With the idea of bridging the gap between urban and rural India, some tech-enabled startups have emerged as catalysts to provide similar services that a person gets in a city.
The startups entered the rural markets and provided the rural business and population with resources like networking, access to advanced technologies, expanding their businesses in their respective sectors, and showcasing their talents. These startups connect the rural markets with the domestic and international markets and businesses by clicking them with advanced solutions and services.
While there is a long way to go, here are the top rural tech startups that are promising better livelihood opportunities in rural India.
Hesa is a unified social, digital and physical (phygital) commerce platform enabling digital transactions of products and services in rural India. Headquartered in Telangana, Hesa with an integrated B2B marketplace enables buying and selling various services and products with almost ‘doorstep access’ with a network of 30,000 village network entrepreneurs serving more than 700,000 customers in a short span of one year.
Hesa has partnered with more than 65 brands. The startup also serves as a teleconsultation platform, to redefine how rural Indians are served their healthcare needs, by providing doorstep medical services. Trust, relationships, and physical interactions still drive the company. But without a digital interface, the potential is largely untapped. They are changing that by offering every business access to its targeted rural population through their three-tiered social, digital, and physical platform.
Lal10 is a technology-led B2B wholesale e-commerce company for Indian artisans to sell their products in international markets. They are making a revolution by exposing the rural MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector of India by digitising them and bringing in their sustainable products globally. Lal10’s current model of operations is borrowed from ITC’s e-Choupal programme, through which the company directly connects with the farmers in rural India to procure agri and aquaculture produce.
The startup has onboarded over 2,200 MSMEs on its platform to enable local artisans to showcase their talents and learn advanced technologies. It is also backing MSMEs to build digitised web stores, which as a result, will help them to expand their businesses in domestic and international markets with affordable sourcing, customisation, and a wide assortment of sustainable products.
The Bengaluru-based startup, GoCoop is an online marketplace to connect artisans, weavers, and cooperatives with potential buyers. It helps handloom and handicraft workers and artisans easily market their products online. It’s a medium to enable rural people to reduce costs with increased efficiency. The idea was to support the local artisans and labourers who find it challenging to get direct access to the customers.
GoCoop serves the retail and wholesale purchase of authentic Indian handloom and handicraft products for domestic and international consumers. It analyses the loopholes in the market and delivers transparent business solutions.
Udaan, a network-centric B2B trade platform, is an invention specifically for small and medium businesses in rural India. It is a medium to connect traders, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and brands across the country onto a single platform. The idea behind Udaan is to build one single platform that allows its customers to buy and sell products and grow the network for their future businesses.
The network-centric e-commerce platform helps businesses by selling over 5 lakh products across various categories and makes them accessible to retailers. The startup gripped the country as it solved the major trade problems for businesses of all scales. Udaan enabled its users with advanced yet easy-to-use online solutions that helped them grow their respective businesses in a short time.
Founded by IIT Kharagpur and IIM Allahabad alumni-Tauseef, Nishant and Harshit, Gramophone is a platform that provides a data-driven, science-guided, tech platform for farmers and enables them to generate higher profits from their land. Providing a mix of online and offline support, the company also has raised US$10 million funding in Oct 2021 through stakeholders in the agriculture supply chain. Gramophone is currently operating in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and is planning to expand into other states. Gramophone has made a prominent place among the group agri startups.
Operating in the border districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Rozgar Dhaba, is a platform to bridge the information gap which leads to unemployment in India, especially in rural areas. It provides information on local jobs, government schemes, health schemes, and options for livelihood and reduces the chances of forced migration and unemployment. It collects data from local employers and job seekers for local jobs and displays the gathered information. Rozgar Dhaba acts as a medium to connect migrant workers and farmers to the opportunities available for livelihood. The startup also empowers women by planning to recruit them and organise workshops in villages, specifically focusing on livelihood opportunities available to them.
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