Episode 154 / January 30, 2022

Growth lessons from building Bijak ft. Founder, Nukul Upadhye

46 min

Episode 154 / January 30, 2022

Growth lessons from building Bijak ft. Founder, Nukul Upadhye

46 min
Listen on

As per the recent data by Tracxn, there are 1338 AgriTech startups in India. However, with 118.7 million farmers, who contribute to a mere 17-18% of Indian GDP, many problem statements are left to be solved at a larger scale.

In March 2020, we interviewed Vaibhav Domkundwar from Better Capital, where he mentioned their then-recent investment in Bijak – their first interaction with the founders and their thesis behind the investment.

In today’s episode, we’re interviewing Nukul Upadhye, Co-Founder at Bijak, where he talks about how and why he started Bijak. Bijak is a one-stop agriculture marketplace where sellers and buyers can find trustworthy, reliable, and transparent counterparties. Bijak processes transactions worth more than Rs 1.5 billion on a monthly basis.

During the episode, Nukul also talks about their initial challenges, leveraging the pre-existing offline supply chain, and much more.

Notes –

01:48 – Creating a B2B marketplace – Bijak

05:55 – Alternate ideas while starting Bijak

09:24 – How does Bijak differentiate itself from traditional offline marketplaces?

17:33 – Challenges during the initial journey

31:42 – How has he personally evolved over the past two years?


Read the full transcript here:

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:01

Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia. Welcome to the 100x Entrepreneur Podcast. Today I have with me Nukul Upadhye, Co-Founder Bijak. An Ernst & Young 2020 Study pegs the Indian agri tech market, potentially at $24 billion by 2025. And there are about 600 to 700 agritech startups in India. Bijak is one of them. Founded in 2019 by Mahesh Jakhotia, Daya Rai, Nukul Upadhye, Nikhil Tripathi, and Jitender Bedwal, Bijak is a B2B marketplace for agricultural commodities that connects millions of buyers, sellers, traders, wholesalers, food processors, retailers, and farmers.


Bijak has scaled in more than 1000 regions across 28 states, and facilitated the trade of over 110 agri-commodities.


Bijak today is doing transactions of more than 300 crores on a monthly basis. So first of all, congrats Nukul for creating such an impact for the real Bharat as 70% of the Bharat are farmers. And you have certainly made a dent in their lives.


Nukul Upadhye 01:26

Thanks, lots of that. Thanks a lot for the kind words and I’m really happy to be on this podcast. I’ve been a listener for a long time now. So, this is one podcast that I look forward to every week.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:41

Nukul, would like to understand from you. How did you identify the problem you are solving before starting this up?


Nukul Upadhye 01:51

Right. So, I think it’s a mix of a couple of things. So one is, of course, rational thinking, and what’s the market size, what’s the severity of the problem. So, Agri has been massive for a long time now. So there’s nothing new about Agri being a 300 billion or $400 billion space. What has changed, though, is you know, now it has become tractable. And so there’s a lot of internet penetration, there’s a lot of mobile penetration that we have seen in the last few years. This means that a problem that existed for a long time now can have tech, or tech-enabled solutions. So, the timing felt, the market size was big enough. The other aspect is of course, the emotional part, right? If you’re going to spend the prime years of your life solving a problem, that problem better be very close to your heart. Right?


So I come from a farming family. So, I was born and brought up in a place called Dhar in MP. Right? So, the primary source of income for the family was farming and farming side activities. We had tractors, cultivators, and that sort of thing. So, I think, you know, for a lot of folks, it’s not ideal, but for a lot of farming families, the goal is to get their kids as far from farming as possible. That’s what my family also did. So, you know, after my schooling, I joined BITS Pilani, did my engineering from there, and joined an investment bank immediately after work with jpm. For some years, I did my MBA from the University of Virginia, so I did a lot of things to move away from farming. But by the time you have spent those years, you realize that, you know, you essentially want to go back and you know, solve a problem that your family and people around you faced. So, that was the emotional connection with the problem. Right?

