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back2basics aims to provide only the best high-grade farm fresh produce to consumers, and promote healthy living across India

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“As Chief Farmer of the company, I aim to provide only the best high-grade farm fresh produce to consumers, and promote healthy living across India”, S Madhusudhan, Chief Farmer, back2basics
S Madhusudhan, Chief Farmer, back2basics
ST Bureau: When did you decide to take
the path of ‘entrepreneurship’ as your career? Do you remember any special
incident?

S
Madhusudhan:
Prior to
embarking on my entrepreneurial journey, I had a flourishing career in the
advertising and marketing field for over two decades. However, following a
health scare, I was forced to stop and re-evaluate my fast-paced lifestyle that
was taking a toll on my overall well-being. On my doctor’s suggestion, I
decided to give up my lucrative, yet hectic lifestyle, and began to pursue my
hobbies in gardening and organic farming. After almost 4 years of research on
this segment, I resolved to make the most of my passion, and founded
back2basics farm. As Chief Farmer of the company, I aim to provide only the
best high-grade farm fresh produce to consumers, and promote healthy living across
India.

ST Bureau: Can you briefly tell us
more about your startup?

S
Madhusudhan:

back2basics is a Bengaluru based organic farming startup that provides
farm-fresh produce to customers. We grow
high-quality organic, zero-pesticide, and chemical-free produce in almost 200
acres of land around many pockets of rural Bengaluru.
We currently produce over 90 local and
exotic varieties of fruits, vegetables and greens, grown using world-class
techniques and chemical-free inputs. Our objective is to encourage healthy eating
among consumers and provide the best of chemical free organic produce, direct
from our farm to the consumer’s doorstep. We currently supply our produce to
reputed grocery chains, retailers, organic stores and gated communities in
Bangalore, our headquarters. Our produce is also exported to organic chains and
retailers in other parts of the world. We have also introduced a unique concept
of experiential farming for our consumers to come see high-quality organic
production for themselves, learn about the inputs we use and even pick their
own produce. Our experiential farm is the first of its kind in India, and has
been designed with the notion that ultimately “seeing is believing.” No other
producer/aggregator/retailer in the country today can offer this level of
transparency and trust to their consumers.

We have witnessed phenomenal response
in our B2C initiative, despite little or no marketing from our side and are
pleased to share that 89% of our consumers are repeat customers. We offer home
delivery to various areas all over Bangalore, to ensure that more customers are
able to get farm-fresh produce, at their doorstep, direct from the source, at a
reasonable price point.

Our key differentiator lies in our
business model. Unlike many others in our category, we do not do any type of
contract farming, nor do we buy and sell our produce. We have direct control
over all our farmland, as this helps us guarantee quality and consistency.

However, we do conduct free workshops
for many farmers who cultivate in the land surrounding each of our properties.
Through these workshops, we hope to educate the farmers about efficient and
zero-waste farming, and even convince them to convert to organic production
methods. Most landowners and farmers are also willing to give their
landholdings, to us, at very reasonable lease rentals because of the way we
enrich/maintain our farms. This becomes an attractive option for us while
scaling up. 

ST Bureau: How big is your team at
present? Are you planning to increase your team size?

S
Madhusudhan:
We
currently employ 450+ labourers in our farms, and have a small but dedicated
corporate team.

ST Bureau: Did you get any funding for
your startup? Are you planning to attract funding in the near future?

S
Madhusudhan:
 We are currently bootstrapped. However, we are
always open to have meaningful conversations with like-minded individuals,
identify potential areas for collaboration, and form mutually beneficial
relationships with potential investors.

ST Bureau: What challenges do you face
in your daily professional life?

S
Madhusudhan:
 Few of the challenges would be:
o  
Farming
organically on an industrial scale is difficult
o  
There
are many conflicting ideas of what organic means, and most retailers do not
bother to educate the layman consumer
o  Operational
and logistics challenges – but we have already put modalities in place to
ensure that we are able to meet consumer demand


  
ST Bureau: How do you see yourself in
next 2 years from now?

S
Madhusudhan:
 At the moment, we are working on developing
the scalability and efficiency options of our organic business, and are
focusing on introducing the concept of zero-waste farming in the country. In
the next 2 years, we hope to create greater awareness about organic farming by
expanding our reach in various other cities and states in India.

ST Bureau: What are your hobbies in
your personal life? Which is your favorite holiday destination?

S
Madhusudhan:
 During my spare time, I enjoy spending time
with my family and pets (I am the proud pet parent of 3 dogs, 4 cats and 35
birds!). I also love to travel and have a passion for extreme sports. Some
favorite holiday destinations are Cambodia, South Africa, and Kenya.

Interviewed by Startup Terminal Bureau

TECHXLR8 Asia