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If Musk goes to Mars, we’ll deliver diesel there too, says Ratan Tata-backed startup founder

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  • The start-up supplies diesel to SMEs at their doorstep for a minimum order of 100 liters – and can be ordered via an app.
  • It received pre-Series A funding of $7.5 million and aims to raise ₹300 crore (about $37.5 million) in Series A this year.
  • It was recently launched Pay reposan energy fintech platform that will facilitate fuel-on-credit solutions for large consumers.

When 25-year-old Aditi Bhosale Walunj and her husband Chetan Walunj took over their family business, a petrol pump in Pune – they only did one thing – they called small businesses that bought diesel on loan and were paid on a 15-day cycle on the best.

Still, they kept the credit business going because it’s important and continued to supply fuel to businesses and one day in 2016 there was a power outage and they were still supplying diesel to an IT company. At the same time, Aditi, who had ordered a book she booked on an e-commerce website and had it delivered, received a text message at the same time.

A revelation struck and she wondered why diesel cannot be delivered to the end customer. A few months later they pitched this idea to none other than Ratan Tata and after receiving his blessings, he went to Delhi to get the necessary licenses for it – to create the first e-commerce-like fuel delivery system.

“India runs on diesel,” Aditi says, and much of the 7.71 million tons consumed per day runs on credit. The startup designed vehicles that would deliver diesel to micro, small and medium-sized consumers, with a minimum order of 100 liters – and that can be ordered via an app and delivered on a specific date.

An Amazon/Flipkart-esque model

Currently, IoT-enabled mobile fuel pumps deliver to 220 cities and get their fuel from gas pumps or even fuel marketing companies such as BPCL, Indian Oil and HPCL. Industrial sales have always been a very small part of oil marketing companies’ operations and of course they don’t use an app.

The vehicles are also being offered to interested people on a franchise basis and they use their strong background in last mile delivery to also earn commissions while sending them to customers.

The company, which was launched until last month, received a pre-series A fund of $7.5 million and also aims to raise ₹300 crore (about $37.5 million) in Series A this year.

As a business, they sell about 60-70 kiloliters of diesel every month and also generated ₹63 crore in revenue this year. “We don’t burn anything,” she says of how they target industries such as hospitality, construction and one of their successful projects was to cater to the mining sector in Bangalore.

“Even if Musk want to go to Mars, we will also supply him with diesel there”, says a confident Aditi. However, most of its consumers have a problem that the world’s richest man never has to deal with: lack of money.

BNPL Diesel Sales Model

To remedy this, the company recently launched Repos Pay, an energy fintech platform that will facilitate fuel-on-credit solutions for large consumers. It has already signed MoUs with Axis Bank, mCapital and ICICI Bank as financial partners.

“Even when we had a physical gas station, we had become collection agents as most bulk customers bought on credit. And because of their economic situation, they could not pay in advance and the pumps had to bear the burden of the interest. So, with the help of banks, I started offering a BNPL (buy now and pay later) model to MSMEs,” Aditi told India.

The credit business is not just another cog in its wheel – it hopes this model will allow them to grow their revenues five times – because they believe there is so much appetite for credit in this business.

“While mobile energy distribution has an impressive growth story, for most investors there is virtually no access to viable investment opportunities in this sector. We, as an aggregator, want to solve this problem by reducing the ticket size for investments,” said Chetan Walunj, founder and CEO of Repos.

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