How Pwip is becoming the global networking platform for the rice trade ecosystem
Monday November 29, 2021,
5 min Read
Back in 2016, when Dhanraj Kidiyoor was involved in the trade of rice exports, he detected the exponential rise of issues related to visibility and connections which traders were facing both in the markets of India and abroad. This was particularly due to the lack of a transparent platform where traders could interact well, and also reach out to the global markets.
Bengaluru-basedFoodtech is rapidly claiming its progress as the one-in-all networking platform for rice millers, traders, wholesalers, and the entire gamut of individuals involved in the rice ecosystem.
“Last year Rs 70,000 crore worth of rice was exported out of India but a majority of importers didn't even know from which rice mill they arrived, who the mill owner is, at what conditions the rice was produced and packed, how the quality was at the time of packing, who visited the rice mill during packing, so on and so forth,” explains Dhanraj.
Strengthening the rice ecosystem
Pwip was born out of a personal need of the founder. “As a rice exporter, I had to keep a track of the latest rice prices to quote to my international customers. But if I called any agent/trader to ask prices, they wouldn’t entertain my calls beyond four-five times unless I gave them business. And thus, I converted this challenge into an opportunity,” he adds.
Pwip stands to partner with indigenous producers. “To bring transparency and digitise the rice trade ecosystem in the global market for the benefit of traders to build and grow beyond boundaries, we ensure end-to-end service for understanding who exactly is procuring from whom and the profile of each of these traders, to give them the rights for reaching out to potential buyers and sellers globally,” shares Dhanraj.
But how does Pwip reach out to millers, traders, exporters in India, and importers globally? “We have field executives who reach out to these millers, show them our service and pitch them to get on board with us. We are also following a similar onboarding process for exporters, importers, and millers of other countries in later stages. Right now we onboard these users online through marketing campaigns and executive calls, banking on direct and digital marketing,” he adds.
One-stop platform for rice trading
“Everyone in the rice trade ecosystem across the globe can find and reach out to each other, building a strong network of tradeline-focused individuals. Apart from networking, we are also enabling trade on our platform which helps these users place bulk orders with end-to-end transparency, including the value-added services like mill verification, quality check and assist in documentation process and supply chain support,” says Dhanraj.
Besides the usual trade and networking, Pwip also helps these individuals to learn about the trade through courses, campaigns, and knowledge transfer on social media platforms. “New entrants to the trade, who want to get a better understanding of the ecosystem or start their own rice business, can directly learn from our platform, without having to follow up with industry professionals,” adds Dhanraj.
How it works
Currently, an importer would have to reach out to an exporter for a particular rice trade, but with the involvement of middlemen. The agent tries to reach out to the exporter who might or might not be available, who in turn tries to contact his agents connected to the miller. By the time this entire flow of information occurs, a lot of time is wasted and the importer might have already lost his customer. Additionally, if an exporter or miller tries to reach out to each other through middlemen, there’s always a barrier of time, language, availability, etc.
Pwip helps a miller reach out directly to the customers like importers and exporters all over the world. As an exporter, he can find both the millers and importers for making the trade happen, giving him the best source of buyers. An importer needs to choose carefully which rice miller he wants to procure rice from, followed by finding the lowest prices and cheaper cost of a trade. It's almost a win-win situation for all the stakeholders who can save time and money or both.
“As an end-to-end networking and trading platform, we reduce the middlemen cost which in turn reduces the cost of trade,” clears Dhanraj.
Growth and revenue
Starting the company back in November 2019, Dhanraj feels that they have already reached milestones in terms of building trust and gaining users. “The average revenue from subscriptions in the last quarter has been Rs 1.2 lakh every month, forecasting an average growth rate of 27 percent. Our trade on the platform started in September 2021, where our number of monthly growth users is 2,000+ every month,” he says.
Having launched all its services on WhatsApp, Pwip has recorded more than 8,000+ users with around 900+ paid users of all the services. The agri-tech startup also has a strong social media presence with a following across platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook.
“Being a global platform for all the various rice trades is our first goal, and we want to solve this for rice, and all the other dry commodities. We want to make an efficient value chain for all the traders in this ecosystem capturing both domestic and international markets,” says Dhanraj while discussing the immediate goals. Even if the focus is on rice right now, future ventures might also foray into other commodities like spices, pulses, sugar, coffee, other dry commodities, etc.
“In the coming years, we will be having all the rice millers in India (1.3 lakh) on our platform followed by targeting five major countries which procure rice from India and onboard, including importers and exporters all over India and from these countries respectively,” he conjectures.