A year ago, three techies—Laxminarayan Srinivasaiah, Anil Nadig and Srivatsa S Shandilya, all eager to do something for society—incubated a company, Jivabhumi, at IIM-Bangalore. And here they are successfully managing the front, bringing farmers and consumers on one online platform for easy exchange of natural food for money.
“Started as a pilot project in August 2015 and officially registered as a company in February 2016, Jivabhumi aims at making lives of farmers easier, and paving way for availability of naturally grown groceries to consumers,” says co-founder Srinivasaiah, 40.
The natural products, grown without use of any chemical fertilisers and pesticides, are delivered twice a month by the firm that is operational only in Bengaluru through its online portal www.jivabhumi.com.
“Though customers can place the order any time during the month, delivery of the order happens only twice a month,” he says. The orders are delivered at their community pick-up points in the city from where consumers take away their products.
Involved in procurement of the produce, Srinivasaiah has worked as a mechanical engineer with Bosch, SAP, for 16 years. He says, “We work as a team where one of us looks over sourcing of products; one does the marketing and the other works on technology for effective reach. Having worked in the supply chain area, I am trying to use my knowledge in making the supply chain efficient and environment-friendly.”
Srinivasaiah is now on a sabbatical from Jivabhumi and also learns how the crops are grown and harvested, during leisure time.
Working in proximity with consumers, co-founder Anil Nadig, 39, creates awareness among people on eating safe and nutrient-rich food. Nadig, who was with Infosys earlier, has worked in the US, Japan and the UK.
He says, “I was always passionate about social causes. And we feel contented when the technology we have learned is used for helping people.”
They met at the meet of garden city farmers’ movement—under which people grow food, especially vegetables, on their terraces or backyards—one-and-a-half years ago.
“We gelled well when we started rooftop gardening and this has become our life now,” says another co-founder, 39-year-old software engineer Srivatsa S Shandilya, who manages the online platform for the company and enables consumers to access the products.
They claim to believe in fair trade and the intention is to make sure the farmers get a sustainable livelihood. “Thus, by eliminating the middlemen, we provide a direct platform to the farmers to sell their produce. And we pay almost 60-70 per cent of the market price of a product to the farmer,” they add. With close linkages between farmers and consumers, the firm is proposing to create a ‘Base Fund’, where the profit earned will be kept, and used during calamities.
“Our next target is business-to-business (B2B) options like bulk selling to hotels, schools, restaurants, and hostels, and building the consumer base,” Shandilya says.
We believe in minimal packaging of products, and use cloth bags for packing.
They also plan to set up some storage and processing units, which they expect will result in job creation.