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IIM- Bangalore – NSR Cell mentored, Government of Karnataka Elevate 100 winner,  NayaGaadi is a multi utility marketplace for new vehicles set up with the aim of helping the underserved, under represented and under recognized rural auto consumer by offering personalized service and delivery options. The company is currently operating in Bengaluru and Berhampur ( Odisha ), serving customers in Karnataka, Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. In the next two years, it aims to enter 30 Tier 1 cities and is looking at raising pre-seed round to aid its expansion.

Hailing from a village in Andhra Pradesh called Thadukupeta, Chittoor District, Balaji Kaisetty admits that certain desires and needs of his were not met during his younger days due to the rural market dynamics, especially when he wanted own a bike of his choice! “The rural Indian automobile consumer is grossly underserved,” opines he. There are no showrooms or dealers, no service centers in many rural parts of the country as it is unviable to set up one. This left a lasting impression on him. And after spending 20 years in the IT industry in Global IT Companies like IBM, Hewlett Packard, Wipro Technologies in various roles, he decided to do something for the rural India. And hence, he along with Sangeetha Thulasi, who also has a similar background, setup NayaGaadi in 2015, rural India’s first multi utility marketplace for all new vehicles.It offers personalized service and delivery, be it multi brand test drives, vehicle financing needs, insurance assistance, registration, deals and discounts and takes care of last mile delivery. With an aim of bridging the gap between the urban and rural automobile dealerships and consumers, NayaGaadi is bringing transparency, flexibility, simplicity and convenience to all the transactions on its platform.  It is currently operational in Bengaluru and Berhampur and plans to enter 30 cities in the next 2 years.

The company is mentored by IIM Bangalore – NSR Cell and a launch pad start up. It is incubated by the Government of Karnataka IAMAI’s Mobile 10 X platform and is also the Government of Karnataka ELEVATE 100 Winner. It is also a recognised startup by Government of Karnataka KBITS and Government of India’s Startup India recognised startup.

Working on the platform

NayaGaadi’s solution addresses the automobile needs of a rural consumer by connecting them to all brands, under all categories of new vehicles. Its technology driven marketplace connects dealers, automobile manufacturers, banks, financing companies and insurance companies and consumers. The platform facilitates test drives, vehicle loans, and insurance assistance and aids last mile delivery of the vehicle.

For the buyer, NayaGaadi offers a platform that allows them to buy a new vehicle –autos, bikes, mopeds, cycles, cars, buses, passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and more –with home delivery facility. On the seller side, it acts as a platform for launching new electric vehicles and mobility solutions and helps new age EV startups reach their target audience within a short span of time.Additionally, this platform also connects body builders, fabricators, custom design specialists in the automobile sector with the new vehicle consumers for their needs. “This will help consumers get standardized service, cost and quality deliverables with simplicity asa key focus,” says Balaji .

To make all this happen, the company has established partnerships with dealers and OEM manufacturers across categories. It gets its revenue from every new vehicle sold through its platform in the form of commission from dealers, OEMs, banks, insurance companies and value added product vendors.

Not without Challenges:

 “We faced numerous challenges in convincing the dealers, manufacturers and customers,” recalls the founder. And to overcome this and make an impact, the company increased the awareness about its platform. It has come a long way and currently has more than 100 dealers and 15 manufacturers registered on its platform.  “Majority of the customers are not aware of our brand and our services. We have to focus on the early adapters who realized our value and started taking our service,” says the founder. The company also uses actively social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

The current payment gateway system is not viable for this platform as it charges anywhere between 1 per cent and 2 per cent commission, which is not suitable for high cost transactions. However, Balaji says that NEFT, RTGS and IMPS banking platforms help them overcome this issue as their transaction charge is mostly nil. This apart, they also introduced accepting Cash On Request Service (CORS), cheques and demand draft. The company expects the consumers to get used to online payments in the future.   

Talking about the demographics of the country, Balaji says that it is tough for any player to meet the diverse segment of customers in a traditional manner. “We are able to handle this with the aid of Rural Agent Networks(RAN) creating rural employment and trust which helps technology platforms to deliver value,” says he.

“Investors also realised that automobile sector needs to change the way it does business as the globalization, changing digital landscape of the country needs transparent and convenient buying experience when a customer is trying to buy a new vehicle,” opines Balaji. However, for the dealers and automobile manufacturers, online transactions mean discounts. “They are very conservative about the technology platform. But, we are able to demonstrate its benefits to all the stake holders in the ecosystem,” says he.

Among the other challenges, the founder says that attracting top talent at bootstrapped state is a very difficult process and time consuming. “It is even more complex when you are not funded. However, we are passionate about the problem we are trying to solve and we are sure soon our team will grow faster to meet the demands of the business,” says he. 

Where to from here?

It currently works with 10 banks and has sold more than 70 vehicles worth Rs. 3.5 crore and has aided more than 500 test drives, so far. The company has even facilitated the launch of India’s first cross over Electric bike called Volta-Zap. “Our average ticket size currently is Rs.13 lakhs,” says Balaji.  

NayaGaadi is currently operating in Bengaluru and has served customers in four states (Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.) The company aims to stabilize its technology platform and get on board more dealers, work on its product range, brands and portfolio to help the consumer take an informed decision. In the immediate future, it aims to enter few rural districts in Karnataka.It has also launched operations in Orissa, Barampur District. As a part of its initial expansion in South India, it is targeting five major Tier 1 cities including Hyderabad, Vizag, Vijayawada, Chennai and Cochin. In the next two years, it plans to enter 25 tier 1 cities in other parts of India. Currently, NayaGaadi is in advanced stage discussion with some of the global automobile players entering India to help and assist them to reach rural India innovatively.

 “We are trying to raise a initial pre-seed round of Rs. 2 crore to Rs. 3 crore to aid our expansion plans in south India and grow faster in this vertical,” says Balaji on a concluding note.

Poornima Kavlekar
Poornima Kavlekar is Consulting Editor at The Smart CEO Media Labs, the content creation partner for Beyond Basics@Wealth Advisors. She specializes in writing articles based on interviews with business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors in India. Till date, she has interviewed over 200 entrepreneurs and leaders from India's entrepreneurship ecosystem. For Beyond Basics, Poornima will specialize in interviewing leading money managers, fund managers and chief investment officers of India’s leading asset management companies.
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