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Swiggy CEO posts lengthy denial of Tumblr blog’s allegations

Sriharsha Majety, Swiggy’s CEO, posted a lengthy response today to a viral blog post that claimed to have been written by an anonymous group of former and soon-to-leave employees of the food delivery startup. Majety indicated that the post’s authors may not be former Swiggy employees in the first place (“but that’s for another day”). In his post, Majety refuted most of the claims that the Tumblr post made, while not disputing that some of the documentation featured in the post was authentic.

For instance, slides from an investor deck featured in the Tumblr post (1) were featured in a different format (2) by Majety in his response while refuting an Excel sheet that showed lower sales numbers.

Photo of an Swiggy fundraising deck posted on the blog

Same data posted by Majety


“The fact that our success causes others disbelief is probably understandable,” Majety said elsewhere in the post.

30% commission

The Tumblr post said that restaurant owners were initially charged modest commission rates — between 5 and 10 percent. Gradually, that number grew to 25%, with a future target of 30% on average, the post claimed. Majety did not dispute the fact that restaurant commissions were being increased, saying: “The commissions we charge are a function of the value we generate for the restaurant”.

Slides from the same (alleged) Swiggy deck by Avendus

Slide from the same (alleged) Swiggy deck by Avendus


But he said that the 30% number was a combination of restaurants’ commissions, delivery charges paid by consumers, and “discretionary” ad revenue — this could presumably be referring to the “Promoted” advertisements within the Swiggy app for a few restaurants.

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Fudging stats

“All the posts you see about food trends found on Swiggy are fake,” the Tumblr post claimed, saying that no study was conducted before providing the media with statistics on consumer usage patterns. Majety responded that all stats shared with the media were done after “order analysis” and cited an article that specified the parameters of one such analysis.

The Tumblr post also said that the startup’s in-house order number tracker was made inaccessible to most employees, after which Swiggy reported that it had been receiving 4 million orders every month. Majety said that the tracker continued to be available to “any number of employees” within the startup, and said that they did indeed receive 4 million orders every month.

But later in the post, Majety indicated that additional restrictions may have been placed on the tracker. “We take information security very seriously at Swiggy and access control is a regular part of business,” he said, responding to an excerpt of the post which claimed that the reported order growth rate was ‘just not possible’.

Shaping social media reviews

The Tumblr post alleged that Swiggy regularly manufactured fake reviews for participating restaurants, and deleted negative reviews from social media. Majety denied this, saying that reviews on the Swiggy app are not deleted, but acted upon. “Do go through our Twitter timelines and you will find that we always respond and try to resolve issues rather than bury them.”

“Instead of offering customers redressal, we hide behind TnCs and clauses to protect ourselves,” the Tumblr post had said.

Organizational churn

The Tumblr post alleged, “All the good engineers, head of engineering, VP product, head of recruitment, many good managers and team leads have already left. I have also heard that our VP, Gunjan [Shah] has been recently fired quite unceremoniously.” It speculated that Shah had been kicked out of the organization because of disagreements with top management.

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Majety denied this too. “Interestingly our Head of Recruitment and VP Product are a year old and very much still in the system,” he said, adding that Gunjan Shah had left the company ‘naturally’ to follow “his entrepreneurial ambitions”.

Delivery Executive mistreatment

The Tumblr post claimed that Swiggy’s Delivery Executives were technically freelancers, so they were ineligible for health or accident insurance. It also said that some executives were considering unionising, and that monthly payouts were ‘dwindling’. While Majety did not dispute that DEs were getting smaller payments, he said that Swiggy provided all of them with accident and health insurance.

Built to sell

The Tumblr post claimed that many senior executives had confessed to have been in Swiggy for “a quick buck” and expected an acquisition followed by a hefty buyout. “We’ve built Swiggy with a vision to change the way India eats,” Majety responded in a grandiose paragraph, continuing, “We truly believe in our vision and work everyday to make this come to life. We’re definitely aligned to this mission as a management and leadership team, no doubt! We treat our employees, partners and delivery personnel with the utmost respect, honesty and integrity – aligned to our core values.”

“This is the truth, and the truth alone.”

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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