Shark Tank India: First Kashmir-based startup raised funding to boost other entrepreneurs

Jammu and Kashmir [India], March 15 (ANI): FastBeetle, a startup firm from Jammu and Kashmir, which is into courier delivery service has raised funding worth Rs 90 lakh on reality show Shark Tank India, boosting hopes for other budding entrepreneurs across the Union territory, the BBC has reported.

It is the first company from the region to have raised funding on the popular TV show, the report said.

Shark Tank India is an Indian reality show where entrepreneurs present their products or services to a panel of investors, also called “sharks”, who then on the basis of the fundamentals or potential of the business models decide whether or not they want to invest in their companies.

According to the BBC report, the Jammu and Kashmir-based startup’s founders Sheikh Samiullah and Abdul Rashid, had applied for the reality show after seeing an advertisement about it on social media platform LinkedIn.

Samiullah and Rashid started FastBeetle in 2019. Before starting his own business, Samiullah used to work for an e-commerce company that delivered products all over India.

“We don’t have such facilities. There aren’t people like you [Shark Tank judges] who can support us, that is why people in Kashmir are dependent on employment,” the Britsh boradcaster quoted Samiullah as saying in their report.

“We thought this (courier delivery service) model could be applied in Kashmir too so we created our own brand,” he said.

Founders of the startup firm now hope that the funding they will receive will encourage more young people in their region to start their own businesses.

Officials in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the BBC report, insist that things are getting better and the region is witnessing “a boom” in local startups.

Aijaz Ahamd Bhat, director of Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), says the government is working on a “J&K Startup Policy 2023-2028”, which aims to facilitate the setting up of 3,000 start-ups in the region in the next five years.

He said that this would help create jobs and boost the region’s economy.

“The policy was already there but we couldn’t implement it due to some issues, and then the pandemic. Now we are amending it with the help of experts and a new policy will be in public in coming weeks,” Bhat said.

Further, according to the report, the founders of the startup said they paid salaries by dipping into their personal savings. As soon as things started to normalise by the end of 2020, they decided to restart their business. But then the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world and they had to once again contend with months-long lockdowns.

However, they did not lose hope.

They realised that apple traders in the Valley were struggling to deliver their produce, and so FastBeetle stepped in to deliver the fruit across Kashmir.

“The apple industry is the largest employment generator in the region, and the profits we made by delivering the fruit helped the business recoup its losses,” said Samiullah.

The company also started delivering oxygen cylinders and medicines to Covid patients.

Today, FastBeetle delivers everything, has 130 employees and operates throughout India and in several countries abroad. So far, it has delivered 100,000 orders in more than 55 countries. The company also works with over 1,500 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). (ANI)

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