Cityora, founded in May 2016, is an online food delivery app from Guwahati, designed to cater to the daily needs of the people in Assam. Serving more than 50,000 people since over a year and half now, this is the only app in the region providing food delivery, farm fresh produce, apparels, etc. Founded by Javed Laskar (COO), Sahil Huda (CEO), and Arshad Arif Hazarika (Chief Management Officer), other team members include Rishi Baruah (Chief Marketing Officer), Noushin Kausar (PR & HR) and Tanmoy Goswami (CTO). They are all on a mission to generate at least 200 jobs over the next 6 months for the unemployed youth in Assam.
We met the CEO, Sahil Huda at a press conference organised in Guwahati over the weekend, and here’s what we discussed about:
When did you realized that CityOra would work as an idea?
For Arshad and me, CityOra was something that developed as an idea when we were in Delhi. It is known to all, especially for working people, families and students, that at the click of a button everything can be at your doorstep. We realized that this wasn’t even happening back home in Assam and we just gave it a shot.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I or for that matter my partners were not always entrepreneurial. But, while we were working in Delhi, we realized that doing a 9 to 5 job wasn’t our forte. We wanted to do something better, something interesting, something that made us feel that ‘we have done it on our own’. We wanted to build on our own.
One fine day, Noushin, Arshad and I decided to do something related to Assam. Something to promote our culture and what better way to do so other than food. So we created an event page on Facebook and called it a ‘Food Pop Up’. A cousin of ours was a really good cook and with his help we randomly organized it. To our surprise, in our little apartment in Delhi, on that particular evening, we had people from all walks of life. There were unknown people eating Assamese food because they wanted to try our cuisine. Also, to our surprise, all the band members of the band Local Train were there munching on our food. That’s when we decided to do it a couple more times and every time, the turn out was getting bigger. The last of it was in a place in Hauz Khas village, where the luncheon which was organized extended to about 100 plus people becoming a dinner event as well.
And, this is when CityOra emerged. This is when we decided to head home and do something for Assam from our hometown. This is when we decided that there are so many applications that are providing services and spreading all over India and the North East. Why can’t something from Assam be developed and provide services to the masses?
Where do you and your team envision CityOra in the next 5 years?
Our plans are usually for a span of 6 months as of now. Therefore, for the next six months, all we’ve decided to do is to expand across Assam in places such as Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and we have already launched ourselves in Kokrajhar. Then, once this goal is nearing its completion we plan to spread across the Northeast. After a year, the idea is to look towards tier II cities; metros like Delhi will be our long-time plans.
The idea of generating 200 jobs for the unemployed youth of Assam is not going to be an easy task. How do you plan to inspire yourself, your team to make this change?
We were not aware of it initially. But as we began working with our people, we realized that our work was making an impact. There were boys who were sitting idle in the beginning but now they want to work more, earn a living. There are some who are working with CityOra and sponsoring their own education. There have been customers who have been very satisfied with our delivery boys because of the way they interact with them. Knowingly or unknowingly, in the service industry it is very important to always be approachable or be polite or to at least learn the basics. But we have been lucky to have joined hands with people with great demeanor, great passion and therefore, imparting knowledge and developing their skills in a way has been an immense pleasure.