The vegetable market in India is expected to be buzzing with farm-fresh veggies and fruits. But, in reality, the vegetables aren’t as fresh as displayed in travel guides and brochures. Sharat Logathanathan, an alumnus of IIM Kozhikode made a visit to the “subzi mandi” and discovered the truth for himself. He recalls being shocked at the amount of produce being dumped as waste.
“When we went to the market, we discovered that the market was in total chaos. A lot of vegetables were lying as waste, and people trampled over them.”
In a third world country like ours where people don’t have food, wastage is unacceptable but then, it is harsh reality.
Thirukumaran Nagaranjan, also an IIM-Kozhikode alumnus who was accompanying Sharath stated:
“Inefficiencies could be seen in almost every aspect. There were a lot of middlemen involved, there was no price transparency whatsoever. The produce of the farmers exchanged a lot of hands before reaching the eventual consumer, which resulted in farmers hardly making any money in this whole scenario. We felt this is a market which has huge potential, has tremendous scope of development and is literally untapped. We almost instantly realised there is a lot of value addition that can be done in this space by bringing technological and operational efficiencies.”
That visit gave birth to the idea of Ninjacart which sources farm fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmers and delivers them to the customer. This was the inception of a model from which everyone would benefit.
Ninjacart.in states in its homepage: We connect farmers, manufactures and brands to retailers directly through our lean and connected supply chain.
The success story:
As of June 2016, Ninjacart has a customer base of over 400 retail stores and restaurants in Bangalore. The average monthly tonnage is about 1.4k tons and monthly revenue of around Rs 4 crores.
According to Vasudevan, Ninjacart is the only player in this space that delivers quality goods in a span as short as eight hours. They also guarantee daily supply, easy management and absolutely fresh produce.
Ninjacart got a massive funding of 20 crores from Accel which is the country’s leading VC. Other VCs are Qualcomm ventures and Zop.
Ninjacart caters to many villages in and around Bangalore and deliver the produce to some big names like Whitefield, Marathalli, Indiranagar and many more.
The unique model from which everyone benefits:
The best part as discussed above is that farmers can benefit hugely as they don’t lose out on the money paid to the middlemen. They are also insured from price fluctuations. Through a simple method(free of cost), the farmers load their produce onto Ninjacart vehicles which are sent to deliver produce to the customers. They receive their payment through NEFT.
Ninjacart has also gone one step ahead and hosts farmer seminar programs called “Rythu abhivrudhi karyakrama” which educated the farmers about fair pricing and the market.
Customers (shopkeepers, households, restaurants) benefit as they receive good-quality, fresh vegetables and fruits delivered at reasonable prices.
They’ve faced threats in the past to stop their ways of dealing, however, they believe it is a good initiative and continue with it. The makers are reaping profits as high as 4 crores every month and manage to secure the livelihood of farmers in and around Bangalore. The recent fundings establish Ninjacart’s existence in the market.