An exclusive interview with Vaibhav Kaushik co-founder and CEO of Nawgati
In today’s interview, we have the privilege of speaking with Vaibhav Kaushik, the visionary co-founder and CEO of Nawgati, a groundbreaking Fueling App that has been transforming the way both B2B and B2C audiences interact with the world of fuel.
Nawgati’s innovative platform caters to two distinct but equally vital groups: on one hand, it empowers fuel providers, encompassing fuel pump owners, fuel companies, and dealers, to streamline their operations and enhance customer engagement.
On the other, it provides a seamless and user-friendly experience for end consumers, catering to the needs of drivers and the general public. Under Vaibhav’s leadership, Nawgati has emerged as a pivotal player in the fuel industry, pioneering advancements that benefit both businesses and everyday commuters. Join us as we delve into Vaibhav’s insights, experiences, and the journey behind Nawgati’s remarkable success.
Can you share the inspiration behind founding Nawgati
Vaibhav Kaushik: The inspiration behind Nawgati is a real-life incident. During my 2019 internship in Noida, I frequently relied on Ola/Uber rides, which are predominantly fueled by CNG, for my daily commute.
Each time I passed by a CNG station, I couldn’t help but notice the lengthy queues patiently awaiting their turn in front of the CNG stations. This piqued my curiosity about the significant time and money people wasted standing in these queues. I wondered how much they could save if they were aware of nearby CNG stations.
I happened to strike up a conversation with a cab driver, in a similar incident, who disclosed that he could have earned at least 10% of his daily income during these idle waiting periods if only he didn’t have to queue up for refueling.
This led to the inception of Nawgati – a real-life problem that I had contemplated for so long transformed into an idea that we, Aalaap, Aryan, and I, could support with our technological expertise. Despite lacking prior experience in the fuel-tech sector, we viewed it as an opportunity as there were no competitors in the space reshaping the fuel station experience, streamlining operations for both fuel providers and end-users, and making their lives more convenient.
Nawgati has been a trailblazer in the fuel industry by introducing an aggregator model. How has this unique approach transformed the way consumers interact with fuel services? What benefits does Nawgati offer to both customers and fuel providers?
Vaibhav Kaushik: Nawgati caters to two audience groups: B2B – fuel providers (fuel pump owners, fuel companies and dealers) and B2C – end consumers (drivers and general public).
To answer your first question, Nawgati offers 2 unique platforms (Aaveg – a B2B vertical SaaS platform, and Nawgati Fueling App – a B2C fuel discovery app) catering to the 2 audience groups to improve the overall fueling experience, reduce congestion and monitor compliance.
This approach has transformed the way consumers interact with fuel services to a large extent as it has allowed the users to make decisions on the go, reduced manual work, digitised operations, enabled clear decision making, and automated processes.
Both the platforms have multiple advantages: Aaveg is a complete retail ops platform that offers live updates to the fuel pump owners or gas companies on the latest operational trends and movement at the station enabling them to take action on the spot.
Nawgati Fueling App allows end users to plan their trip in advance or find the nearest gas station in their route with minimal wait time. They can also browse information about fuel prices, fuel availability, and amenities at the station.
It benefits both customers and fuel providers, as fuel providers gain operational oversight, improved asset management, and the potential to monetize valuable data, while customers enjoy reduced wait times, efficient fueling experiences, and real-time insights.
The concept of fuel aggregation is relatively novel in India. Could you elaborate on the challenges you encountered while establishing Nawgati, and how did you overcome them to create a successful platform?
Vaibhav Kaushik: Our experience in building Nawgati has proven to be quite enlightening and challenging simultaneously as we embarked on this journey at the age of 20, with little knowledge of the startup world especially in the fuel-tech space. However, with incubation in BIT Pilani’s Pilani Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Society (PIEDS) brought a fortunate turn of events.
They provided an excellent incubation program, offered us a platform to showcase our ideas and technology, and gather support from the right stakeholders. We underwent rigorous questioning and challenges by seasoned professionals in the field which helped us enhance the technology and get ready for market introduction.
Furthermore, comprehensive feedback and suggestions from our customers has helped us stay agile in our operations as they have provided us with valuable data to improve and introduce newer features.
At Nawgati, we hold a strong belief that the inception of this idea marked a pivotal moment in our lives, as it has helped turn a real life problem into a solution that is changing how the fuel industry works.
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, how does Nawgati leverage technology to enhance the fuel purchasing experience for users?
Vaibhav Kaushik: The current fueling experience at major fuel pumps across India showcases lack of operational efficiency and mismanagement due to high footfall, congestion and longer serve time, especially at CNG pumps. Whether it is a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 city, long queues can be seen forming in front of the station – wasting time and resources of the people.