So I wanted to do something with Agritech or Edtech. There were just two industries that shaped my life. Edtech allowed me to experience other parts of the world, meet smarter folks. And agriculture allowed my family to actually invest in my education. So these were the two problems that I looked at. When I was moving back here. Education I felt that, you know, with or without me, the industry’s doing well. Right. So there were so many smart entrepreneurs who were already trying to solve the problem. The marginal utility seemed pretty low for me. Right? So, that’s how you know, decided to do something in the Agri space. And then within agri, I think, there are ways of identifying top of the mind problems, problems that can have a massive impact. And to me, there are so many things which can be improved in the agri ecosystem right now. But the top of the mind problem for every farmer, for every trader is to be able to sell their produce at a good price. Right? So getting better realisation for the crop seemed to be the core problem across the board. And so, we decided to do something about that.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 05:42

And so when you were identifying this problem creating a b2b marketplace, what are the other adjacent problems that you choose to say no to because choosing something is as important as saying no to 5 other things?


Nukul Upadhye 06:01

So, I think the other adjacent parts were around, you know, some of the pre harvest things that are really exciting. So you can increase the farmers income in two ways, right? So one is, help them grow better crops, help them get better yield, and once the harvest is out, help them get better prices for it or reduce wastage. So the most logical addressing problem was to do something on the input side, do something on the crop advisory side, we decided against it and decided to, you know, go for the problem that we’re solving right now. Because we felt that, you know, it’s sometimes very common for us, people, including us to assume that, you know, a farmer needs help with what he’s doing. Right? When we come in, and it’s almost some sort of arrogance that we have, that we can teach him to farming with which seemed incorrect to us, right, we realized that we should focus on things that we can be good at, we didn’t feel that you know, crop advisory was something we could really be good at. The other thing that you know, led to the decision was it becomes very easy to change behavior, when you are able to give assurance of liquidity.


So, I can come in and ask the farmer to grow pulses instead of sugarcane, because the soil quality is such or the, you know, water availability is such. But doing that is much more difficult by just educating the farmer versus actually creating an infrastructure where pulses have as much liquidity as sugarcane does, have as much price consistency as sugarcane does, right. So, if there’s a sugar cane mill, or sugar mill 20 kilometers away from farm and farmers have some sort of opaqueness in terms of how much liquidity you will get after the harvest, that decision becomes difficult. So, we have seen that, you know, if I can consistently give a higher price for a particular variety of potato to farmers, because I have created marketing linkage infrastructure for that the farmer automatically in a couple of years moves to that high yield variety. Because he can see that, you know, there’s a clear market demand for enough liquidity, and there’s predictability when it comes to prices. So that’s what led us to work on the output side. And I think, you know, b2b marketplace seemed the right way to crack it.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 09:19

How are you different from traditional offerings by traditional offline marketplaces?


Nukul Upadhye 09:21


So, I think in terms of difference when it comes to traditional offerings, so a lot of startups have taken a slightly different approach in terms of disintermediating the middleman, right, so this disintermediating the trader, we believe that the problem is so complex, A the market is so fragmented that you need the support of the existing ecosystem, right? So you cannot go in and try to, you know, just disrupt the existing ecosystem and be a replacement for it. So, you’re talking about 1000s of regions, hundreds of crops being able to do farm to fork or farm to retail there is difficult.


B, I think the relationships with farmers are not purely transactional. So, the local aggregator is essentially the guy who would, you know, in Hindi, we say,Mayyat Bhagwat shaadi Teeno Wahi final karta hai. So, it’s not a clear equation that I pay higher prices, so I’m giving more value to the farmer, because a farmer, you know, needs multiple things at multiple times. So, that ecosystem, I think, we thought that you know, the traditional supply chain serves it better.


Third, you know, given that these traders have built their domain expertise over generations, so a trader might be doing a particular variety of crops for three, four generations, it seemed foolish to not leverage it, right. So, not leverage that domain expertise. So given all these things, we decided that you know, we would let the unorganized sector do the things that it can and it’s good at and we should focus on things where the unorganized sector has key gaps. So there are gaps around data analysis, there are gaps or on financing options, there are gaps around actually using tech. So we should focus on that. And you know, stay away from things which the current supply chain is doing a good job. Right. So that’s the approach we took. So, we do a job in a very enabler kind of mindset. Right. So we work with all other agri tech startups on a regular basis. We work with traders, we work with processes, and we try to enable each participant of the supply chain rather than competing with them.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 12:45

And Nukul, can you take an example of how trade is facilitated at Bijak connecting all of our parties?


