These IIT graduates built a tech-enabled egg farming company, now sell 4M eggs a month
Abhishek Negi, Uttam Kumar, Aditya Singh, and Pankaj Pandey had settled into their professional lives after graduating from IIT-Kharagpur.
However, around 2017, they decided to revisit their dream of pursuing entrepreneurship, which they had often discussed in their hostel and corridors of the IIT campus.
They found their calling in the age-old dilemma, “Which came first: chicken, or the egg?” They dug up the archives of the Indian poultry market and saw a clear demand and supply gap.
“At that time, about 70 percent of the production was happening in the southern part of the country, and more than 65 percent of the consumption was happening in north India,” Abhishek Negi tells SMBStory.
In fact, there were other factors too — a low protein index, unhygienic practices of producing eggs, and lack of formal players in the market.
This compelled Abhishek to partner with his IIT friends — Uttam, Aditya, and Pankaj — to dive into the fragmented egg farming sector and launch Eggoz in 2017.
After spending a full year doing research, figuring out the operation, and business model, in 2018, the co-founders set up their poultry farm in Bihar.
They infused money from personal savings and raised seed funding from Tracxn Labs and angel investors, including Narendra Sankar, Sunil Mishra, and a few others, to continue with their business.
Today, Eggoz manufactures and sells brown, white, and Nutra eggs. The cost of these eggs start from Rs 75 for 330 grams and go up to Rs 400 for 1.65 kg.
The company claims to have clocked Rs 7.6 crore revenue in FY20 and Rs 12 crore in FY21.
Providing livelihood to about 58 percent of people in India, the agricultural sector is one of the highest contributors to employment generation in the country.
However, traditional conservative approaches and lack of innovation have, over the years, slowed down the sector from growing at a faster pace.
This is where new-age businesses like Eggoz, Ninjacart, DeHaat, Bijak, and Samunnati enable the ecosystem with technology and help uplift it.
In fact, according to FNB News, the overall agritech industry witnessed revenue growth of 85 percent during FY19-FY20.
And, for Eggoz, leveraging technology is the “core of its business.” Abhishek says, “We wanted to build an asset-light model from the beginning, and we realised we need to monitor and control everything happening at the farmer’s end to get the desired quality.”
The company built a simple, easy-to-use, and vernacular app for the farmers, which helps them enter data related to their farms. The app also helps farmers to interact with doctors and get guidance on chicks that are sick or infected.
Eggoz also installed IoT devices in the fields, which are used for measuring several parameters, including humidity, temperature, ammonia concentration, and more.
“Real-time visibility of environmental parameters is very important when it comes to creating an impact in getting quality input,” Abhishek says.
Speaking on how technology has made operations seamless, he emphasises, “When the farmer is productive, his chicks, too, will be healthy. Additionally, the shell and yolk would be thick and proper nutrition can be imparted.”
He claims that Eggoz has helped in increasing the farmers’ income by 50 percent and rising.
Once the eggs are ready, they are UV sanitised in the units, packed, stamped, and sent for selling. The logistics are tracked end-to-end by the in-house software, which has enabled the Eggoz to track the movement of every egg at every stage and even trace the chick that produces it.
Today, the company is selling about four million eggs every month through 3,000 retail touchpoints.
Abhishek says putting together this complex system was not easy for the company. One of the biggest challenges was venturing into unfamiliar territory.
Abhishek shares that all of them shifted to Bihar and started working from scratch. “We did not know the industry!” he exclaims.
From deploying chickens to convincing farmers to work with a small company, which was unknown or unheard of, to the stage of selling the eggs in the market — the four co-founders worked industriously on everything.
In fact, the farmers and the co-founders panicked when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020. Additionally, the supply chain disruption, news around the spread of the virus, and the bird flu incident added to the existing woes of the company.
However, being with the farmers and reassuring them in these difficult times helped Eggoz ride over the crisis.
Advancing with D2C model
Eggoz joined the bandwagon of online selling like several other businesses amidst the pandemic. It even launched its website as part of the direct-to-consumer (D2C) business to deliver eggs at the doorstep of its customers.
While Abhishek declined to share the number of orders Eggoz has serviced to date, he says the company runs a subscription-based model.
Going forward, Eggoz — which is operating in Allahabad, Madhya Pradesh, Indore, Bhopal, Delhi-NCR, and several other northern regions of India — wants to establish its presence nationwide using offline and online channels.
The brand is targeting revenue worth Rs 25 crore for FY22, and Abhishek adds that the D2C business will play a role in helping the company accomplish the same.