In a bid to deepen its management bench at a time it is preparing close a billion-dollar fund raise, food delivery platform Swiggy has elevated Phani Kishan Addepalli, its vice-president for strategy and investments, to a co-founder's role.
This will make Phani the third Swiggy co-founder, joining the original co-founders Sriharsha Majety and Nandan Reddy. Another co-founder Rahul Jaimini had quit in May 2020 to start up Pesto Tech.
Majety announced the move in a blog and described Phani as his 'fixer and go-to guy' for many important problems, since he joined Swiggy in 2015.
"Over these 6 years, he’s probably had the record for setting up multiple high leverage functions from the ground up," Majety said.
Majety further said that Phani was part of the core team that helped shape Swiggy's values early on. "His energy, can-do attitude and founder mentality are all goal-worthy for any Swiggster to succeed here and make a huge impact in the company’s future", Majety said.
The move to elevate a top executive to a founder's position is part of a growing trend among India's startups, to recognise core members of the team. While founders traditionally are known as those who start the company, startups have been broadening their founder pool as they scale.
Swiggy's arch-rival Zomato, for example, recently elevated its Chief People Officer Akriti Chopra as a co-founder. A year ago, it elevated Mohit Gupta, the CEO of its food delivery business, by making him a co-founder. Earlier, Gaurav Gupta, the chief operating officer of the company was also given the designation of a co-founder.
Rebel Foods, for instance, elevated five senior executives as co-founders last year saying it had room for more. It elevated its global chief marketing officer, former chief executive of India Business Unit, former chief executive of South East Asia, former head of product and former chief technology officer.
Phani's elevation comes days after Moneycontrol reported that Swiggy's COO Vivek Sunder will be leaving the organisation by October, to pursue different personal and professional interests. Founder Majety will be overseeing the function until they find a replacement.
Swiggy is also close to sealing a billion-dollar funding round that will see significant investment from SoftBank. Moneycontrol reported earlier that SoftBank will invest $450-500 million in Swiggy at a post-money valuation of close to $5.5 billion.
The investment from SoftBank will come on top of $800 million series J round that Swiggy recently closed, with Falcon Edge, Amansa, Think Investments, Carmignac and Goldman Sachs at a valuation of $5 billion.