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BY Srinivas Lingamuthu

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Everything started way back in 2014, when I was heading the business development team for Samsung enterprise mobility. My counterpart for Samsung Consumer Electronics and friend Gaurav Ahlawat and I started the MFI cross-sell business for Samsung.

The stratagem was to involve selling Samsung products, electronics and consumer durables, on easy weekly instalments to members of various microfinance companies. The business beat all forecasts and it grew to contribute almost 40% of Samsung’s entire business.

So initially, the cross-sell business consisted of getting orders from the MFIs and delivering the items to their branches. Eventually due to regulatory issues, the deliveries were shifted from branches to the customer’s doorstep. This opened up a huge logistical Pandora’s Box for everyone. That became a sort of eureka moment for us.

In our effort to step out of our comfort zone, Gaurav and I started working on a concept of not only reaching the far-flung hinterlands but also providing services that match those offered to urban customers. Armed with research from our travels across the country, in November 2017, Gaurav and I took the plunge and started 72 Networks.

Gaurav and I, as co-founders, took the leap of faith and established 72 Networks with the help of a third founder, Gagan Chadha, who has a keen eye on identifying successful business opportunities. We also got on board some of our friends who managed the supply chain and logistics for large consumer durables companies. We created 72 Networks with a vision of delivering not only consumer durables, but lifestyle aspirations to the rural populace in the hinterlands of the country.

The first six months mostly involved building and establishing the infrastructure capacity and initial team. What began with a single warehouse and single State eventually grew and expanded to 14 States and 46 warehouses.

Our industrious team also expanded from three people to more than 300 employees till now. We not only deliver products across the most remote parts of India but also strive to generate employment in these areas. Over 300 bikers in the hinterlands of the country are a part of the 72 Networks family. Higher paying jobs ensure a more stable income for the community, and in turn a better quality of life.

We have grown on the technology front as well. We use a fully tech-enabled last mile delivery platform with AI and ML as the essence of our tech infrastructure. To date, our company has delivered more than 2.5 lakh individual units in over 12,000 pincodes and are counting every minute.

They say appreciation gives motivation and 72 Networks won back-to-back awards, such as The Best Emerging Partner award in 2019 from Samsung. These awards and recognition motivate not just me but the whole family of 72 Networks to work harder and perform better. I hope you enjoyed my entrepreneurial journey so far.

I assure you there is a lot more to come! I just want to tell anyone who is reading this to remember to take the initiative, surround yourself with positivity and get the ball rolling. There is no bad time to do good things. Make things happen. Mistakes are made, doors are opened, and lessons are learnt.
Every moment is worth it!

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