Meet the Woman Entrepreneur Behind Rural Phygital Commerce Platform Hesa

Hema Nandiraju, along with her husband Vamsi Udayagiri, started Hesa Technologies to bridge the rural-urban gap. They are trying to give rural business owners access to digital platforms.

For the past ten years, Hema Nandiraju has been creating a rural connection in Telangana by managing rural events, training and development. So she was excited when her husband Vamsi Udaygiri decided to start Hesa Technologies – a physical + digital (phygital) platform that bridges the rural-urban gap by providing access, enablement, and employment options to people residing in rural India. This was a perfect opportunity to showcase her skills.

Hema was also not new to entrepreneurship. She had earlier founded two other digital platforms named Rural Yellow and Pakka Hyderabad. Rural Yellow was built in 2012 and was an employment portal for rural youth.

Hesa claims to use a robust supply chain and consumer-friendly API (application programming interface) which helps in creating business opportunities in rural areas. The company currently operates across Telangana and is rapidly scaling in Maharashtra, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu as well.

Hesa has grown from around Rs 3 crore in revenue in 2020 to Rs 32.9 crores in 2021. It has faced challenges in setting up the platform and building a certain trust level among its target audience. Hema says that penetrating rural areas and bringing a tech-enabled platform there has been a consistent struggle.

Presently, Hesa works with 30,000 micro-entrepreneurs called Hesaathi on their platform spread across 50,000 villages. “Convincing rural audiences to trust a digital platform for their business needs is nowhere an easy task because the majority of the population is not tech-savvy. It is difficult to find people with the right skill set that we desire. Our business model requires FOs to find village-level entrepreneurs to tackle this gap and reach the target of onboarding Hesaathis which also becomes a challenge,” Hema says.

They decided to launch the Hesa app earlier than planned during the Pandemic. With technology integrated interventions, their model became a hit and they were able to help people with door-step access to products and services during the pandemic.

Hesa has received a Rs 4,50,000 grant from NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) to up-skill Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Odisha to increase women’s participation at work with digital and financial awareness. They plan to go pan-India in the future.

Credits: HerStory

Read the full story here.

-Staff Reporter

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