Big Idea

This AgriGator gives wheels to the farming industry

This Bhopal-based start-up wants to become the one-stop solution for agrarian supply chain 

It is not easy to innovate in the agri-industry. No one really understands its complexities and everyone is afraid of these unknown complexities. Udit Sangwan, co-founder of AgriGator, says, “It took me six months to convince my co-founder (Charu Chaturvedi) to come on board.” Sangwan first noticed the logistics trouble the agricultural industry faces while working with Rivigo, one of the biggest logistics start-up. Traders, after buying from farmers, helplessly try to find the right distributor or broker to facilitate transportation, and the latter ever so often demands a high price. The small-scale traders are forced to take loans to pay for transportation. The biggest issue, however, is finding logistics services on the spot--to transport grains from farms to mandis inter-state. The middlemen take advantage of this and demand a lump-sum from the profit, apart from their fixed commission rates.

To solve all of this, Sangwan and Chaturvedi founded AgriGator. The start-up is an aggregator for trucks, like Uber or Ola is for cabs, and has a fleet of 1,500 trucks or carriers to service 600-plus traders across Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana and Gujarat. It works with a network of 40 mandis and 40-plus industries, and charges traders a fixed commission of 3-5% per truck shipment. In a month, it moves 20,000 MT.

Truckers are crucial to this business but they never know when and for how much their next hire will be. Therefore, they too are at the mercy of middlemen. They have to make do with sharing their earnings with these middlemen and with delayed payments. AgriGator solves all of these problems that truckers face with one stroke. It offers them timely payments, priority loans, diesel discount and fuel benefits, which ultimately help truckers save 10-12% on costs. It helps the start-up maintain a reliable fleet.

This Bhopal-based company has invested heavily in technology. It constantly tracks the movement of commodities, and gathers information on the movement, seasonality, pricing in various regions and so on. The plan is to build a full-stack offering for agricultural supply chains. That is, they plan to get into book-keeping, payments, and even financing and insurance for commodities by partnering with NBFCs and banks. Eventually, they want to allow direct online trading of grains inter-state through their platform.

This transformation won’t come easy. Chaturvedi says that a lot of the business in this industry is still done in cash. Besides, onboarding investors is tough. “Most don’t understand the core problem being targeted,” says Sangwan. Meanwhile AgriGator has recently partnered with IOCL for fuel supply to trucks and has launched two apps to coordinate the fleet and help with the trading businesses.