During the harsh months of the pandemic, many meal kit companies reported making record profits.

Chicago-based Quicklly also saw significant growth during the pandemic. Quicklly is part meal kit platform and part e-commerce platform for ethnic food retailers. Whereas most other kit companies offer a wide range of cuisines, Quicklly’s platform solely focuses on providing high-quality South Asian foods and meal kits.

“We created Quicklly to simplify the lives of the nearly 5.4 million South Asians living in the US by seamlessly connecting them to Indian and South Asian markets, restaurants and caterers,” Keval Rej, co-founder of Quicklly, told Built In over email. “We created Quicklly to give these businesses the technological resources to compete against the larger players by building their digital storefronts, expanding their consumer base and scaling their digital capabilities with a significantly lower fee structure.”

Through the Quicklly website or app, customers can order anything from perishable grocery items, spices, mangoes, roti and several other South Asian foods. According to the company, it has over 250,000 unique food items on its platform and over 300 small vendors. It can deliver locally as well as nationally.

The company also offers meal kits that come in packages ranging from five to 20 meals. After selecting a package, customers pick from over 20 recipes, such as Gajar Ka Halwa, Masala Poha, Chutney and Palak Paneer, among others. Customers can also choose how often they want their kits delivered.

Our vision is to become the most comprehensive marketplace for [the] South Asian food and grocery space by continuing to bring authentic Indian flavors to our consumers.”

As meal kits grew in popularity during the pandemic, Rej said that Quicklly experienced 500 percent growth, putting the company in a good position. But despite boasting good numbers during extremely hard times, the company was also able to help other small businesses that weren’t faring as well through its e-commerce platform.

With Quickllys platform, restaurants and grocery stores can create digital storefronts and reach customers. This was especially important at a time when many people rarely left their homes.

The platform also helps other business owners by providing analytics on their best-selling items and helping them keep a more competent online stock. On top of that, Quicklly also offers lower fees than other e-commerce platforms.

According to the company, eateries and grocery stores using the Quckily platform see a more than 50 percent improvement in sales.

Looking to capitalize on its staggering growth, Quicklly closed its first funding round in March of 2021. The $1.3 million pre-seed round included participation from several angel investors.

“Our vision is to become the most comprehensive marketplace for [the] South Asian food and grocery space by continuing to bring authentic Indian flavors to our consumers,” Rej said.

Going forward, Quicklly will continue to focus on providing South Asian meal kits and food to more customers. to do this, Quicklly recently partnered with Instacart. Through the partnership, Quicklly has a storefront on Instacart’s platform where it sells its meal kits.

“It has been a win-win for both companies and our customers. In addition to increasing the scope and scale of Quickllys digital presence, it is also expanding the availability of South Asian cuisine,” Rej said.

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