The company is growing its business at a rate of 700 per cent annually and offers its services in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, which is in profit, says MyPterol Co-Founder Ashish Gupta.
In an interview with NFAPost, Gupta spoke his heart out touching upon the genesis of the company and its growth and revenue model.
Here are the excerpts from the interview –
Q: Tell us everything about your startup, what does it do? What were the challenges of setting up and scale? How did you overcome them? Where are you based out of and when did you start?
Gupta: MyPetrolPump provides “On demand fuel delivery service” to businesses for backup generators, fleet vehicles and industrial machinery use.
On demand fuel delivery service means – providing fuel through vehicles, which technically are called mobile refuellers.
Developing these refuellers was a challenge. In a sense, it should be safe to be driven on Indian roads, hight and width should be such that it can have access to all possible roads, basement parking etc and should carry enough fuel to serve at least 20-100 customers.
MyPetrolPump spent about a year to develop such refuellers. We bootstrapped the initial R&D work from our lifetime savings and we also got government funding to further develop and bring product into the market.
Parallelly, we built mobile apps for customers to place orders, monitor the delivery, make payments and analyse and to manage their requirements.
The biggest challenge we faced was adoption of the service by consumers, since it was new and when our sale and marketing team approached customers in early days they thought We would deliver fuel in barrels or jerrycans. That’s why we spent upon lots effort to educate the consumers that we deliver via safe and secure refuellers.
We had to develop a mobile refueling system that is faster, economic and time saving for consumers.
The refueller delivers 60 liters per minute, while fuel stations deliver at 10 liters per minute. Imagine delivery to a fleet company with 20 buses with tank size of 300 liters. Here we are talking about filling each bus in 5 mins as compare to 30 mins at fuel stations, imagine 20 buses, we saved 10 hours filling time.
Mobile refueling solves problems like wasting productive time at fuel stations to fill fuel; fuel pilferage by drivers colluding with fuel station operators; fuel wasted in transit to fuel stations; extra staff needed for accounting of expenses.
Q: How did you come up with the idea and what was the Eureka moment?
Gupta: It started when I was working for Shell, a global oil and gas leader. I was posted in Gabon, when the idea of MyPetrolPump dawned on me. I lived in a small island that had a measly population of 5,000, with only one fuel station in service.
Every weekend, people would drive down 25 kilometres, cross a jetty, and queue up several hours to get their vehicles refueled. I would envision a day when fuel stations could just come home and allow people to be lazy on a weekend.
This was early 2016, and I went on to quit Shell in April 2016 and returned to India and spent the next 6 months researching gas stations, fuel delivery, and the entire oil and gas logistics ecosystem here.
I discovered, India with just 60,000 fuel stations across the country and 200 million vehicles on the road, India is running short of one lakh fuel stations to fulfill the demand of fuel consumption conveniently.
Therefore, we see long queues of vehicles at fuel stations, However, to add one lakh new fuel stations across India is near to impossibility due to problems such as unavailability of land in urban areas and skyrocketing land price if available.
The only practical and economically efficient way to solve such a dire scenario is to stop building fixed fuel stations and adopt a totally new approach, the way MyPetrolPump has adopted.
By June 2016, I met my co-founder and techie Nabin Roy (ex-Infosys). We both pooled in Rs 1 crore each to set the ball rolling. One year of R&D, testing, pilots, and some government grants (Rs 20 lakhs), we launched commercial operations in September 2017.
Q: How did you build the core team? How did you meet and how did everyone align to the idea? What is the total team size?
Gupta: I met Nabin in some tech seminar when he was running a startup company called Sayfix (this company provides on demand water tank cleaning service for residential and commercial complexes).
I knew his cofounder from my IIT alumni network. Nabin loved the idea and would share the same business vision with me and later joined me as full-time co-founder. We built the team and product from there on. Today we have 53 employees – about ten in tech, 12 in operations and about 20 in sales and marketing. Rest are HR, finance etc.
We have built a very smart team and folks from all possible diverse backgrounds, IITs, IIMs, NITs and other regional engineering and business colleges etc.
Q: What has been revenue, traction and growth from the date of inception till now?
Gupta: The firm currently delivers over 3 million litres of diesel every month to over 100 fleet companies such as SRS travels, National travels, Drivezy, Lets transport, Orange Cargo, Amazon Prime, Big Basket, ID fresh etc and to over 3000 residential and commercial complexes such as Sobha, Prestige, Mantri, Wipro tech park, Infosys techpark, Oyo rooms, Hilton, Manipal hospital, Indus towers for their generator use.
The company is growing its business at a rate of 700 per cent annually and offers its services in three cities in India – Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, and is operationally profitable.
Q: What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and what’s your revenue model? Who are your key clients? How much do you charge them?
Gupta: From competitive edge standpoint, MyPetrolPump is already a brand that symbolizes safe and professional doorstep fuel delivery service
in India and the only founder team in India that has been able to gain confidence of institutional investors for building large-scale business.
The firm also is well-connected in the fuel commerce ecosystem, not only in India, but also globally. We have backing of many policy influencers because of our authoritative knowledge and experience in this space.
Talking about the revenue model, we partner with oil companies to source fuel for delivery. IOCL, HPCL, BPCL, ESSAR and Shell are our partners.
We charge a nominal delivery fee to our customers at rate of Rs 1 per litre. If customer takes delivery of 200 liters, we charge Rs 200.