IF B2B Supply Chain Dinner

Nao Murakami
3 min readFeb 24, 2021

We, Incubate Fund India, has been continuously investing in B2B supply-chain startups in various industries in India, which includes ShopKirana, CaptainFresh, Saveo, Kobzo, and GourmetGarden.

Founders of CaptainFresh, Saveo, and GourmetGarden

Now we have more than 5 supply chain related startups in our portfolio so we felt it is a good time to create a closed group of like minded founders to share ideas, seek supports, or just exchange some casual notes.

To begin with, we had a small dinner with those founders (we missed ShopKirana and Kobzo… next time!).

Below are a couple of points we discussed at the dinner and also on Whatsapp group thereafter.

  1. Margin Optimization

For almost all the supply chain related startups, how to optimize their margin structure and how quickly reaching to operational breakeven at least in one city (or one unit) is the biggest milestone. There are basically 2 things which they need to improve; gross margin and cost optimization. Both are equally important and there are tons of things to do. In the reality, how much % of gross margin each startups can earn is heavily depending on which industries they are in. However, still there are a lot of things which in common to improve GM, such as way of thinkings on product mix, category mix, order volume, supplier selection, etc. For cost optimization, there are so many things in common. How to minimize the operation cost such as hub operation model, delivery+logistics model, tech usage, area expansion strategy, etc. We believe everyone learnt and will keep learning each other to become the category leaders of their own industries.

2. Hiring

Hiring is another common issues for almost all the fast growing startups. Especially in B2B supply chain startups, usually founders are coming from business background and focusing heavily on operation side. Thus, tech hiring tends to be a bit weak. However, tech is always a key to bring an efficiency in operation so we should build a strong in-house tech team. Saveo is one of the exception since they have a very strong tech-talent as a co-founder. So, actually we have learnt a lot from Saveo team on hiring; from what kind of platform or agencies they use to how to use PR for hiring. After the dinner, a couple of introduction of potential candidates are already happening in the group. We are currently thinking to create a common database for these startups to share some candidates who can potentially fit to other portfolio startups.

3. Tech

As I already mentioned, we believe tech is very important for B2B supply-chain startups to bring the efficiency on their operation. So, learning each other on tech usage is always a good thing. What kind of tech stack they built, which parts of those were done in-house and which parts were outsourced, at which scale they built what, etc. ShopKirana has built everything in-house beautifully and that is one of the reason why they reached operational breakeven in multiple matured cities (Since they are in very thin margin FMCG segment, it is very much remarkable). When we invested in ShopKirana at seed stage, three co-founders are not from tech background and there were no in-house tech team. From there, they started hiring and now there is a 35 men strong team based in Indore. We can learn so many things from such front-runners for sure.

We feel this type of small group discussion is more engaging and working very well. So we may keep continue doing such a small gathering. We may start creating such groups for other industries/business models and also for various corporate functions such as a group for CTOs, HRs, etc.

Onwards and upwards!