Agritech-focused startup Ninjacart changed its focus from B2C to B2B to tackle inefficiencies in supply chain for food.

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Agritech company Ninjacart began in the year 2000. It was founded to manage the agri-food ecosystem in India by using technological innovation and information. The goal was to improve and make life easier for millions of farmers and other agri-related players in the value chain of agri products or the agri ecosystem. This includes wholesalers, farmers retailers, resellers as well as aggregators and suppliers.

This Bengaluru-based company was established by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran Kandasamy, Vasudevan Chinnathambi and Sharath Loganathan in the month of June in 2015.

The journey From B2C to B2B

Ninjacart was initially launched as B2C models to move vegetables and fruits from retailers to customers within 60 minutes or less.

“We encountered numerous grievances on delayed deliveries from retail outlets, kirana stores, and small businesses,” Kartheeswaran adds. Kartheeswaran.

Middlemen’s presence led to farmers being abused, causing them to market their goods at lower prices. The result was that farmers were facing unfair treatment, large amount of food waste as a result of shortages in demand and a decrease in income.

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In addition, due to a lack of transparency and absence of specialist equipment the company faced issues such as delays in delivery and an insufficient supply of fresh produce for retailers.

The founders made the decision to shift towards a B2B model September of 2015 to tackle “one of the toughest agricultural supply chain problems”, develop a reliable, efficient infrastructure that is high-speed and reliable, that allows merchants and retailers to buy fresh produce directly from farmers on a daily basis according to Kartheeswaran.

“Switching from to a B2C to the B2B commercial model is a challenging choice. However, the lack of efficiency in food production led us to adopt such drastic steps,” he says.

From the retailers and farmers to consumers, Ninjacart recognized issues at every stage , and was the first to take on the task of standardising the supply chain for food in India.

“It took us a year to get to a point where we can say that Ninjacart business model is self-sufficient, tech-enabled, and cost-effective,” Kartheeswaran says. Kartheeswaran.

He states that today Ninjacart has succeeded in replacing middlemen using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) machine-learning (ML) Data Science, as well as apps-based platforms.

Challenges

Although the Bengaluru-based startup was among the first companies in the Indian Agritech industry to recognize the issues in their supply chain it also meant that there were a lot of issues it had to contend with.

According to Kartheeswaran the most challenging task was to find out the cost at which farmers can sell fresh vegetables to middlemen. In addition, farmers are not aware about the conditions for selling their produce and consequently suffer huge losses.

“We had to tackle two main obstacles, i.e., convincing retailers and grocery store owners to take their operations online, and convincing farmers to trust us over the conventional intermediary they had known for years,” He adds.

After almost a year of operating the infrastructure that was enabled by technology the B2B model of Ninjacart began to flourish as did the company’s B2B model, and “we knew we had produced something significant,” the CEO states.

USP and the future plans

Additionally, it has reduced the amount of time required for produce to travel from the farm to the store, Ninjacart founder says the business has helped farmers increase their income and standard of living. The company is now able to deliver fresh produce and fresh fruits from the farmers to stores and other businesses within just 12 to 14 hours.

“We made Ninjacart what it is today by investing in technology and data science, and we will continue to do so in the future,” Kartheeswaran says. Kartheeswaran.

Farmers can gain insight into the market demand and the availability of their products through our assistance. To assure that the delivery driver don’t make unnecessary trips and are available to make deliveries, data is utilized to determine the logistical aspects of delivery. Retailers are provided with fresh food delivered directly to their doorsteps together with secure payment options along with online inventory.

In March the company launched an investment of 25 million Agri Seed Fund to support young and innovative entrepreneurs in the agri industry.

“We would like to invest in entrepreneurs, startups and tech-savvy innovators who provide innovative sustainable, eco-friendly, and technologically enabled solutions. Our primary goal is to help accelerate the growth and development of agriculture as well as ideas in the agri and agri-related industries , with a particular focus of fintech, commerce and digitalization,” says Kartheeswaran.

Ninjacart also purchased SaaS platform Tecxprt in March of this year to increase its standing as a single-source solution for farmers.

The company announced in April that it joined forces together with Avanti Finance to provide easy access to credit options. Ninjacart has expanded its capabilities within the agritech industry, advocating financial inclusion through digital technology and aims to help agri-traders with rapid financing at an affordable cost, alleviating their financial difficulties.

In May of this year, Ninjacart invested in Fyllo an agritech company based in Bengaluru.

“In the near future, Ninjacart will keep adding value to the agrispace , and will continue to invent to help and empower the agri-related players. We will continue to move towards enhancing the sector of agriculture across India,” says Kartheeswaran.

“Ninjacart’s goal is to streamline the entire agri ecosystem so that all agri-players along the food supply chain can take full advantage of the infrastructure,” he says.

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