Shark Tank fame Nawgati: Revolutionising fuel station experience
In 2019, three passionate entrepreneurs launched a start-up to revolutionise fuel stations with technology. Their mission: bridge the gap between customer needs and business goals through strategic innovations and collaborations.
Neil Banerjee October 17, 2023
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In the fast-paced world of start-ups, where innovation reigns supreme, Nawgati has emerged as a beacon of transformation in an often-downplayed industry – the fuel station. Founded by a trio of first-time entrepreneurs, Vaibhav Kaushik, Aalaap Nair, and Aryan Sisodia, Nawgati has set out to revolutionise the process of the refuelling of vehicles. In an exclusive interaction with Vaibhav Kaushik, the Co-Founder & CEO of Nawgati, we delve into the inspiring journey of this remarkable start-up.
A vision born in college
“Our dream was simple, to create something of our own,” says Vaibhav. It all began when these young innovators were still in college. Vaibhav, in particular, was perturbed by the sight of long queues at fuelling stations during his internship commute between Noida and his home. It was during a casual conversation with a cab driver that the spark for Nawgati was ignited in his mind. The driver lamented about the time wasted in these queues and the lost opportunity to earn more.
This encounter sowed the seed of a revolutionary idea – to leverage technology to streamline the chaotic fuel station experience, benefiting both consumers and providers. While they weren’t fuel industry experts, their passion for practical solutions for real-world problems led them to embark on this transformative journey.
Nawgati’s fuelling revolution
Nawgati is on a mission to redefine the fuel station experience. Their platform offers a suite of services designed to transform the way fuel stations operate, benefiting both consumers and providers.
They aim to minimise customer frustration while providing real-time monitoring capabilities that help manage station assets and congestion effectively. Its B2B platform ‘Aaveg’ offers congestion monitoring for fuel stations, while their app provides users with simple navigation.
“The primary goal of Nawgati is to optimise the fuelling process for end consumers by navigating them to the nearest fuel station with a shorter serve time for a hassle-free experience,” Vaibhav points out.
Their commitment to streamlining operations extends to rapid onboarding of gas stations, showcasing scalability in asset management and cost reduction. Moreover, Nawgati aims to expand its services to various fuel outlets, such as electric vehicle charging stations, to enhance efficiency and alleviate road congestion.
As far as the company’s revenue model is concerned, it generates revenue through licensing or subscription fees.
They also provide gas stations and fuel providers with access to their innovative platform and its various services. Users can also opt for the premium features of their platform. Their collaborations with fuel stations also lead to revenue-sharing arrangements. If its expansion into electric vehicle charging stations materialises, Nawgati could explore revenue streams related to charging services or partnerships with electric vehicle manufacturers.
Shark Tank India: A game-changing moment
The turning point for Nawgati came with their appearance on Shark Tank India Season 2. “Appearing on Shark Tank India Season 2 has been a game-changer for us,” Vaibhav reveals.
The exposure brought them into the limelight, propelling them forward on their entrepreneurial journey. They witnessed a significant surge in the downloads of their Nawgati fuel discovery app on both iOS and Android platforms, an increase in inquiries from petrol pumps and gas stations, and heightened brand visibility.
The backing of investors like Aman Gupta and Amit Jain further validated their vision. Vaibhav emphasises that this support added incredible value to their platform and provided them with the essential guidance for scaling their operations, fine-tuning their technology, and expanding their reach.
Nawgati’s journey is not just about innovation but also about strategic collaborations. The start-up has garnered support from notable entities such as the Department of Science and Technology, MapMyIndia, and the Ministry of Information and Technology.
“We started Nawgati in 2019, and ever since, we have worked hard to gather support and recognition from prominent institutions,” Vaibhav asserts.
Nawgati’s initial incubation by BITS Pilani’s Pilani Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Society (PIEDS) paved the way for investments from MeitY Start-up Hub Tide 2.0, powered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. They also secured funds through the NIDHI Seed Support Scheme of the Department of Science and Technology. More recently, MapmyIndia provided them with seed capital and supported Nawgati with map API solutions through Mappls, their comprehensive mapping and location suite.
A successful pilot project with Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL)
Nawgati’s effectiveness is best illustrated by its successful pilot project with Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL). Vaibhav reveals, “Nawgati is working on a commercial order with IGL. While working on a pilot for one year, which eventually turned into a commercial order, we monitored the real-time problems and workflows of gas stations.”
This project allowed them to demonstrate their efficiency in managing assets, monitoring real-time congestion, directing customers, optimising transit, minimising wait times, and reducing costs at scale. Nawgati’s solutions have not only started conversations with major gas companies but are already live with IGL, IOCL, MGL, HPCL, Sabarmati Gas, Gujarat Gas, Torrent Gas, and petrol pump dealers across India.
Ambitious expansion plans
Nawgati’s ambitions extend far beyond its current footprint. They aim to onboard 15,000 fuelling outlets within two years. However, this expansion comes with its own set of challenges. Vaibhav acknowledges, “We are confident in our in-house technology, but regional challenges like compliance management and resistance to technology can hinder adoption.”
To overcome these hurdles, Nawgati plans to tailor its solutions to meet regional requirements, collaborate with local stakeholders, leverage scalable technology, and adapt to market dynamics. The unique plug-and-play feature of their technology allows for quick onboarding, making it ready for use in less than 24 hours.
Contributing to sustainable energy and smart transportation
Nawgati’s long-term vision extends beyond mere convenience. Vaibhav underlines, “The primary goal of Nawgati is to optimise the fuelling process for end consumers.” This optimisation not only saves fuel and time but also promotes smarter choices, contributing to sustainability.
Their audience primarily comprises of CNG gas vehicle users and stations, but they plan to expand their services to include petrol and diesel pumps and electric vehicle charging stations. This move aims to minimise wait times, enhance efficiency, and manage road congestion while fostering sustainability.
Navigating challenges and staying ahead of the curve
The path of entrepreneurship is rarely a straight line, and Nawgati is no exception. Vaibhav asserts, “We had strong faith in our technology and believed it would solve the problem of fuelling stations.” While start-ups often encounter pivots and shifts, Nawgati’s journey saw only a few soft pivots that improved their technology.
Their pilot project with IGL and other gas agencies provided them with essential feedback, refining and fine-tuning their solutions.
In the ever-evolving tech landscape, staying ahead of the curve is essential. And Nawgati is keenly aware of this challenge. Kaushik emphasises that their in-house technology provides them with the agility to adapt to changing consumer behaviour and industry trends. Their complete control over their technology allows them to make swift adjustments when required.
With scalability, adaptability, and agility at its core, Nawgati is poised to provide cutting-edge solutions as the fuel industry and consumer behaviours continue to evolve.
A note for aspiring founders
Finally, as a seasoned entrepreneur in the tech space, Vaibhav offers some sage advice for aspiring founders. He stresses the importance of building products that one is passionate about and emphasises the need to deeply understand the problems that one aims to solve.
“If you are able to take this first step successfully, then all you need is to bring together a team which shares your passion and vigour to transform your idea into reality,” he advices.
He also encourages founders to seek mentorship and guidance, highlighting the significance of consistency and determination in pursuing one’s ideas, even when faced with challenges. “If the problem is genuine, you can make it big,” Vaibhav contends as he signs off.