Rukmini Bhattacharya | December 22, 2022 | 5 mins read
My journey at Blinkit: A series of epiphanies
Rukmini Bhattacharya (sometimes mispronounced as Ruk-Money) has been with Zomato since 2018 and with Blinkit since August 2022. She currently works as the City CEO of Bengaluru and heads growth. Here she recollects her journey transition from Zomato and fostering new experiences working with Blinkit. She also sheds light on her learnings working with a tech-first ops company. 😉
My last day at BCG, my first at Zomato. I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement, something that hits you only when you take life-changing decisions, like leaving your comfortable, cushy consulting job for a cool startup. Fast forward to…
… whew, whatte rollercoaster! The past 4 years had been a clutch of ‘firsts’… first time working on a rocket ship of a business that was food delivery, first time launching multiple businesses like alcohol delivery, first time dealing with the decisions to shut them down. Zomato had been nothing but good to me — offered me great opportunities to work and learn from the best.
Spoilt as I was from the experience, I was looking for my next big project, which turned out to be Blinkit. Specifically, working on growing the business in Bengaluru (infamously known as Bangalore).
At the time, I thought it was to be ‘just another project’, and it took me nearly 2 weeks for me to understand just how wrong I was!
Two weeks in, and I was stumped, yet again. Quick commerce is a beast — with many moving pieces unique to the industry. Two weeks of looking at data, speaking to consumers and to the team just helped me realise, I had a LOOOOT to learn. 🤯
This was my first epiphany:
When in doubt, ASK FOR HELP.
New as I was, I decided to lean into my ignorance. It was my privilege to be co-located with a rockstar ops and tech team, folks who had been building grocery e-commerce for years. It was my luck that they turned out to be a bunch of grounded, friendly, and super helpful people, who made time to share their insights on what made the business tick and even introduced me to Bengaluru.
I spent the first month just speaking to folks in the office — Blinkit folks in Bengaluru and Delhi who told me what to focus on. I also spoke to Zomans in Bengaluru, who shared their unbiased feedback as consumers of quick commerce (not necessarily of Blinkit, though!) Using their inputs, I started working on a localisation and marketing track in the city.
A few months in, I felt more at place in the system. Bengaluru had a superpowered team with which I was working — multiple strong growth-focused leads, some who’d been around since Grofers’ infancy and others who’d been there since Blinkit’s infancy. I’d just returned from a 10-day break, refreshed and re-energised. Obviously, that’s when the other shoe dropped — many of these folks were moving on to bigger and better things (within the company, and without)
I’d be in a position to lead the city from the front. I’d be lying to say that I didn’t want it — I still spent a sleepless night wondering what my next steps would be. That’s when the Bengaluru floods hit us — a week or so of some of the heaviest rains the city had seen, that spared no one.
Here’s the second epiphany I had during this period:
Reliability is key.
We knew that our 10 mins delivery proposition was the best differentiator and predictor of retention we had. The way the entire team pitched in to maintain this proposition was nothing less than amazing. Every day we’d see competitors succumbing to the conditions outside while racing furiously to find solutions to new problems.
Our efforts that day drove the single largest jump in active users and customer love. This basically became the mantra of the team going forward: be the most reliable for your customers every single day. It dictates our actions even today. Jumping forward then to…
Five months in, and it feels like day one! The last, and maybe most critical, epiphany since then:
Build the team.
While this is not a learning that is new to the Blinkit ecosystem — there is not a day that goes by that I don’t reflect on this. Blinkit Bengaluru would be nowhere near its current scale without the ownership and will to succeed that every store manager to growth manager displays. Folks, you know who you are — thank you for everything!
If you’re wondering how this is different from the first epiphany — the first drove my personal learning and growth. This one is about me giving back, being effective, and helping the company do better. In any case, they’re quite cyclical 😄
These are the principles I use every day. Reliability is the team’s top priority — our hygiene and differentiator — we shamelessly press every advantage of our proximity to the tech team and the collegiate feeling of the team in Gurgaon to be able to deliver it. I delegate problems to the team and convey our priorities so they know how to solve them effectively. This helps in finding ever-innovative and deeply detailed solutions to problems while helping each of us grow as problem solvers.
PS: If this gives you the sense that working at Blinkit is one intense workathon, it’s only because I couldn’t find a better way to work in the game nights, chill water cooler conversations, lame joke competitions, and team parties into this blog. Adding one more to the tally of cliches in this write-up, the team that works hard and funs hard wins hard! 🥳
If this strikes a chord with you or piques your curiosity, reach out to me at [email protected]. I’d be happy to answer any questions, or more likely, connect you to folks who can answer them better than me!
Avi Singh Raghuwanshi, works as an Associate Product Manager (APM) at Blinkit. He joined us on our instant delivery journey in July 2022. He previously worked on upselling and cross selling through product listing pages during his first two months.