Nukul Upadhye 12:56

So I think, you know, the current way is a typical supplier who can be a source Monday trader or a local aggregator who works typically with farmers and farm gate level, works with less than 10 buyers throughout his lifetime. Right. So, he knows that there are millions of other buyers out there. But he continues to trade with the same set of guys, because he has built trust with them. Any 11th buyer for him is a major risk. Now this trust deficit, because all the transactions happen on credit because price discovery more often than not happens at destination, there are uncertainties around how quality would be assessed. So, all these uncertainties where they force a supplier or a local aggregator or farmer to trade with the same set of guys actually forces them to, you know, leave money on the table. So the inefficiency comes from trust deficit rather than from information asymmetry. A trader in Kanpur knows that he can get better prices in Guntoor instead of Hyderabad. But would he take the risk to supply five lakhs worth of produce to someone who he has never met with where the paperwork is minimal? Right? So, what the platform does for the trader is solve for this trust deficit. Right. So, we essentially track the transaction history of all our users. How much is the price that you pay the supplier? How much was the delay in payments? What’s the quantum of quality deduction that you have? What’s the behaviour when the market crashes? How many times do you refuse to take delivery? So, on all these parameters, we raid these buyers so that the supplier can actually make a more informed choice and actually have enough information to trust the other guy. And when the transaction actually happens, so you know, when buyer and sellers speak to each other, we then constantly track everything that goes on whether the produce was dispatched on time, how much was the shrinkage in transit? What was the, you know, delivery timeline then, so it creates an incentive for our users to behave in a fair way. Right. So a buyer who meets his commitments all the time, or a supplier who meets its commitments all the time, gets access to the best buyers and suppliers on the platform, right? So they are able to increase their volume, they are able to get better prices and get better payment terms, because they have been consistent in their behavior. Right. And they are close to the commitment that they gave, which essentially allows our users to see better prices, better payment terms. So, this is what happens if the supplier comes on the platform, looks for buyers, looks at their ratings, based on where the supplier is located and the grade and the variety of the commodity that he’s trading.


And Bijak recommends a set of buyers, these buyers, we have history built for them, supplier decides to sell it to them, all the transaction documents are shared through the app, the payment flows through the app. So, he gets paid on time. So we process close to upwards of $300 million of payments through the platform as well. So that’s the typical way. And at the end of the transaction, we rate both suppliers and buyers objectively on all these parameters. So, that’s how we do business, I think our users have been able to supply to more locations now, they are able to discover better prices, and are getting paid faster. So all that creates that stickiness on the platform where users want to continue trading through the platform again and again.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 17:33

And Nukul, can you outline the challenges you have faced from the initial journey? As you mentioned, trust has been one of the biggest issues. How did you create that trust in traders, farmers?


Nukul Upadhye 17:46

So I think, you know, there’s no shortcut for building trust. So, we brainstormed around hacks for it many times, but at the end of the day, it just comes down to delivering on the promise consistently every day for a long period of time. So, it sometimes takes months, sometimes years to build that trust. And so that’s what we have done. I think the other challenge to do that was, you know, for our recommendation engine to work well. We need to have enough data about our users about how they are transacting, what their transaction behaviour is, and all that data is unavailable. Right. So agri historically has been a pen and paper, offline payments kind of an industry. So, getting our users to do transactions digitally, to payments digitally, allows us to create a transaction trail. I think that was a massive challenge. Right? Fortunately for us, what worked was the problem was so big for our users that they were willing to adjust, willing to slightly change their behavior for the hope that this problem of being able to identify, identify the right counterparty that problem gets resolved.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:20

What have been the other challenges, when you are starting up, let’s say in raising capital, in identifying the first set of geographies that you want to operate in and building scale in geography.


Nukul Upadhye 21.29

Right. So, I think when it comes to raising capital, the thing that becomes a challenge is there is an understanding of what a good agri tech company would do. And that understanding comes from international markets in terms of what has worked in the west. And what has worked in China. So, investing that time to get VCs, to understand that, you know, all these assumptions might not hold true for the Indian market. The clear journey of disintermediation might not be the best approach or there are other approaches to actually solve this problem.


Now, that was challenging initially. So we are very fortunate to have people on our cap table who, you know, took the time to understand the problem to understand the solution, spoke to our users, and then, you know, showed that belief and took that leap of faith for us very early on. Now, that is something that we struggle with even today. So even today, getting out there and saying that, you know, we are building a business, which does not eliminate middlemen that actually works with them, given all the PR around middlemen, given all the, you know, hype around agri laws, it sometimes becomes challenging to do that.


