If you surf regularly for food-related content on YouTube, chances are you might have heard of Otipy, an agritech startup that is operated by Crofam, said to be India’s first community group buying platform for fresh produce. Aiming to make fresh farm products freely available, the company is helmed by Varun Khurana, its founder. Basically, Otipy connects end consumers to farmers through a community of resellers who handle the last-mile delivery of fresh produce.
The Gurugram-based Crofarm started out via a B2B model in 2016 to improve the supply chain for fresh fruits and vegetables, and pivoted to a B2B2C model (Otipy) in 2020, seeking to ensure that farm produce reaches consumers within 12 hours of harvest, with its freshness being preserved. “Procuring fruits and vegetables directly from farmers, we take the help of local community leaders, who work with us as delivery partners/ resellers, to offer doorstep delivery to consumers,” says Khurana.
In a timespan of two years, Otipy claims to have become the largest online seller of fruits and vegetables in Delhi-NCR. “Thanks to the advanced technology we use for procurement, distribution and delivery, we have been able to decrease food wastage in the supply chain from 40% to just 3%,” says Khurana, a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast who has long been involved with the empowerment of farmers.
“While working with organisations in the past, I became aware of flaws in the system which needed to be rectified. Besides, because of gaps in the supply chain, vegetables and fruits, which have a shelf life of a few days, suffered a lot of wastage. The desire to find a solution to the problem led to the launch of Otipy,” he explains.
Otipy continued to provide its services even at the onset of Covid-19, when the country was under a lockdown. “As no one was allowed to step out of their homes, our resellers took up the responsibility of delivering essentials to consumers,” he says. Starting with only fruits and vegetables category, the company has expanded its portfolio to include 1,300+ products across categories, he points out.
Otipy has gone through two rounds of funding so far. In Series A, it raised $10.2 mn from SIG in July 2021, and in Series B, $32 mn from Westbridge Capital in March 2022. “We are very close to locking in Series C funding,” says Khurana.
The company has established a strong base in Delhi/NCR and also entered markets like Sonipat and Meerut. “We are also foraying into West India by launching Otipy in Thane and neighbouring areas. We will be covering more cities and towns in North India and expanding our product portfolio by adding new products and categories,” he says.
Tech makes all the difference
A computer science graduate from IIT-Delhi, Khurana listed the key factors that are helping Otipy achieve its goals.
Prediction technology: Demand varying in average value from day to day often leads to massive wastage, as also a stockout in some instances. “We use ML algorithms and business intelligence from stakeholders and SMEs to understand these variations. This allows us to forecast demand with up to 95% accuracy, ensuring customers get fresh products without a cost burden on the company,” he says.
Warehouse: Otipy’s warehouse is fully technology-powered, enabling it to go through quality checks, picking, and packaging and dispatch goods in just 4-6 hours.
Automated packaging machine: It helps Otipy achieve one-touch packaging of products, enhancing hygiene levels. The machine ensures 96% precision on weight.
Community leaders: The leaders are empowered with tools in their app to design, deliver and maintain an efficient delivery system. They can track consumer requests and ensure end-to-end consumer experience management.