The Weekend Leader - Shashank Singh and Bhuvnesh Gupta's Poshn: Revolutionising Agritech

Friends with Farming Roots Launch Agritech Platform, Achieve Rs 510 Crore GMV in Three Years

Bilal Khan   |  


Vol 15 | Issue 1

Shashank Singh and Bhuvnesh Gupta, two friends with good connections in agriculture, had a clear understanding of the farming sector's challenges.

Driven by this knowledge, they launched Poshn, a digital platform in November 2020, aiming to streamline trading of agricultural products.

Shashank Singh (right) and Bhuvnesh Gupta launched Poshn in November 2020 (Photos: Special Arrangement)

Leaving behind successful corporate jobs, they focused on this venture which, within three years, reached a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of Rs 510 crore in the last financial year.

Their startup has eased the sales process for many farmers. "Farmers confront numerous challenges due to middlemen and complex procedures between processors and wholesalers,” observes Shashank.

“These intermediaries and extensive paperwork lead to delays and additional costs. Moreover, there's risk associated with payment settlements."

He explains that processors are entities that handle crops post-harvest, like turning harvested wheat into a marketable product before it reaches wholesalers.

"To simplify this entire chain, we created Poshn. Our platform effectively connects processors and wholesalers, enabling smooth and direct trade," Shashank elaborates.

Apart from making wholesale trading in food grains more efficient, Poshn also eases the financial burdens of processors and distributors.

"These agri processors and distributors, generally small and medium-sized businesses, often struggle with capital due to the slow trading process," Shashank points out.

Shashank believes Poshn has made wholesale trading in food grains more efficient

Poshn helps them by facilitating regular business and immediate payments upon delivery, thus resolving working capital issues.

Poshn stands as a one-stop destination for all bulk and wholesale agro commodity purchases. Currently, it focuses on two primary segments: groceries (like rice, flour, and edible oils) and liquid products, mainly loose milk.

Shashank describes the platform's functionality: "Our smartphone app allows buyers and sellers to place requests for buying and selling commodities. Poshn finds the best matches and handles everything from logistics to payments. Both buyers and sellers can track the entire process on the Poshn app."

Interestingly, their business model does not require warehouses. "We do not maintain a warehouse,” says Shashank. “Instead, we purchase commodities based on orders and then proceed with delivery. This approach allows us to operate without holding any inventory."

He strongly believes in the benefits Poshn offers to processors and wholesalers. “By cutting out middlemen, we eliminate additional costs, which means both sellers and buyers get the best prices for their commodities,” he explains.

Hailing from a family with strong agricultural ties from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, in, 33-year-old Shashank grew up in an environment where farming was often the subject of family discussions.

His father, a bank employee, also managed a large farm in Birampur village, roughly 20 km from Unnao town.

Shashank and his family frequently visited this village. "My childhood was filled with discussions about farming, and I have seen how it's done on our family farm, where we primarily grow wheat and rice. Living in such an environment, I have personally observed the various challenges that come with farming," says Shashank.

His family also had a mango orchard in Malihabad, located about 55 km from Unnao, famous for its wide variety of mangoes. “The best times were those spent in our mango orchard during summer vacations, enjoying the mangoes,” he recalls fondly.

Shashank did his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. Subsequently, he completed his MBA at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, from 2013 to 2015.

Bhuvnesh met Shashank in 2019 and discovered their common interest in agriculture 

Beginning his professional journey, Shashank Singh joined Wipro Limited, where he was part of the Global 100 Leadership program, focusing on developing leadership skills. He worked at Wipro from 2015 to 2016.

Shashank then moved to BlackBuck (Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd.), serving as SME Business & Product Head from May 2016 until December 2016.

His career path took a turn towards entrepreneurship when he co-founded, a company engaged in creating smartphone applications, where he remained from July 2016 to July 2018.

His next career move was to Uber, where he held the position of Strategy Manager from July 2018 until November 2020.

In 2019, Shashank met Bhuvnesh Gupta, and they instantly connected over their common agricultural roots. "Both of us come from farming backgrounds, and quickly realised our similar outlooks. Our mutual interest in agriculture led to a strong friendship," Shashank recalls.

Bhuvnesh, 33, comes from Jalandhar, Punjab. Like Shashank, his father also worked in banking. Choosing a non-traditional path, Bhuvnesh opted for distance education, driven by his entrepreneurial aspirations.

He completed his BA Honours in Public Administration from Indira Gandhi National Open University in 2008 and later earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management, Finance & Marketing from XLRI Jamshedpur in 2015.

Before joining the corporate world, Bhuvnesh ran Shakun Karyana Merchants, a local grocery trading business, from April 2004 to June 2011. He later joined the Oriental Bank of Commerce, working first as a credit officer and then as the head of the Forex Department from 2011 to 2013.

His career also included stints at Ericsson as a Manager for Special Projects (May 2015 - March 2017) and at OYO Rooms as a Business Head (April 2017 - April 2018).

In April 2018, Bhuvnesh founded eFulcrum, a brand focused on homemade wellness products, leading the company until September 2019. During this period, he also played a significant role at, India's largest eB2B platform, as a Business Head from October 2018 to September 2019.

Following this, Bhuvnesh worked at BharatPe as the Head of D2R & Ecommerce from March 2020 until March 2021.

After joining forces, Shashank and Bhuvnesh built Poshn from scratch. In the initial stages, they handled the operations by themselves, scaling up and hiring as the business grew.

"We started with a modest number of 2-3 processors and wholesalers, and now we have about 700," Shashank says.

Poshn, which targets markets in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Bangalore, was launched in November 2020 with an initial investment of Rs. 1 crore.

Shashank loves to stay fit and enjoys his gym workouts and swimming sessions

In its first six months, Poshn achieved a turnover of Rs. 80 lakh. "By the end of the first year, we were close to Rs. 100 crore, and in the last financial year, we reached a turnover of Rs. 510 crore. This fiscal year, we have already surpassed Rs. 800 crore in GMV," Shashank reveals.

He notes that their profit margin stands at about 10% of the total business annually. Poshn's headquarters, with 70 employees, is located in a 1000 sq ft office in Delhi.

The duo's goal is to expand Poshn across India and achieve exponential growth over the next five years.

On a personal note, Shashank resides in a rented apartment in Delhi. He enjoys staying active, saying, "I like to engage in fitness activities like gym workouts and swimming, which help in maintaining both physical and mental health." - ©TWL

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