Gramophone is one stop solution for all kinds of inputs for the farmers. Farmers can buy genuine crop protection, crop nutrition, seeds, implements and agri hardware at their doorstep. Farmers can access localized package of practice, crop advisory, weather information coupled with the best products to grow. This improves the productivity and help farmers by increasing the income from agriculture. This startup was started in 2016. It has 4 co-founders (Nishant Vats – COO & Co-Founder, Tauseef Khan – CEO & Co-Founder, Harshit Gupta – Co-Founder, Sales & Marketing Head and Aashish Ranjan – CTO & Co-Founder). We are publishing an interview with Mr. Tauseef.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: Gramophone is basically agri startup, where we work directly with farmers. Our basic concept is to improve their farming, and we work in crop production part where we help them basically grow more crop in more scientific ways. We are trying solve two problems. Providing them a good variety of quality product at their door steps and along with right advice of doing it in a scientific way. This was our need as well as of farmers. We can guide them across the cropping soil like sowing of the crop to harvest. The current eco- system doesn’t do it in effective manner. By using technology we have launched many technology products which can guide the farmers across the crop and by simple 2-3 data points we have automated the entire cropping cycle that it automatically works 15 days after sowing of the crop. These 3 problems may happen and the solution for these would personalised for every farmer.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: We don’t have our own products. We educate farmer on best package and practices for their crops and helps them to resolve their agriculture related problems. If any farmer needs agri input product we deliver it to their doorsteps.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: Our motto is to bring smile on every farmer face. We provide them advise/consultancy on complete life cycle of their crops and delivers the required agri-inputs to their doorsteps which helps farmer to cut their cost of cultivation and increase overall profits.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learnings that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have atleast one of them signed up?
Ans: Anyone who has the smart phone. When we started in 2016, at that point revolution of Internet or Jio had not came so at that point we simply started with a missed call service. So anybody who has a mobile phone or feature phone can access our services, and secondly we started from Indore (MP) and its surrounding regions, so were looking for people who are little educated and who has a little piece of crop, or they are doing farming in soybean, cotton. Chili or vegetable so this is the criteria which we were using to target people in first or two years.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: Recently, we have raised $2M from Infoedge Group.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: App and entire advisory services are free to customer it’s a premium service. We basically earn by selling them products like seeds, then there are certain medicines too which can be required by them so curing a problem, there is crop nutrition and the margin we earn on this are real as off now.
Q.:How did you get your first customer?
Ans: I used to work in some other firm in 2016 and my other co- founder were also working Mumbai. We all re-located in Indore and first customer acquisition was started by visiting farmers, giving pamphlets talking to them about their problems. We traveled a lot, and we did our marketing at our level, and we converted them into our customer.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: As of now we are actually able to bring a smile on farmers face. A good number of farmers are now able to cut their cost of cultivation and nearly doubling up their income. Farmers like Vishnu Ji and Kallu Ji from Depalpur and Barwani respectively have got a huge success from our services. Kallu Ji from Barwani has earned has more than INR 25,000 more than compare to their earlier earning.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Our motto is to bring smile on every farmer face. We provide advice/consultancy to them on complete life-cycle of their crops and deliver the required agriculture related inputs to their doorsteps. It helps farmers to cut their cost of cultivation and increase overall profits.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture?
Ans: We have an app, we don’t have website people don’t like visiting website. We have more than one lakh users of our app currently.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: To provide services to farmers at their doorsteps and all kind of help they need. Farmers’ requirement is our first priority.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: There are some retail shops but overall there are competitors who are working on this modern technology outside of MP. They are there but if we see the bigger challenge. It is to reach out to the farmers in a very effective way and generating their trust. Right now market is very large so there is a scope of multiple players in this area and in terms of challenge I would say it is not the competition but how you provide your right knowledge to the customer in effective manner.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: We have already reached to one and a half lakh farmer base so in next 6 months we want to cross 1 million mark and basically we want enhance the offering for the farmer so that we are able to engage them in better way and work on the agronomy like practices in a better way we are able to provide value to them in terms of increasing their productivity and our entire work would be around enhancing the technologies, agronomy and enhancing the product base. These are few things which we would continuously keep increasing in next few months.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: To the fellow entrepreneurs I would say basically identifying the market they are working on and structuring the problem and initially may be working with one of the small like user base to understand the problem. And lastly I would say is building startup or building a company doesn’t have overnight it actually takes 2-3 years to reach certain stage, so having patience and having the right understanding of like their entire target market and what problem they are trying to solve is important until the first phase, if that is done than the rest of the things in term of money or in terms of customer they will start following you.
Q.: Any other information you would like to share?
Ans: I think the entire concept is to help the farmers in right way like offering them the right technology and other services at their door steps. And we are very much committed towards this and taking this towards entire country, so I think primarily the entire first few years were had been wonderful and we really hope to continue and expand this.
Thanks Tauseef. Best wishes!