Neetu Yadav, an IITian, landed at the Jaipur airport from Bangalore in the early days of September. It was raining, and thoughts were also showering on Neetu's mind who had just quit her job at online storytelling platform titled Pratilipi—her second job in four years. She then moved to Nawalpura, her hometown in Rajasthan. She was continuously thinking how she would tell all this to her parents.
At the same time, another IITian, Kirti Jangra, Hisar, just got admission into an American University for higher studies. Her parents had arranged a party for her, all her relatives paid a visit as she was going to America. The festive mood in her house suddenly turned stormy. She drank a large glass of buttermilk and said, “I am quitting my job.” The family members cheered and hugged her. A small-town girl from Haryana was about to leave for the US to pursue MBA. The second part of the confession, though, stunned everybody when she said, “I am not going to the US and I have decided to sell cows”. Her father looked at her and said, “Is this why you went to IIT-Delhi? Why did you study so much if you had to turn into a cattle trader?”
Meanwhile in Nawalpura, at Neetu’s house, the ambience was also not nice as she told her father that “I want to sell buffaloes,” Her father, Shri Yadav, who himself runs a dairy, was overcome by surprise and asked in an aggressive tone, “You want to sell buffaloes”? Her father’s reaction was justified as he went against wishes of everybody in his village and community to send his daughter to Kota to prepare for engineering.
Yadavji even sold his cattle to pay her daughter’s astronomical fees. And now, after working for four years, she too wanted to sell cattle, and that too online.
Pursuing their Dreams
Neetu and Kirti, who were roommates at the hostel of IIT-Delhi in Hauz Khas, had developed a strong bonding and decided to live their dream the difficult way. “If one wants to buy earphones, there are over a dozen brands to choose from. But if you want to buy a cow or a buffalo, what options do you have?” Neetu asks matter of factly. Neetu Yadav and Kirti Jangra, along with their two colleagues at Pratilipi, rolled out Animall App—an online marketplace for cattle—in November 2019. They started their operations from a small rented room in Bengaluru.
Not a Cakewalk
The beginning was not easy. The idea was not only disruptive but also looked ridiculous to all. “Internet pe bhainse kaisey bikegi (how can buffaloes get sold on the internet)?” was the question posed by all the girls. Undeterred, the girls put their blinkers on and hustled. “Dimaag ghas charne gaya hai tum logon ka (you guys have gone nuts),” was the widespread jibe at the village.
After three months in December, Rampal, a school dropout in Nawalpura, managed to do something incredible. The 16-year-old teenybopper managed to do something incredible. She sold three cows in less than 24 hours. However, what made the task sweet was his father, a farmer, struggled for over a month to find buyers for his cattle. “Ye app nahin, aandolan hai (this is not an app, it’s a revolution,” he remarked.
A month later, in January 2020, Neetu’s father got a set of inquisitive buyers. They wanted to buy his buffaloes after getting hold of the listing on the app. He, though, didn't crack the deal. He wanted to do something before selling. He dialled her daughter’s number and thanked her. “Am glad I backed you. Bhains bik gaye (buffaloes got sold),” he said with pride.
The beginning was not easy. The idea was not only disruptive but also looked ridiculous to all. "Internet pe bhains kaisey bikegi (how can buffaloes get sold on the internet)?" was the question posed by all the girls. Undeterred, the girls put blinkers on and hustled
Neetu knew it was not only the buffaloes that got sold. Animall’s story was set to find a larger audience. In the same month, they raised pre-seed funding of Rs 50 lakh from Anupam Mittal and a few friends of the co-founders. Three months later, the seed funding of Rs 5.75 crore came from institutional investors such as Singapore-based BeeNext and Mumbai-headquartered WEH Ventures.
“There are 30 crore cattles in the country and 7.5 crore dairy farmers. It is the largest market in India. Many people think that they can't trade these things on online platforms. This is because these are bought and sold in the traditional markets,” says Neetu Yadav.
However, the success journey has not been easy. In 2019, only 50 cattle had been sold through the app. But when the lockdown was enforced in 2020 due to COVID-19, the app gained momentum and trading was done on a regular basis. It has also been developed in 8 languages for the convenience of farmers.
Since then, animal activities have spread to other villages of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. In November 2020, 30,000 cattle had been traded; in December, the number rose to 40,000. In 2021, an average of 50,000 cattle per month have either been sold or bought by the Animal app. So far, 80 lakh farmers have downloaded the ‘Animall’ app.
‘Investors have come forward to fund us so far. So far, we have received huge funds from them, says Kirti Jangra.
The Animall app has had a good response in the Northern Indian States of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. The two brains has given birth to a new kind of business.