After launching CropConnect in 2013, Mehta and Jhajharia traversed the country, meeting and talking with farmers—70,000 km across 20 states. “The aim was to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers,” explains Mehta. In 2015, they launched Original Indian Table, an e-commerce platform for their products. Today, they have a total of 100 products which includes black rice from Manipur, black peas from Ladakh, and bamboo rice. Jhajharia says that their biggest customers are hotels and restaurants, including Hyatt, ITC, Olive, Bombay Canteen, and Kala Ghoda Café. Revenues have been increasing rapidly, he adds. “Quarter-on-quarter we are seeing revenues growing by about 50% to 100%.” CropConnect is entirely self-funded. Jhajharia says they wanted to establish the business model before approaching funders. “Our cash position is quite comfortable at the moment. But by mid-2017, we should start the funding process,” he says.
Puneet J & Ishira Mehta: Bridging the gap between farmers and consumers