Four years ago, Pune based energy entrepreneurs Chetan Walunj and Aditi Bhosale Walunj took a mission to find the solution of a problem- to organise the existing fuel delivery system to make it more efficient through the help of technology. The mission gave birth to ‘Repose Energy’- a B2B platform that facilitates doorstep delivery of fuel through AI-enabled mobile fuel stations. Today, in a short span of time, the energy start-up is redefining the energy distribution in India.
In an exclusive conversation with ‘BiznextIndia’ Aditi Bhosale Walunj, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer shared the company’s journey so far and future growth plans.
Q : How did the idea come to your mind to start Repos Energy?
There was a growing need for the emergence of an e-commerce model in the energy and fuel industry. One fine day when all other services were shut due to a blackout in the city, e-commerce and doorstep delivery services were still on the run. This was the “Eureka’ moment and with the concept in place everything else worked out step by step. The main aim so far is to help industries procure fuel reliably and easily, and address global challenges like reducing harmful carbon footprints, saving energy, increasing efficiency, and organizing energy distribution.
Q : How did you materialize the idea to build a successful company?
The word Repos comes from being Relentlessly Positive. We do not believe in building an organization but an organism. All our employees undergo training and we ensure their potential and possibilities are used to the best level in our organization. We have no monitoring or reporting system, every employee knows their duty and he himself strives to bring out the best in the company. We welcome new joinees with open arms and extend a warm farewell to those who have worked with us and are fondly remembered. Every employee’s contribution is valued here and this is the biggest success story of Repos from a journey of having just two people at work to more than 200 people under the company today.
Q : What are the challenges you faced during the initial days? What are the challenges you face currently?
We had a great idea but nobody believed in it. Doorstep diesel delivery was considered an impossible task and involved changes in the policies and approvals of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister and the Petroleum Minister. In came Mr. Ratan Tata and he was our knight in shining armor and the answer to all our problems, and most importantly, he believed in us when nobody did. We had only one vision, to bring a change in India which would be looked and followed upon by the world.
It is however not easy, with increasing demands and price rise in fuels, and the importance of conserving and utilizing energy sources in a judicious manner, our challenges are endless. But we are taking small steps to overcome these problems and we hope we are able to make a difference for a better tomorrow as we work really hard in building a world class fuel distribution service system, that prevents pilferage, spillage and ensures and monitors the quantity and quality of fuel being delivered and also has a break interlock system ensuring on the safety aspect as well. Technology and e-commerce can work wonders for any business, and the future of all coming businesses as well will be driven through technology online.
Q : How was your first meeting with Mr. Ratan Tata?
Our first meeting with Mr. Ratan Tata sir was supposed to be only for 15 minutes but it went on for four whole hours when he wanted to know our vision towards bringing a change in India. He guided us on how to go about what we thought and showed us the loopholes and how we can overcome the same, and it is through his guidance and mentorship today we are where we are today.
Q : How many Mobile Fuel Pumps (MFP) your company is currently operating with? How many new MFPs are you planning to add in FY 2022-23?
Currently 1000+ MFPs are operational across India, in addition to that we have bookings of around 1000 MFPs. We are planning to add 4500+ MFPs in FY2022-23.
Q : From which sectors your clients are from? Any Agricultural clients?
We have clients from Transportation, Mining, Fuel Retail, Hospitality, Infrastructure and Industrial sectors. Yes, we do have agricultural clients although the number is comparatively small. We supplied fuel to the agricultural sector during Covid-19 lockdown.
Q : The Defence sector is a large consumer of Diesel. Do you have any clients from this sector? If not, any plans to extend your service to this sector?
In the past we have supplied MFPs to BRO (Border Roads Organisation) which is a military arm responsible for developing border infrastructure. We have also supplied MFPs to UN peacekeeping forces.
In future we plan on catering to this sector in a big way with our expanded product and services offerings.
Q : What are your future plans? Any plans to go for an IPO?
Currently we are in the process of raising funds for our series A round, IPO is a bridge bit far as of now.
Q : Do you think the current exorbitant hike in oil prices affect fuel demand in the country?
Yes, high fuel prices certainly affect the fuel demand, but the impact is negligible. Fuel is the blood that keeps the nation running. We do not have a substitute for it. Fuel demand in India is only going to grow from here, no matter whether the prices are high or low.