It’s 1am and Ashish Gupta’s workday is nowhere near over. He’s taking a breather with a phone interview with me. It’s been just a few days since he did a soft launch of his startup and his phone is ringing constantly.
What’s his business? Doorstep delivery of diesel. Meet MyPetrolpump, the latest startup grabbing public attention in the bustling Bengaluru metropolis, where driving 5km in peak traffic can routinely take over an hour.
MyPetrolpump, Ashish Gupta’s diesel delivery service, has become such a hit that he’s getting about 3,000 calls a day and is having to decline most orders… The company currently offers only diesel — it will soon offer petrol
The service, the brainchild of Gupta, an IIT Dhanbad grad (batch of 2007), has become such a hit that he’s getting about 3,000 calls a day and is having to decline most orders. All this by word of mouth — an image of a MyPetrolPump delivery SUV was widely shared on Facebook and WhatsApp — before the startup launches its app.
The appeal of the service lies in its simplicity and the “why didn’t someone think of this earlier” wonder. Gupta describes ANB Fuels Pvt Ltd, as his company is called, as “the Swiggy or Foodpanda of fuel”. It works like this: place an order, the MyPetrolPump truck fills up fuel at a petrol station near your location, it arrives at your location, and your vehicle is fuelled up.
It works like this: place an order, the MyPetrolPump truck fills up fuel at a petrol station near your location, it arrives at your location, and your vehicle is fuelled up
The company currently offers only diesel — it will soon offer petrol. It received its first order from city school Sri Sai Vidya Mandira for 450 litres of diesel costing about Rs 26,000. MyPetrolPump charges a promotional Re 1 per delivery and currently asks for a minimum order of 20 litres.
Pradeep S, a head manager at Sri Sai Vidya Mandira, who first noticed a MyPetrolPump SUV parked in the school neighbourhood and contacted them, says the school is very happy with the service. Pradeep says the delivery service saved them both time and money. He says he’s open to using the service again in the future “if the service standards are maintained.”
Big ideas sometimes have mundane origins, Gupta, who worked for Royal Dutch Shell for nine years in countries as varied as Gabon and China, was filling petrol on a trip to China when the idea of home delivery of fuel struck him. It would save him the effort of going to a fuel station, waiting in a queue and filling his tank. That set in motion a process that eventually saw Gupta quitting his cushy job last year.
There have been a number of reports in India where petrol stations have cheated consumers by giving them less fuel through both crude and sophisticated methods. There is also an issue of quality of these centres with the Supreme Court urging the government last year to to check “rampant” adulteration at fuel pumps.
The “petrol pump on wheels” meets the prescribed safety standards, says Gupta. “For the last eight months, I have been working with stakeholders like the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation… we have the statutory requirements we need to deliver fuel to your doorstep,” he says, adding he got a positive response in a meeting with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his team from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
He is careful about choosing the fuel stations they tank up from. “While selecting the petrol pumps that we will use, we do our own verification in terms of fuel quality. We also check historical background via reports of malpractices by the petrol pumps,” Gupta says.
“For the last eight months, I have been working with all stakeholders like the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation… we have the statutory requirements we need to deliver fuel to your doorstep” — Ashish Gupta, founder, MyPetrolpump
He has his eyes on a diverse mix of customers, but the accent now is bulk buyers. Schools, apartment blocks, taxi fleet owners, heavy users of generators, among others.
Lowering pollution is on his list of benefits. Gupta, who has travelled to more than 30 countries, takes the example of fuel delivery to a school bus fleet. One MyPetrolPump fuel SUV — he calls it a mini refueller — can provide fuel to many buses in the fleet, saving them all a trip to a petrol station.
Much of the tech that you’d imagine in a doorstep fuel delivery service is in place: meters on vehicles, adulteration prevention in the refueller, micron-level particle filtration etc. The features will add to MyPetrolPump’s appeal when it scales up across India, Gupta feels. Currently, it delivers only in in some localities of Bengaluru.
He has his eyes on a diverse mix of customers, but the accent now is bulk buyers. Schools, apartment blocks, taxi fleet owners, heavy users of generators, among others
The company plans to launch its app next week. It will raise its first round of funding in three to six months, for which it is in talks with VCs, says Gupta. The startup is bootstrapped and would have spent about Rs 3 crore by then. Much of the current spending is on the delivery infrastructure. For instance, Each refueller — with a tank fitted on an SUV-sized vehicle — costs around Rs 18 lakh.
On the cards are promotions aimed at customer acquisition that is revenue positive to the company. For instance, if you take car insurance from an insurer MyPetroPump has a tie-up with, you will not be charged delivery charges for a year.
Gupta sees his venture expanding into delivery of compressed natural gas or even batteries for electric vehicles in future. “Someday, I may even have a similar service for ‘My Battery’… who knows,” he says, signing off on the late call. Sleep is still some time away.
Lead visual source: MyPetrolpump
Updated at 8.35am on June 23 to include a quote by Pradeep S.
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