Uberization of Rural India
Since I came back to India in 2006, I have loved travelling to rural India, both as an entrepreneur and as a VC. The challenges and opportunities the rural India has, are unique and can largely be addressed by technology interventions which is great news as technology is apolitical and unbiased.
While travelling, you realize the diversity of Indian culture and a large spread of villages dotting the country from east to west and north to south. The disaggregated nature of life in villages offers a unique opportunity to uberize lots of assets in rural India. The biggest benefit of uberization is that it allows you to control the disaggregated supply and connect that supply to disaggregated demand through a technology driven platform in real time and without really owning the supply.
There are three primary opportunities that exist in rural India today:
1. Uberization of Handlooms: There are more than 2.3 million Handlooms in India and close to 10 million artisans involved in those handlooms. The demand side market of Handlooms is urban India and international markets. The biggest benefit of handlooms is that it allows a customer to get a custom design done on a saree or bed sheets or curtains. This design need of customer and the fact that handlooms are disaggregated creates an opportunity to create a platform which connects buyers, weavers and handloom owners to create an ecosystem where the buyer can choose to block a handloom, a weaver and choose a design to get a perfectly woven saree at their doorstep in Canada or Chennai. This will also ensure that handloom utilization goes up which can ensure a weaver charging even lesser for woven saree which is great for consumers.
2. Uberization of Farming Equipment: Lot of farmers in India do not have money to own farming equipments like tractor etc. As tractor is used for a small duration of whole farming lifecycle, otherwise it is lying idle. There is a potential opportunity to create a mobile app which can help a farmer lease out its farming equipment to someone who needs it in real time so that his asset is utilized more and he gets higher income.
3. Uberization of Farming Labour: While sowing, harvesting and irrigating, lot of farmers need help for their day to day activities. While the need is local, farming labour can exist in closer towns and other villages. A farmer can use a mobile app to post his/her requirement with wage offers and a farming labour can register to offer his/her services with desired wages. This can help connect the farming labour market in real time where the demand and supply can be matched which otherwise is not concentrated. This can help in reverse migration of people back to villages from smaller towns and even cities.
While there are multiple opportunities lying in rural India which can only be uncovered through observation and by being in villages, uberization philosophy can definitely help in analyzing lot of those. Only Technology can leap frog societies like us which are otherwise infested by political, caste and religious biases which hamper growth.
Let’s help rural India through relevant technology interventions. Lets uberize rural India!