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Oct 09, 2023
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Build the trust one day at a time and you'll have a sustainable business revolutionising the supply chain

-Charu Chaturvedi, Co-Founder, agrigator

 

Charu Chaturvedi, Co-Founder, agrigator

shares her start-up journey from idea and execution to overcoming challenges, in an interview with the 100X.VC Team.

Q1. How did the idea of agrigator come up?

An opportunity to build something in agri supply chain.

Udit was working for Rivigo. And during his journey in helping them build a contractual logistic business, he realized that there was a major gap wrt logistics in the agri supply chain.

The entire supply chain was extremely unorganized and worked in an on-spot logistics market. He saw an opportunity to build something that would change the way the supply chain runs. I brought in my experience of creating ERP software for FMCG and understood how organized logistics worked. Together we started working on finding ways to bridge the gap and build a product which solves day to day problems of our stakeholders.

Q2. What made you start working on agrigator and executing this idea?

The agri sector has always been an interest area for me. Coming from a farmers family and married into another, helped me a lot understanding the pulse and problems of the market. Udit’s proposal of first solving the on-spot logistics made a lot of sense to me because procurement is something which anyways will happen eventually but for the customer base we were targeting, finding a truck on time was the bigger pain point. They are into the business of doing trade and not being stuck in the endless hassle of arranging logistics.

Q3. When did you realise the need to raise Venture Capital - Seed funding?

We started working on the idea after getting incubated at CIIE, IIM A in April 2019. Later we also got incubated under the government’s FIED program and received a grant of 10L Rs. September 2019 was when we officially decided to start the company and focus our energies on our first fund raise. And it happened so quickly. 100X trusted us with our first fund raise in Dec 2019.

Q4. How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?

Their exceptional style of mentorship and dedication is commendable. This is what exactly any startup needs. No founder is born with the talent of running a company or raising funds. An entrepreneur might initially just have the idea as the prized possession but gradually the ecosystem helps develop the other necessary skills. This is exactly where 100X plays a crucial role. Giving the right advice, support and exposure.

Q5. What challenges did you face & how did you overcome them?

Finding the right team has been the biggest challenge. Agri logistic industry is a very complex industry and isn’t easy for anyone to just start working and giving results. Sales, ops, tech, finance, for each team we had to work really hard finding the right people. Plus, the delay in fund raising due to COVID, did complicate our hiring process as well. But then we survived the tough months, kept learning, fired no one and created the business we are today.

Q6. What stage is agrigator at present?

We are operational in 4 states now moving more than 300Cr of freight annually. We took a decent amount of time in one state before stepping out to the rest of the three. The ideology was simple. We wanted to understand the minor nuances of the sector so we could build the right solution.

Q7. As founders, what are your goals for the next 1-2 years?

From day 1 of company our focus has been on building a sustainable business. We have made revenue from the very first trip. We hope to move towards profitability by end of FY 24.

Q8. What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?

Our customers keep us motivated. This sector has been out of radar since a long time and there are very limited solutions available focused on solving the day to day problems. We wish to enable the traders and small-scale miller along with the Carrier providers by solving the problems one by one and eventually give them the experience of seamless transaction opportunities to earn more and save more.

Q9. Your message for Startup founders building in this sector?

This is a difficult industry, a tough nut to crack. Stay focused and keep building solutions and don’t expect an overnight success. Pick one problem of the customer at a time and think of simple solutions via tech. Try and maintain the status quo of the market. Avoid burn from free services to get initial traction. Retention of customers in longer run is important.

The customers have been too comfortable with the traditional way of business for too long and would go back to business as usual as soon as they realise they aren't getting much value from your solution. This industry runs on trust and experience. Build the trust one day at a time and you'll have a sustainable business revolutionising the supply chain.

 

About Charu Chaturvedi:

Charu, an IIM A alumni, has been in the IT industry for about 10 years before she joined agrigator. She has worked on multiple projects throughout her journey and developed automations for multiple giant companies. Her experience from developing the supply chain ERP solutions has helped her build product addressing issues at granular levels. She is one of the very few female founders building solutions in the agriculture supply chain.

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