With digitization of this ecosystem, Nawgati can enhance the fuel purchasing experience for users. By onboarding petrol, diesel and CNG pumps across the country, Nawgati is creating a holistic platform for its end users – where they can check wait time, serve time, transit time, amenities at the station, fuel availability, and fuel cost.
This will enable the users to make informed decisions on the go, plan trips to the station or re-route to a nearby station with lower serve time, for an efficient and convenient experience.
What role does technology play in streamlining operations and ensuring customer satisfaction?
Vaibhav Kaushik: Our B2B solution, Aaveg, is built with deep learning technology – which is connected with edge controllers deployed at fuel stations, plugged with CCTV and dispensing infrastructure.
It is a complete retail dashboard that captures real-time movement at the station and provides digital representation and actionable insights to help streamline operations, monitor congestion in real-time, allocate resources effectively, enhance overall operational efficiency, and ensure customer satisfaction. By optimising the flow of vehicles, Nawgati minimises wait times and maximises service efficiency.
Nawgati’s impact goes beyond convenience, as it also contributes to environmental sustainability. Can you shed light on the eco-friendly initiatives that Nawgati has undertaken, and how it aligns with the company’s vision and values?
Vaibhav Kaushik:Nawgati’s commitment to environmental sustainability aligns with our overarching vision and values. By reducing congestion at fuel stations, we inherently promote fuel efficiency and contribute to a reduction in vehicle emissions.
Furthermore, our platform is fuel-agnostic, accommodating not only traditional fuels but also electric vehicle charging stations. This positions Nawgati as a vital contributor to the adoption of smart transportation systems, and aligns our vision to create a positive impact on the environment and society as a whole.
Nawgati’s growth trajectory must have been remarkable. Could you share some key milestones or achievements that stand out in the journey of establishing Nawgati as a leading player in the fuel aggregation sector?
Vaibhav Kaushik: Nawgati started from a college dorm in BITS Pilani and now it is headquartered in Noida. Since 2019, we have achieved significant milestones such as onboarding Indraprastha Gas Ltd, Indian Oil, Mahanagar Gas Ltd. as our clients, being recognized and funded by Govt. undertakings such as MietY Startup Hub Tide 2.0, Nidhi Seed Support Scheme (by Department of Science and Technology), and winning support from MapmyIndia, Shark Tank investors Aman Gupta and Amit Jain, and other angel investors.
This recognition from esteemed institutions is a testament to the viability and potential of our platform – creating an upward growth trajectory.
More recently, we have onboarded 1M+ users for our Nawgati Fueling App without spending any budget on advertising, thereby solidifying our position as a leading player in this space. Further, we look forward to achieving our ambitious goal of incorporating 15,000 fuelling outlets onto our platform within the next two years.
The future of the fuel industry is undergoing significant changes, including the transition to renewable energy sources. How does Nawgati envision adapting and remaining relevant in this evolving landscape?
Vaibhav Kaushik: India is on the ambitious path to transition to renewable energy sources like CNG and EV. The government by 2030 aims to achieve 30% for private cars, 70% for commercial vehicles and 80% for two and three-wheelers EV sales penetration.
This on one hand will reduce carbon footprint from lower fuel combustion, but on the other will cause mushrooming of two-three-four wheeler vehicles on the road. The widespread EV penetration will further widen the need for stringent congestion and compliance monitoring, and routing systems to curb the problem of longer serve time at fuel stations.
Fuel-tech solutions such as Nawgati can automate the fuel station operations, provide complete oversight and help users to navigate to stations with lower serve time to transform the complete fueling experience.
It was built with the intent to become a fuel-agnostic company – which will not only keep us relevant but will make us the number one choice to improve efficiency at fuel stations. So far, we have onboarded gas, petrol and diesel companies, and soon will introduce electric vehicle charging stations to cater every energy need of the country.
What advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs who are considering venturing into the realm of innovative tech-driven solutions, particularly in industries that are ripe for disruption, much like the fuel sector was when Nawgati was conceived?
Vaibhav Kaushik: There are problems in every sector, all we have to do is look. One big lesson that I’ve picked up from my own journey in building Nawgati is you’ve to get to the heart of the problem you’re trying to solve.
Spending time on understanding the pain points can solve half of the problem and bring you closer to the solution, regardless of your sector. One must work on building products that they are passionate about and not make-believe problems.
For us, winning the faith of our potential clients was a huge challenge as very few companies have attempted to disrupt and digitise the fuel sector, but our faith in our technology helped us crack the first pitch and now we are working with some of the major fuel companies in the country.
Lastly, build a good team, people you can trust. Seek mentors and guidance, connect with people who can challenge you. And, trust your gut.
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