With an aim to bridge the rural-urban divide, a Telangana based businessman Vamsi Udayagiri has started a venture called 'Hesa' that connects Bharat with India phygitally, (physical+digital). The startup is one destination for all rural problems, bridging the gap between rural and urban India by leveraging technology and the workforce. Hesa Global enables technology in rural India for both customers, and the brands from buying, selling, promoting, delivering, all rolled into one platform.
"Be it agriculture, employment, education, or healthcare, Hesa is an amalgamation of all these experiences and connections," Co-Founder and CEO Hesa, Vamsi Udayagiri believes.
Founded in July 2019, the startup has so far reached over 7 lakh, rural consumers, in 5000 villages in 11 districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It provides access, enablement, rural employment leading to empowerment while earning goodwill and profits for the investors, partners, and themselves. The company partners with any brand looking out to promote and/or sell their products or services (including banking and financial services) in rural markets and also connects rural entrepreneurs including farmers to sell their products in the market. Hesa connects both ends and enables buying and selling with almost 'doorstep access'.
The startup operates with a physical network of Village Level Micro-Entrepreneurs, called "Hesaathis", spread across villages connected through their Tech platform. Hesaathi is building a network and establishing smooth communication among both parties.
Connecting Rural India With Larger Economy
With its unit economic model, Hesa is connecting rural India with a larger economy generating employment as a rural livelihood. It is currently operating in 11 districts in India, with a presence in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and more than 7000 "Hesaathis", where over 30% are women. In addition, it has successfully catered to more than 6 lakh customers with 40 brands on Hesa's platform in a short span of 1 year.
"It is an on-ground, resident village level consultant and partner ("saathi") with digital prowess who is approachable at all times and has a range of solutions for multiple challenges of rural customers," Vamsi Udayagiri told The Logical Indian.
In March 2021, Hesa emerged as 1 of the 2 Winners among 200+ startups across the country in the "Road to Elevate Competition" by IIT Madras' Entrepreneurship Cell. In February 2021, Hesa was recognised as one of the Top 5 Startups amongst 1000+ Startups in India and five other countries at the Innopreneurs Startup Contest.
Empowering Rural Lives
Hesa has been proactively instrumental amidst the Covid crisis with various initiatives empowering rural lives and raised $2mn funding in seed sound. To amplify and maximise their impact, they have recently partnered with other social tech startups.
"It is a social business leveraging technology in the lives of rural customers connecting brands with increased accessibility, quality, and service," Vamsi Udayagiri said.
THub recently shortlisted the venture for their Flagship Accelerator program Lab 32, which will provide unique opportunities to work closely with the Telangana government on some of their key initiatives. Besides, it is also certified as one of the select few social startups under Govt of Telangana's TSIC (Telangana State Innovation Cell) under their Social Impact Bootcamp 2020.
Hesa's collaboration with Govt of Telangana's Stree Nidhi, which has over 1 million women on board, is helping rural women groups in digital repayment of microfinance loans.
"The digital transactions are enabled right in their villages by Village Level Entrepreneur, the "Hesaathi", logging into the Hesa Technology platform. Hence, this comes without the additional hassle of spending time to travel to nearby banks or standing in queues. It is a win-win for the initiative and the women members of these SHGs," said Vamsi Udayagiri.
Through its Hesaathi network, Hesa is creating awareness about innovative Agri-based tools and techniques by connecting the farming community in Telangana with Husqvarna Group's farming equipment division. Its partnership with Krishitantra spread across 500 locations of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is enabling 50,000 farmers in accessing Soil Testing Services.
"Hesaathis powered by Gramcover's InsureTech Platform are assisting in de-risking rural India by enabling insurance distribution in their respective villages in Telangana," Vamsi Udayagiri said.
Besides being the last mile rural connector for all the 33 districts of Telangana, Hesa has a strong presence in Adilabad, Nirmal, Nizamabad, Mancherial, Karimnagar, Warangal Urban, Gadwal, Mahabubnagar and Sricilla. The startup is also planning to extend its branches to the rest of India, including north India.