How to Start a Business

Meet Jumbotail: Indian Startup with over $160M Investment and 50,000 Clients in 9 Years

Jinsoo Choi
April 19, 2024

Indian Startup with over $160M Investment and 50,000 Clients in 9 Years

Jumbotail is an India-based B2B commerce startup founded in 2015. The company serves over 50,000 clients and has achieved a total investment of $160.4 million. The Indian startup is looking forward to being fully profitable by the end of this year. Jumbotail raised investment even during COVID-19 when global competitors like Flipkart and Amazon had to undergo significant layoffs.

Jumbotail’s key client is Kirana, a local supermarket that sells daily goods. Despite its small scale, Kirana plays a significant role in India’s economy. It occupies 75%—78 % of the nation’s logistics channel. More than 20 million Kiranas are taking charge of 90% of the country's fast-moving consumer goods(FMCG) transactions. 

(Source : Jumbotail)
(Source : Jumbotail News Room)

Jumbotail’s core service is an all-in-one management system for Kirana owners. Users can control product availability, stock, margin, and delivery status. The company also provides diverse support, including educating Kirana owners and familiarizing them with mobile technologies.

So, how did Jumbotail discover rocket growth opportunities in daily mom-and-pop stores? How did the startup define market problems and design solutions?

Seven Years of Finding the ‘Real’ Trouble

Jumbotail results from the founders' seven-year struggle to renovate the nation’s supply chain. Karthik Venkateswaran, a military veteran serving over 10 years, discovered that local farmers have zero access to demand-side data.

Ashish Jhina, who participated in a three-generation long apple farming, found the same issue. They tried to solve the problem independently by aggregating suppliers and directly connecting them to consumers in 2009. However, the ‘real’ problem was the fragmented demand.

“The supply side wasn’t the right starting point, though many people were working on aggregating farmers. Because once you have aggregated supply, you are desperate to sell it. The Indian demand is so fragmented that more than 90 percent flows through approximately 10 million neighborhood stores.” - Karthik Venkateswaran, Forbes India Interview, Oct. 2019

(Refer to : Jumbotail: The shop for shopkeepers)

Jumbotail — Reaction
(Source : Jumbotail)

After several years of deep-diving in the logistics industry, the duo defined three critical market problems:

  • The flow of information (product selection, quality, pricing, etc.).
  • The flow of physical goods.
  • The flow of money.

All three elements were fragmented, leading to unnecessary inefficiency and inconvenience for suppliers and consumers. Based on their experience and the rise of mobile services, the duo launched Jumbotail as a mobile app in 2015.

Four Years of Turning Customers’ Needs into Product

Although the convenience of Jumbotail was noteworthy to Kirana owners, they were reluctant to use the service for several reasons. First, the concept of mobile applications was not as widespread as today. Second, the price for data was quite a burden for the startup’s customers. Lastly, they were already doing business with existing wholesalers with no significant issues.

The Jumbotail team resolved these obstacles step by step.

The company offered 24~48 hour delivery if stores purchased products directly through the app. They also updated the mobile service to be compatible with low-end 2G/3G connections. The startup even provided mobile data vouchers so customers could use the app without worrying about charges. The founders of Jumbotail stressed that “doing things right for customers” was crucial at the time.

"Jumbotail added value in our life" - Voice of customers  |  Bangalore
“We never wanted to build a business based on a sales force running around. Our hypothesis was, we will take less business if we have to, but we will take it in the right way.” - Ashish Jhina, Forbes India Interview, Oct. 2019

(Source : Jumbotail)

Based on a customer-centric mindset and relentless execution, Jumbotail continued to grow.

The Indian startup now provides fulfillment services, from product procurement to stocking and warehousing, via its “Goldeneye” POS system. The app also acts as a hands-on supply center with over 3,500 varieties of products. The company even provides a monthly transportation lease to those with problems establishing a supply chain. 

People DO Recognize the Genuineness of Entrepreneurs

Jumbotail’s goal is straightforward: streamlining the nation’s daily product supply chain. The startup sees Kiranas as not just regular mom-and-pop stores but small-sized entrepreneurs. That is why the company is aggressively investing in AI: to provide a more convenient supply managing experience. 

(Source : 24 Store)

The Indian corporation also operates the J24 program, a long-term project connecting existing Kiranas to Jumbotail’s supply network. Since the COVID-19 season, J24 has been playing as a digital store manager for Kirana owners. Efforts like these were possible based on the founders’ persistence in their initial values: provide what is necessary for their customers.

The brand motto of Jumbotail is “Jai jawaan, Jai kisaan, Jai dukaan,” meaning “hail the soldiers, hail the farmers, hail the shops.” Jumbtoail founders learned from their previous failures, specifically identified market problems to solve, and constantly upgraded their products based on the voices of their customers. Jumbotail’s case shows three key points:

  • A close, accurate look at the market is critical for a good start.
  • Understanding customer needs and applying them to the solution is a must.
  • Remembering why you started your entrepreneurial journey and staying true to the motto is visible to customers. 

Written by Jinsoo Choi


*Read the full story and case study of Asia startup founder and their action on building a real business

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Jinsoo Choi
I am a freelance editor with an exceptional interest in branding, fashion, marketing, the media industry, and cultural events. I'm also capable of deep-diving areas with zero experience, interviewing people with a focus on an individual's genuine passion and story. I aim to become an editor who can provide insights for South Korean and international readers.