We are publishing an interview of Mr. Vijay Dhavala, Founder & Group CEO, Dhavalas (A startup that provides end to end integrated agro farming solutions where the farmers gets all the expert services & solutions at one platform).
About the founders:
Vijay Dhavala is basically from CA & MBA background with 20 years’ experience in professional consulting services in various domains viz. finance, law, technology and management consulting. He started working on agriculture advisory from the year 2011 and gradually consolidated all the services to form an Agribusiness Consortium; to offer end to end solutions to the farmers at one platform. The management structure of this startup is divided into various verticals, managed by respective division heads and the Founder manages & handholds the operations of overall group.
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: India is basically an agro-economy based country and about 65% population is engaged in agriculture. In spite of such a huge participation, this sector has not seen any technological development as such. Farmers are working in a completely unorganized market and get exploited by a long chain of middlemen. They don’t have any easy access to agri-science advisory, knowledge support etc. Their input costs are very high whereas they don’t get even minimum reasonable prices for their output. They are just surviving…… There is no organized platform for them where they can do “agribusiness”, regularly.
The story behind our Idea:
Shiv Kumar is a farmer from Durg district in Chhattisgarh State. He has 12 acres of farm land. In spite of all Govt. help, was taking only one paddy crop and earning just about Rs. 3 lacs annually. Now, with our professional support, he is farming round the year, taking eight different crops and earning Rs. 12 lacs annually.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
- We are providing end to end integrated agro farming solutions, where the customer (farmer) gets all the expert services & solutions at one platform.
- Through our integrated farming solutions, our customers (farmers) can increase their annual profitability to a great extent.
Why do you choose crowdfunding?
Ans: I think crowdfunding is the best medium to connect with the common customers, who not only support us with financial contributions but also become brand ambassadors of our startup. This is an encouragement & belief in our idea by huge volume of individuals.
Why should anyone or investor back you?
Ans: We have taken an initiative to redefine the traditional agriculture system into a profitable business model. We need support to transform this initiative into a big business opportunity for everyone participating in it.
Where can people back your project?
Ans: At this very moment, people can back us at www.catapooolt.com/dhavalas. However, later on they all can join our hands at their respective locations.
What would you do after raising funds?
Ans: We are desperate to make it on the field with a grand commercial launch across 4 – 5 states. Already there are 500+ farmers awaiting us for our services in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: We are eliminating the middlemen and providing a single channel to the farmers for all backward & forward integration. Our revenue model is based on 3 points:
- Fees for various consulting & knowledge support services to farmers
- Sale of farm capital goods and agri consumables to farmers
- Sale of agri/crop produce to wholesale corporate buyers
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Ans: Initially we are targeting the well to do farmers, at various district levels, who are having more than 10 acres of land. We want to proceed with these “progressive mindset type farmers” at various districts across many states. They can take on this as a full-time business with guaranteed annual profitability. This will not only change the farmers’ livelihood but also provide huge business opportunity to all the other vendors & service providers associate with us.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Agriculture is the Future. Rural development is the next big business. To cater the Indian agriculture sector, our initiative is very very small. Through this project, we see a huge business opportunity, employment generation potential with balanced growth across all states in India.
In next two years, we are expecting to serve just 0.04% of target market and we would comfortably cross $1 billion annual turnover. Hope, we can very well serve at least 1% of the targeted farmer customers of India in next few years.
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
Ans: In last few years, we have faced all possible types of challenges. Everyday cash crunch, regular exit of good team members, strong & continuous criticism from near & dears, sarcastic social neglect, and many more “I survived for today” type of situations. But, the best thing is….. I have learned so many management lessons which are not taught in any of the management schools across the world.
I am happy that we have undergone all the “risk taking stages” by investing our own money, time & energy. Now absolutely fit to conquer the world.
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
Ans: We would be happy to welcome many more new startups in this agriculture sector. This joint initiative can certainly bring agro-economic growth in India.
Thanks Mr. Dhavala. Best of luck!