India’s long and soaring voyage of startups is nothing new to the eyes and ears of ordinary citizens, the business news reports, and the venture capitalists, located both in India and abroad. But, among all the success stories we have heard from Flipkart to Snapdeal to Ola, none have heard of startups that are truly working hard to bring about a change in India’s most rural areas and to solve a very common problem that we all face.
Founders: Vishnu Raghunathan & S Deepak Kumar
Location: North-East Bihar, India
The newly founded company, Lytyfy is making waves in rural parts of India, such as North-East Bihar, where they are selling off-the-grid solar home systems to help low and mid-level income consumers to buy products with flexible financing options.
The idea for offering product financing came when the founders started working for the state government of Bihar on a World Bank Project between 2013-2015 at Purnea, a small village in the North-Eastern corridor of Bihar.
For some time, they offered solar power to the nearby villages for basic means such as lighting and mobile charging, but sadly, it did not translate well into sales.
The duo then observed that the energy-starved households of Bihar spend a remarkable amount of $600 million annually, for lighting which goes towards buying harmful sources like kerosene and lanterns.
They sat down with the government to come up with a credit financing scheme after seeing the potential for such a setup. Today, the small company earns by charging a low rate of interest, 2% per month for four months, after accepting 40% down payment for the product.
The team has a current distribution of 150 loans in Bihar via an online crowdfunding platform created for retail investors who want to invest in small-scale solar projects. They are also trying to tie up with NBFCs for financing future products, such as a mobile phone. Right now, the loan book of Lytyfy shows around 4.5 lakhs but wants to reach 400 customers with a loan book of 1.5 crores in the coming year.
The credit assessment of Lytyfy’s customers is conducted through parameters like average household expenditure, children’s education costs, revenues from farming, and other self-help groups. The startup is a part of the accelerator program in Axilor which has two notable Indian founders, Kris Gopalakrishnan, and SD Shibulal of Infosys.
The CEO of Axilor Ventures praises the startup quite highly and said that the founders bring significant practical experience and have made good progress during the 100-day accelerator program conducted by Axilor.
Founders: Abhilash Narahari, Palkush Chawla & Aditi Rohan
Ever wanted to pick a dress from someone else’s wardrobe? Now you can do that with Elanic’s mobile app platform for people who wish to sell their clothes online.
The functionality of the app is pretty easy, click a picture of the product and put a price tag on it to list it on the platform. Once someone shows an interest in the product and makes a purchase, Elanic will pick up the product and deliver it to the buyer at their doorstep.
The company founded in November 2015 has more than 2 lakh listings on the platform with over 3.5 lakh downloads.
Elanic is creating a new wave in the sea of e-commerce in India. It has raised funding of an undisclosed amount from BEENEXT, Rebright Partners, Anupam Mittal, Tracxn Labs and Aneesh Reddy.
The co-founder Narahari said that the team believes in the scope of growth in existing markets, and will be creating enough awareness for the need to reuse clothing across all major cities in India and has quite ambitious plans for the upcoming year.
Currently, the company is concentrating on women’s clothing, since the platform was created mainly for women, but also encourages men to sell their unworn clothes using the mobile app.
Traditionally, unworn clothing in India is given away to people living Below Poverty Line, such as maids, security guards, cleaners, and others who gladly accept clothes for their families or resell it to other markets.
Although many e-commerce and mobile payment companies which continue to be on the rise in India, there are a few such as Elanic and Lytyfy who are genuinely trying to bring change to the Indian outlook towards reusability of clothing items and bringing power by harnessing solar power, respectively.
Hopefully, these two will bring about some change and inspire new startup founders to actually serve the people in a smarter way.