So it takes more time, it takes more effort, it takes a consistent conviction in saying that, you know, this is something that I believe in, and this is the way we are going to solve the problem. So that was on the fundraising side. The other challenge there was, you know, getting the initial traction, and, you know, getting identifying the areas. So for us, we knew that, you know, getting people to adapt to a mobile app would be difficult. So, a lot of our users, in fact, for most of our users, Bijak is the first business app that they use, the only apps other than Bijak they use are for entertainment or communication. Right. So getting them to use their mobile phones to transact was going to be difficult. So we started with, you know, the Kannauj region of UP, and that’s where we realized that, you know, if it works here, it would work in other parts of the country as well. Because the literacy rates, kind of better in other other agri output regions, right.


So, we started from there, didn’t have any assumptions, you know, CTO, Jitendra worked from there, all of us worked from there, you kind of just camped there for four months together. To understand what the user is doing with the app, right? So it had to be an attractive process, we just kept working on it, to finally give one value prop that he could really use very well. And then the idea was to build on that slowly. So, now we do financial services, we do logistics, we do global, we run global platforms, as well. But initially, we had to keep things very simple, we had to find just one thing that the user cares about, and find the best way of actually delivering it on the app.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 23:19

What was that one thing that the user hooked on?


Nukul Upadhye 23:23

That one thing was Party Chor Hai Ki Nahi? So you know, to translate it, How good is my Counterparty? Is it worth taking the risk? So, that was one thing that the user was looking for? That I have a request for, you know, 20 tonnes of potato from Sita Muddy? Should I take that risk of dispatching the produce? So when we started, our rating was just Binary, good or bad. Right. That’s all. Now, we have a more exhaustive system. But the users were willing to give that solution a shot as well, while it was overly simplistic, but they just wanted to know, you know, whether it’s okay, are there other outstanding suppliers that this particular buyer has, or has defaulted on? If you could give me that information? That’s good enough. So that was the one thing, surprisingly.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:27

And for the user, because he was paid, let’s say, X amount of days later, after dispatch, that became really critical. He was not paid on the date of the transaction.


Nukul Upadhye 24:40

No, so 80% of agri commodity trades are on credit. So the $300 billion dollar space that we talk about 80% is on credit, right? So I think, from a FinTech perspective, Agri is a much bigger space than most industries combined. There are a lot of uncertainties right? So, once the produce leaves the premises of the supplier or the farmer, he has absolutely no control over it, when the product was the produce reaches the destination, what would be prices, then how would the price quality be evaluated, there is typically a 10% quality deduction on an average outside the platform, so, the agreed upon price is three lakhs. But on an average, the price actually paid to the farmer or the supplier would be 270,000, sometimes it would be, you know, even 50% of the value would be deducted based on, you know, quality is not as per the expectation.


So, that kind of uncertainty is very difficult for a supplier to handle. So, we have seen that, you know, of a local aggregator of all the money that he makes, 85% of it is just a risk premium. So, if he’s going to make 10,000 on a transaction, he actually wants to make just 1500 beads on it. So, he’s happy to do the whole job for 1500 rupees provided all the risks are eliminated. So what has started happening now is because the risks are lower on the platform, suppliers have started reducing the risk premium, which means that buyers are getting a better price. Because that risk premium which was involved in every transaction, which was 85% of the overall margin that the supplier was making, that goes away.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 28:29

And if you can describe the funnel for yourself, you know, I may be repeating the question again, but just want to get more clarity from you, farmers using Bijak, he’s using it to compare the price of his produce in various markets, right. What are the other use cases for a farmer besides the price comparison?


Nukul Upadhye 27:06

So, I think it invariably starts with comparing prices, yes, right across different geographies. Now, that and these prices change every day. So, today, you know, Lucknow could be the best market for you tomorrow, given the supply that Lucknow is getting, Kanpur might be a better option for you, right? So, it’s a dynamic thing. So, once a supplier identifies the region that he wants to trade in, then the next thing is which buyer to trade with. So once you have identified Kanpur, there are hundreds of traders in Kanpur, who you should supply to. That’s second. So, first it starts you know, users come in, they just keep checking the prices, right, then they keep checking, seeing that, you know, their buyers that they are supplying to there are better options available out there. SO, that’s our discovery funnel, right. So then discovering a Counterparty, once that Counterparty is discovered, then the other things come in when you try to keep the counterparty more accountable. Right. So somebody has committed a seven day payment cycle. So, I should get paid in seven days. So how do you keep the counterparty accountable that our rating system takes care of? So this is where users start. Now, invariably, as the volume grows, so because suppliers are now able to do more volume or supply to more locations, they feel so they run out of working capital. And that’s when you know, our partner banks come in and we start financing those transactions through invoice discounting models. Also, what happens is typically our power users realize that now they’re ready to supply to regions where they never supplied before. And they don’t have logistics partners for those destinations. Right? That’s when the user moves from discovery, accountability services to financial services to logistics services. And that’s how the whole spectrum of services gets utilized. Now, once we have enough data on a supplier in terms of what quality that the suppliers provide, what’s the capacity, how much volume can he handle in a week, then we start recommending you know, picking those suppliers and choosing them for the export platform. That’s because we have clear demand on the global side, the challenge there is to be able to identify the right suppliers who can actually meet that demand in a predictable way. That’s when the users migrate to the final leg of the platform, which is the global offering. So, that’s how the funnel is. It starts with Mandi rates and ends up being, you know, users using the whole spectrum of services.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:06

