Ankur Dahiya compares his youth to that of the script of the Bollywood film, Dangal. She worked hard to become a taekwondo player, starting her journey from Rohtak, Haryana.
“I represented India at the U19 World Tournament and won medals for the country,” she recalled. Unfortunately, his rise came to an end when his struggle with different issues began.
“I suffered from some health problems. That, and being part of a conservative Haryanvi community that had issues with me playing sports with boys, made my journey in the game cut short,” she said. His history.
Ankur may have given up on the sport due to family pressure, but it taught him one important thing: how to fight and be successful in life.
She obtained her engineering degree and pursued a PhD in AI and data science at IIM Lucknow.
In 2017, she met Adwait Vikram Singh, who was then working with the CM office. She had met him earlier in Uttar Pradesh while working with 1090 Powerline. The duo teamed up to launch Routier, a B2B trucking app for businesses.
The company has worked with Coke, Pepsi, Reliance, Somany Tiles, Mother Dairy and many other renowned clients. During the pandemic, Routier was acquired by a NASDAQ-listed US company.
After taking the exit from Routier, Ankur and Adwait launched Rozana along with Mukesh Christopher and Prithvi Pal Singh.
Rosana is a peer-to-peer trading platform that aims to connect the country’s rural population to online rural commerce through a network of micro-entrepreneurs.
Create a network of micro-entrepreneurs
Explaining the pain point, Ankur says, “When we saw the supply chain still paralyzed, we understood the possibility and the need to not only set up the supply chain, but also create the spirit of business in the villages themselves. Many of us in town were able to order online, but in the villages people had phones but no groceries or other essentials could reach them. Regardless of the areas that catered to a few villages close to urban centers; the products offered were very different from what was consumed in the villages.
The founders chose to start from Delhi/NCR and Lucknow. Since Rozana had a rural thrust, Lucknow was the natural choice as the focal point of the country’s most populous state.
The NCR included the neighboring rural areas of Gurugram, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Sonepat and others.
“We put together a team that would work to identify rural entrepreneurs who would be comfortable with technology. Via the Rozana portal, the contractor ordered and we began to supply him. Entrepreneurs became our enablers and we created a technology ecosystem for them to order and supply FMCG products,” she says.
Ankur explains the process in a few simple steps.
“The entrepreneur has four major roles at Rozana. The first is to “onboard the customer”. Each peer (micro-entrepreneur) has a unique code. Once a peer successfully onboards a customer, it applies its unique peer code. Second, promote “engagement” – The peer partner pushes innovative programs, offers, and other plans to customers.
The third is to make the “delivery” in the village once a customer has placed an order. Rozana delivers the product to the peer partner’s house. The peer partner then delivers it to the client. To do this, the peer earns money as Rozana’s distribution partner in the village. Fourth, give or transmit local inputs, the entrepreneur gives us inputs for local products. »
The founders realized that the biggest problem in rural and semi-urban India is the limited supply of products.
Rozana offers a wider range of SKUs for villagers. The supply of products in the villages is limited, not because there is no demand, but because the local retailer does not have the working capital to open a large store. Therefore, people have to go to local cities to buy products.
Bringing rural India to e-commerce
The Rozana app gives them a wider product offering, better prices, and access to new businesses looking to expand in rural India.
Currently, Rozana serves essential categories like Edible Oil, Spices, Commodities, Personal Care, Cosmetics, and many more. It will soon branch out into many new categories like shoes, eyewear, clothing, etc.
According to the government. data from India, 92% of Indians earn less than Rs 10 lakh pa and 75% of Indian population earn less than Rs 5 lakh pa. Nearly 35-40% of the population of urban cities live in resettlement settlements, JJ clusters, urban villages and other similar areas. More than 85% of India’s population lives in villages or urban slums.
The platform is currently in use for the most part, but Ankur believes there is an opportunity for a multi-category portfolio, which will be sold through the Rozana.in micro-entrepreneur network.
“Rozana is a D2C business for 90% of Indians who have never used e-commerce.
We extend from village to village, from town to town and from hamlet to hamlet. We work tirelessly to create and bring tens, if not hundreds of millions of customers to commerce online through our peer commerce model. Currently, no D2C company understands the local needs of different parts of the country. Brands, products and lifestyle change drastically from state to state. Western UP and Eastern UP have very different consumption patterns,” says Ankur.
The effects are multiple. The platform diversifies a village ecosystem and creates a different category of product consumers who have never used e-commerce before. For FMCG companies, it provides access to a consumer base, which was practically non-existent for them, and vice versa for consumers.
It also aims to empower women entrepreneurs in the village through technology not only to onboard customers and supply, but also to change consumption patterns.
“Of the approximately 600,000 grams of panchayats in India, which are the core of the rural market, local demand is met by the village trader, who has the capacity to stock a few SKUs due to working capital and limited storage space. giving consumers only a limited number of options. So, in fact, we see the local retailer as our competitor,” says Ankur.
Last year, Rozana raised $1.5 million of a German fund IEG – Investment Bank. He is about to close another round, which will be announced soon.
In nine months, he went through Rs 10 crore gross sales per month and seeks to register Rs 15 crore in sales and grow at a rapid rate and reach Rs 15 crore in sales per month.
The founders’ plans include expanding Rozana to many more districts and areas, creating more female entrepreneurs and in turn, building livelihoods through its social commerce platform.