Inspired by Swami Vivekananda and business tycoon Ratan Tata the duo created business innovation in Mobile Fuel Delivery
Q1. You have a great start up Idea. Who were your mentors and inspiration for converting this idea into business?
Chetan and I, were inspired by a quote from Swami Vivekananda “Only those live who live for others” and this struck a cord with me and Chetan.
Ratan Tata was also one of our biggest inspirations for all our life. So when we finally decided to float a company and finally work for our idea, the first person that we pitched the idea to was, Mr.Ratan Tata and since then, he has been a mentor to us and has been constantly guiding us to make sure that this dream of ours, for the fuel distribution in India, is realized.
Q2. A brief conversation about yourself?
I have a diverse background from Chemistry to Geo-politics, and Chetan joined his dad’s business of running a petrol pump, when he was in his 3rd year of mechanical engineering.
We(Aditi and Chetan) got married 3 years ago and inspite of having all the luxuries, we decided that we want to do something larger than our lives and change the world. We both have different expertise but only one vision, that we do something to serve the nation and the world.
Q3. How did you get the idea of delivering fuel using an App?
E-Commerce is changing the way business is done in almost all verticals. When we researched about all the problems that end consumers of diesel have to go through, we knew that we had to do something. We decided to find a better solution to take away these problems.
In the prevalent system, the end consumer has to hire a vehicle, hire personnel and send the same vehicle to the retail petrol pumps where fuel was filled in the super vision of the supervisor and thus, there were all kinds of losses like dead mileages, spillages and pilferages.
So in order to change all this, rather than the customer having to come to petrol pump, we thought of taking the petrol pump to the customer. Now, with the latest IoT vehicles(Repos Petrol pump) integrated with the Repos Energy App, customers can simply order diesel on the App and get it delivered at their doorstep!
Q4. Can you let us know the demand for this product and for mobile fuel?
There is a huge demand for this product(Repos Petrol Pump) and the doorstep diesel delivery service. As the Repos Petrol Pump enables the existing retail petrol pump owners to make incremental sales with the existing infrastructure, it enables the retail outlet dealers to own two petrol pumps with minimal investment. This is the reason why the petrol pump dealers want to get their hands on this product as soon as possible.
On the diesel consumer side, since this doorstep diesel delivery solution takes away all the hassles of consumers and also saves considerable amount of money on the annual diesel bills, end consumers are extremely happy about this solution and are signing up for the service in good numbers.
Q5. How affordable, to a consumer, is this method as compared to the conventional fuel stations?
This solution saves considerable amount of money on annual diesel bills for consumers and it also provides highly efficient features of consumption monitoring and tracking. Even after levying of a small convenience fee for doorstep delivery the trade-off is still positive in the favor of end consumers.
Q6. Did you get any resistance for starting your business from the petrol station lobby?
This solution empowers the existing petrol pump dealers to grow their business with incremental sales and with minimal investment. So there was no question of petrol station lobby resisting it. In fact, the petrol station dealers are more than happy and are extremely welcoming of this solution.
Q7. What made you choose Diesel for supply?
Indian Government, in its recent policy has allowed the doorstep delivery of Diesel. The policy allows delivery of only diesel as it is not as explosive as some of the other fuels and thus the doorstep delivery of diesel is still an extremely safe proposal.
Q8. How did you convert your Idea / Innovation into a business?
After completing my Engineering, I started working on our retail petrol station and Aditi (my wife) joined me. Working there we got to know about all the problems that industries have to face in diesel procurement and management. So we started ideating on how these problems can be resolved and then the idea of doorstep diesel delivery was born. Thereafter we kept on refining the idea, made use of latest available technology and innovated the products to complete our solution. In the meantime, the Government of India also came up with the policy changes that were necessary to curb the diesel losses in the prevalent system and we kept up with the desired changes and thus the idea was converted into a full-fledged business over the time.
Q9. What was your start-up capital?
3 crore Indian Rupees
Q10. Your route to getting funds challenges and experiences that you want to share?
We have only received a token undisclosed amount from Mr Ratan Tata. The only thing we feel necessary for raising the funds is your belief. Not every investor will see and believe what you do. But that is okay. We feel there are people out there who resonate on the same frequency as ours. Because we kn0w when we started our parents too ridiculed this idea. Everyone around us said you’ll are crazy. When we started this idea was never in place and also these were no legal permissions to do the same. Today in just 2 years after governments support we are now present in 30+ cites all because we know this is the next future. If you believe in your idea, just have to keep doing your work,the right investor will find you. Ratan Tata was one of those humble people who met with us before the idea and execution.
Q11. Do you plan to add more fuel types to this list?
Repos Energy at its core is an Energy company and our mission is to change the Energy distribution in India. So, yes definitely, we have plans to add more fuel types to this list of fuel distribution ecosystem aided with the latest available technologies.
Q12. What threats do you see to this business opportunity with EV around the corner?
We don’t believe that EVs are a threat to this business as we welcome the advent of EVs in India. If the annual diesel consumption in India is segregated according to the industries then it is found that only around 15% of the total annual diesel consumption is consumed by private vehicles, rest 85% of diesel is consumed by some kind of industry. All these will keep on consuming the diesel in future too and hence the advent of EVs is not going to have any major impact on the consumption pattern of diesel in India.
Q13. Your expansion plans if you want to comment about it?
We are already present in 50+ cities across India. In the span of next 5 years, we plan on to be present in every nook and corner of the country empowering almost all the retail petrol pump outlets to grow their business and then give a flip to the growth of MSMEs in every corner of the country by ensuring fuel security to the businesses in remote areas of the country.
Q14. How did you organize yourself and your ideas to ensure that you are on the path to success. The pitfalls that you avoided and the opportunities that you captured?
Once it was decided that we want to change the way fuel is distributed in India, we knew that we had a very big task at hand. So we decided that we shall never move away from our Mission, no matter what the circumstances demand. So we kept reminding ourselves so as to why we started this company and anything that was inconsistent with the philosophy of this mission, we refrained from indulging in it.
So consistently doing things that took us closer to achieving our objective, helped us in defining our own path to success. The team that we built was a direct result of our belief in what we wanted to do for our Nation. People kept coming in and soon we had a huge Repos Family working for the same dream with the same vigor as us.
When any new company is born then there are a lot of pitfalls that it has to avoid. With developments every single day, any company can lose focus only to regret it later. So, very cautiously, we stayed focused on our mission and kept working to realize our dream. That is how we achieved success.
Q15. For those who have ideas but do not know what to do, your recommendations on choosing the correct path.
Idea is just a start, the real work begins after the idea is seriously thought through. So when we conceived the idea, we kept refining it on paper. Once we knew what we wanted to do, we just decided to go for action. The first thing that we did was we rented an office with just the 2 of us, Chetan and I. So once that was done, we had to go to the office every single day and day by day we started charting out plans. Once people started coming in, we built a team. Within a few months there were few of us. Then within a year there were more than 50 of us and then the ball was rolling.
So the trick is to take action once the plan is made. As it is said, “A plan without effort is just a wish”, it is important that we keep working towards realizing our plans. Even if we fail that is still alright as it still helps in making the idea better but not taking any action on your own plan is unpardonable.
Q16. How to convert your innovative idea into a business, some tips for the startup community
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)