And can you share how the year 2022 looks like for you?


Nukul Upadhye 32:13

Yeah, so it should look exciting. So, we have surpassed the projections every year so far, we would love to continue doing that in 2022, as well. So, the first two years were spent mostly on getting the product right. Building the initial credibility in the market, most markets we went to, there was no user who was using our product, right? So there were no references, there was no word of mouth. So now we are at a stage where we have presence in almost all markets, there’s credibility around the brand, around the platform, we now have financial services and logistics services in place. So I think 2022 would be for Bijak to move from just GMV to you know, a deeper penetration of all these services.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 33:25

Nukul, can you share your journey, how you evolved as a founder, what was Nukul looking like in 2019, you know, when you started, what doubts, assumptions you had to the Nukul in 2022?


Nukul Upadhye 33:40

Interesting, so, I think one major change is that, there is a mandate for change, right? So, we talk a lot about companies evolving and staying nimble. But I think that’s true for founders as well as. Founders have to evolve with the company. And so things that made us good founders for the zero to one journey, might actually be the things which would make us terrible founders for the zero to one. And so the very qualities that allowed us to scale Bijak back to this stage, which was, you know, disrupter mindset, style of working, where we’d get involved in every aspect of the business and, you know, try to do things ourselves. So, that changed in the last three years, we started from doing all aspects of business ourselves till our seed round, we had no employees, it was just the founders, right? We were doing sales, we were pasting posters and everything, then we, you know, got a team on board. And, but we were still kind of recommending or driving the solutions, right. So now, we have reached a stage where we just have to drive the vision, but the team actually solves a lot of problems on their own. So, that is a transition where you have to, you know, let go of a lot of things that you were doing, and focus on more strategic aspects of business.


The other thing that has changed is, you know, when you start you, you have this romantic idea of, you know, you are getting everything done, it’s like, you know, I’m building the company, the five of us. Now, after three years, you realize that you know, most of the success and most of the failures, there was a limited contribution that you had, you had a contribution in all those aspects, but there are so many things that happen, which essentially you can not take credit for at all right. So, it actually makes you calmer, right? When you know, there are things Bijak would grow even without a lot of contribution from you. Right? Two days if you are off work, it will not be the end of the world . It’s a good feeling. So I think you know, for the first two years we used to sleep in our cars because we didn’t have time to go back home, take a shower and come back. So, we are saving that time as well Ki Bahar Ki Parking Mei We Will Go and take a nap and then come back. Now we have started taking Sunday off right so we have realized that you know we have moved from that sprint culture to a Marathon culture.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:57

What have been your key learnings during the last two years, be it in operationalizing a company, be it scaling a company, or be it in setting the foundations?


Nukul Upadhye 37:16

So, I think one of the key learnings has been that you don’t over optimize for things too early. So there’s that temptation of getting every aspect of operation right. From day one, because the problems are evolving, because there are so many things that could go wrong, which you haven’t foreseen, it’s better to just, you know, keep working, keep making small progress without worrying too much about perfection at that time. So processes evolve, when there is a clear need for it. Right. So that was one, I think, the other thing that we learned through the business is, you know, our users are very smart. Right? So they have been running profitable businesses for decades. Right? So, this is especially true for b2b companies, right? So in most of the cases, our users have a better track record of success than we do. Right? They understand their p&l very well. So, you have to drop every assumption, it’s basically your users will teach you how to run your business than any B-school or any high profile job. That’s, I think, the second part.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 38:59

And what are the resources you go to? What are the books to sharpen your learning as a founder?


