JAMMU: For a state that is still reeling under political instability, and poor internet connectivity, even the thought of a tech-based innovation seems like a distant dream.
But there are some brave enough to step up in times of adversity and build an opportunity for the masses. One such name is Jibran Gulzar, the founder of the valley's fastest-growing food and grocery delivery firm, Gatoes.
Within the first seven months of operation, Gatoes has reportedly clocked over a million dollars in total turnover, and that too, while being completely bootstrapped. Gatoes is undoubtedly the biggest startup coming out of Jammu and Kashmir, onboarding over 1450+ merchant partners to date.
"When we first set out to create Gatoes, there were several issues affecting us. The possibility of starting out seemed bleak due to an unfavourable tech-ecosystem of the state. The disruptive political nature of the area and lack of high-speed internet were major obstacles. We only had a 2G network available which was a big setback. I spoke to several big network providers but these discussions failed to produce any viable solution. We fought against all odds to make Gatoes operational under 2G connectivity. While we initially were apprehensive regarding people's readiness to use this technology, the launch was successful. In only seven months we have clocked over 2,50,000+ deliveries," said Jibran Gulzar, Founder of Gatoes.
"Even with fundamental problem statements like lack of high-speed internet and low technological adoption, we have delivered over 2.5 lakh orders in the valley alone. We offer our customers a lower price and faster delivery against competitors, and this is probably the reason for our rapid expansion in Tier 2 cities like Srinagar, Jammu, Ladakh, Baderwah and Udhampur," he added.
The startup has also started expansion to other states, pan-India, including Punjab, Haryana, and more, which places it into the exclusive league of a select few Jammu and Kashmir-based startups to expand their operations nationwide. The Gatoes team is currently working towards reducing their last-mile grocery delivery time to under 30 minutes, by leveraging tech advancements.
"We have overcome many challenges - from political, to infrastructure-related issues like internet and technology adoption. And exclusively because of our customer-centric approach, we scaled beyond Kashmir in less than 6 months, clocking over a million dollars in revenue," Tofail Akram, Chief Operating Officer, Gatoes said.
Commenting on expansion plans, Gulzar added, "Now that we have successfully established ourselves in Kashmir and its surrounding states, we are headed towards expanding across the nation. We are working on improving our technology to provide quality deliveries nationwide. We also expect to employ more youth as our delivery partners. Unemployment has been a major issue plaguing Kashmir. Through Gatoes, we have lent a hand in combating this by hiring hundreds of people. We aim to continue doing this and expect to employ over 5,000 individuals in Kashmir by 2022."