Even before pitching onstage at Y Combinator, Indian car refueling startup MyPetrolPump has managed to snag $1.6 million in seed financing.
The business, which is similar to startups in the U.S. like Filld, Yoshi and Booster Fuels, took 10 months to design and receive approval for its proprietary refueling trucks that can withstand the unique stresses of providing logistics services in India.
Together with co-founder Nabin Roy, a serial startup entrepreneur, MyPetrolPump co-founder and chief executive Ashish Gupta pooled $150,000 to build the company’s first two refuelers and launch the business.
MyPetrolPump began operating out of Bangalore in 2017 working with a manufacturing partner to make the 20-30 refuelers that the company expects it will need to roll out its initial services. However, demand is far outstripping supply, according to Gupta.
“We would need hundreds of them to fulfill the demand,” Gupta says. In fact the company is already developing a licensing strategy that would see it franchise out the construction of the refueling vehicles and regional management of the business across multiple geographies.
Bootstrapped until this $1.6 million financing, MyPetrolPump already has five refueling vehicles in its fleet and counts 2,000 customers already on its ledger.
These are companies like Amazon and Zoomcar, which both have massive fleets of vehicles that need refueling. Already the company has delivered 5 million liters of fuel with drivers working daily 12-hour shifts, Gupta says.
While services like MyPetrolPump have cropped up in the U.S. as a matter of convenience, in the Indian context, the company’s offering is more of necessity, says Gupta.
“In the Indian context, there’s pilferage of fuel,” says Gupta. Bus drivers collude with gas station operators to skim money off the top of the order, charging for 50 liters of fuel but only getting 40 liters pumped in. Another problem that Gupta says is common is the adulteration of fuel with additives that can degrade the engine of a vehicle.
There’s also the environmental benefit of not having to go all over to refill a vehicle, saving fuel costs by filling up multiple vehicles with a single trip from a refueling vehicle out to a location with a fleet of existing vehicles.
The company estimates it can offset 1 million tons of carbon in a year — and provide more than 300 billion liters of fuel. The model has taken off in other geographies as well. There’s Toplivo v Bak in Russia (which was acquired by Yandex), Gaston in Paris and Indonesia’s everything mobility company, Gojek, whose offerings also include refueling services.
And Gupta is preparing for the future as well. If the world moves to electrification and electric vehicles, the entrepreneur says his company can handle that transition as well.
“We are delivering a last-mile fuel delivery system,” says Gupta. “If tomorrow hydrogen becomes the dominant fuel we will do that… If there is electricity we will do that. What we are building is the convenience of last-mile delivery to energy at the doorstep.”