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Monday, May 27, 2024

Rags to riches journey of Prasanna Kumar who built Rs80cr Vilcart for rural grocery store owners

Prasanna Kumar launched Vilcart to serve grocery store owners in rural areas. Vilcart now clocks a turnover of Rs. 80. crore.

Prasanna Kumar, the creator of Vilcart, was born into a rural agrarian family with limited means in K Shettahalli hamlet in Karnataka’s Mandya region.

Vilcart is a Bengaluru-based firm with a three-year history of working with rural kirana retailers.

The company provides everything a kirana store owner needs, including atta, sooji, rice, sanitary pads, mosquito repellents, and biscuits.

He went on to become a chartered accountant after attending government schools, where he studied Kannada until Class 10.

He had his own accounting practise for roughly ten years.

He founded Vilcart in 2018 and closed his accounting firm the following year.

Vilcart, which employs 85 people and has a revenue of Rs 80 crore, has expanded into 18 districts in Karnataka and one each in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in just three years.

“We service approximately 30,000 kirana owners, covering nearly 4,000 villages,” says Prasanna Kumar.

Vilcart operates warehouses in each of the 20 districts where it operates, with each warehouse covering a radius of approximately 40 kilometres.

Despite the fact that Vilcart offers an app, just 7% of consumers use it.

During his undergraduate days, Prasanna Kumar was inspired to start Vilcart after witnessing the experiences of kirana shop owners.

Prasanna buys things directly from factories and repackages them in smaller bags for kirana proprietors.

In addition, the company has established its own line of spices, dishwashing liquid (Glin), detergent cake and powder (Aramane), and notebooks (brand name White Hills).

Vilcart has recognised and solved an issue that rural kirana store owners experience in obtaining materials.

He attended a government school in his village till Class six, then transferred to a residential school in Mysuru called Jawahar Navodaya Vidhayala, which is run by the Indian government to help talented kids in rural areas.

Prasanna Kumar qualified as a chartered accountant in 2009 and was offered a job at an MNC with a salary of Rs 7 lakh per year, but he left after five months and launched his own CA practise out of a rented 200-square-foot space in Bengaluru.

He put Rs 1.5 lakh into the business and furnished the office with used furnishings.

He began with just one employee, but by the time he chose to close the office in 2019 to focus on Vilcart, the company had grown to 22 people in a 2000-square-foot space.

As he began looking for business ideas, he was reminded of the hardships faced by kirana proprietors in rural areas, whom he used to see on his daily commute of 20 kilometres from his village to his college in Mysuru.

He saw a commercial potential in the scenario and founded Vilcart Solutions Pvt Ltd in 2017 after conducting preliminary study into the project’s viability.

“We reached out to kirana proprietors in villages,” he explains.

He put Rs 80 lakh into the business from the start.

The company has raised roughly Rs 9 crore from angel investors thus far, which it has utilised to expand.

Vilcart is aiming to close at Rs 400 crore this fiscal year, and Prasanna Kumar is pleased with how things have turned out.


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