Nukul Upadhye 39:12

So, I think I don’t read for self improvement, right? So maybe I should, but I think reading for me is a way of de-stressing, or it’s a way of actually enjoying some time alone, rather than, you know, learning anything new. So, I stay away from books that are very relevant to my business, because that feels like work in some way. And I read things which are essentially just fun. So, I am reading The Prize right now, this is almost like a biography of oil, the, you know, journey of oil from the 1800s to today. You know, the behavioral psychology, I read, you know, books like sway or the Drunkard’s walk, which are essentially very fundamental. They talk about fundamental mistakes that humans make or gaps, cognitive biases and all, but when I’m reading them, or when I’m picking those books, I seldom think about what I’m gonna gain from it. Right, I do end up learning something new, but I don’t pick books like that. I think that’s something that I do in other aspects of my life as well. And sometimes I feel bad for it. But when you talk to founders, there is a lot of energy that they have 24/7 will, you know, they are constantly working for self improvement or business improvement. Networking, meeting the right folks, you know, talking to relevant people, customers, investors, other founders. I try to spend time on Sundays with people who have no idea about my business who don’t care whether I’m scaling, not scaling, what’s the retention rate? What are other startups doing? It kind of provides stability; rather, there’s one aspect of my life that does not change at all, with the ups and downs of my startup. I could have a great month but the Sunday discussion with my friends would remain the same. Because they don’t care about what I am building, right? They don’t even ask the questions about, you know, how has the month been so far? So, while I’m missing out on the opportunity to talk to someone who can guide me that, you know, scaling the business, but I think it’s equally important for me to find one spot in my overall life here, which is completely decoupled, with what’s going on in my business.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 42:2o

That’s interesting. And please provide us a list of the last 10 books you have read on various topics, we would like to publish it along with a podcast.


Nukul Upadhye 42:24

Sure, sure. we’ll do that.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 42:28

One last question is, having five co-founders is very difficult. How do you guys collaborate, brainstorm, and then decide who is the best solver for that problem? And how do you five founders know each other because for five founders to work for three years, there has to be a lot of background understanding with each other?


Nukul Upadhye 43:00

I think the five of us have, you know, worked in some capacity or the other with each other in the past. So in our past companies, sometimes as competitors, right. So, we were competing against each other in the same region, and as part of other companies. So I think the relationship is built on mutual respect, right? So you’re working with someone, you find them smart, you find the work ethic, right? Or you’re working, competing with someone, and it’s a tough battle, you gain some respect for the other person, right. And that’s what happened with us. So, when we worked with each other, we didn’t start with friends. So, when we have a founding team, we felt that it was more important for us to respect each other and their style of working. That’s a better adhesive for a team than just liking each other. And so I can, like a lot of people, have a great time with them. But I wouldn’t want to start a company with them. They’re fun.


But I think within co-founders, what is required is being able to trust each other. So if somebody else is working on a particular problem, do you trust them enough to think, not think about that problem yourself, it’s like, if Jitendra is working on something, I know that he’ll crack it right? Eventually, sooner or later he will find the best way to solve that problem somehow. Having that trust becomes important and becomes even more important when you have five co-founders, because all of us are working on, you know, differences of problems but we don’t have the temptation to say here, maybe I can solve it better, because we trust each other enough. The other aspect of it is I think we all have a shared or similar background. Right. So we all started with, you know, farming families, went to tier one institutes, did work outside agri space for some years and then decided to come back to agri right. So, because of this, you know, similar paths, we are very clear about. All of us are very excited about the problem to solve. Right?, it’s okay to have differences about the solution as long as we are very clear about what is the problem that we want to solve, there can be a number of solutions to it. So we are not romantically attached to the solution, we are attached to the problem.


The other thing is we come with very different skill sets. So, Mahesh has spent a lot of time on the investing side. Jitendra has always been on the tech side. Daya has been in dairy, then grains, then fruits and vegetables for the last seven, eight years. And Nikhil has always worked on the data side of things. So, that way I think we know that our skill sets are different. So it’s easy for us to just, you know, agree upon who will do what.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 46:19

Thank you so much Nukul, It’s been a pleasure to know you and how you have built such a valuable platform. Thanks a lot. Congratulations for reaching this path.


Nukul Upadhye 46:31

Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot Siddhartha. Lovely speaking to you.



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Prime focuses on building differentiating companies whose solutions are 10X better and are powered by technology and product.

Prime is now investing from its fourth fund of $100M and is often the first institutional investor in category-creating tech startups such as MyGate, HackerEarth, Mfine, Wheelseye.

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