THE UNSTOPPABLE RISE OF BIZONGO: A Tale of Three Visionaries Reshaping Small Business Finance with Innovation and Grit

Sachin Agrawal, Co-Founder & CEO, Aniket Deb, Co-Founder & COO, Ankit Tomar, Co-Founder & CTO, BIZONGO

In the fast-paced world of business, where innovation meets determination, there are stories that not only resonate but also redefine success. Today, we are honoured to present an exclusive interview with Sachin Agrawal , the Co-founder, and CEO of Bizongo , a trailblazing force in the B2B customized goods segment and a beacon of inspiration for small businesses across India.

The entrepreneurial landscape is fraught with challenges, yet the saga of Bizongo stands as a testament to the transformative power of vision, perseverance, and technological innovation. In this interview, Small Enterprise India delves into the depths of Bizongo’s evolution, tracing its roots from a visionary idea to becoming India’s leading tech-enabled financing platform for small enterprises.

Sachin, alongside his co-founders Aniket Deb and Ankit Tomar , embarked on a mission in 2015 to revolutionize the fragmented B2B customized goods segment. What unfolded was not merely a business venture but a journey of resilience, adaptability, and growth. Through strategic ingenuity, Bizongo emerged as a growth-enablement platform, offering end-to-end digitization of supply chains and providing working capital solutions that empower brands and enterprises.

Join us as we explore the intricacies of Bizongo’s success – the challenges faced, the milestones achieved, and the pivotal role it plays in the ever-evolving landscape of small business financing in India. From the inception of the company to the development of Bigonzo, an AI-powered supply chain financing platform, this interview is a rich narrative of how three visionaries transformed an idea into a dynamic force for change.

Sachin Agrawal’s insights promise not only to enlighten entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts but also to inspire those navigating the complex world of startups and financing. Small Enterprise India is delighted to bring you this illuminating conversation that encapsulates the spirit of innovation and resilience, embodied by the remarkable journey of Bizongo.

Embark on a captivating exploration into the core of Bizongo’s triumph, where the synergy of technology and finance becomes the driving force behind small businesses’ resilience and prosperity. Dive into the full interview to uncover the empowering story that unfolds within the heart of Bizongo’s success


Sachin Agrawal, Co-founder & CEO, BIZONGO

1. Can you share the inspiration behind starting Bizongo and venturing into the B2B customized goods segment?

As founders, the three of us – Aniket, Ankit, and I (Sachin) – have always been extremely passionate about providing businesses with technology solutions to simplify their operations and help them achieve their business goals. Inspired by the revolution that Alibaba has created in China, we too wanted to create a similar opportunity for SMEs to participate in the great era of digitization in India.

We have always believed that businesses are going to lead the socio-economic transformation of India and technology-enabled enablement can significantly empower SMEs, the true backbone of the country, in this direction.

2. Bizongo started in 2015 with the mission to transform the fragmented B2B customized goods segment. Can you walk us through the early challenges you faced and how the vision evolved over time?

The Made-to-Order segment is a highly fragmented and unorganized space, and it is largely dominated by SMEs. We saw immense opportunities to transform it through technology and smart decisions.

In the early days, we struggled to bring about a behavioural shift among SMEs to adopt digital ways of doing business. While our go-to-market strategy was always through corporate customers, convincing SME suppliers involved a significant push strategy. Enterprises themselves were finding it very difficult to function in a completely offline mode as it limited their price discovery, access to quality suppliers, and the opportunity to expand their made-to-order offerings, among others. GST was a catalyst for SMEs to adopt digital platforms.

Today, we are known as a Vendor Digitization and Embedded Finance platform that is transforming supply chain operations for large enterprises and SMEs. Combining technology with data analytics, Bizongo’s proprietary digital platforms provide solutions for embedded financing, raw material procurement, and invoicing, among others, to enable MSMEs to optimize costs and scale business growth.

3. The supply chain industry is dynamic and challenging. What gaps or pain points in the market did you identify that led to the creation of Bizongo?

The Made-to-Order industry across different sectors is highly fragmented and unorganized, which takes away the visibility, predictability, and bargaining power of enterprise customers. This is not just limited to the cost of purchase but also leads to no-or-low visibility and control on the supply chain, poor quality control, and therefore weak inventory management. For corporates, the lack of optimization in procurement can have a severe dent in their cost of operations, which negatively impacts the bottom line. For instance, in e-commerce, consumer demand is extremely cyclical and peaks during festival buying as well as during deep discounting e-commerce fests. We found our modern trade customers incurring significantly higher costs in inventory management since they had very little control over the supply chain. We knew technology had the power to bring a lot of transparency across the supply chain that currently evades B2B commerce.

4. Bizongo has grown to become India’s leading Vendor Digitization and Embedded Finance platform. How did you leverage technology and working capital solutions to empower brands and enterprises in the B2B space?

The core of our vision is to fuel the aspirations of SMEs by providing them with a one-stop digital platform that simplifies every aspect of their business. By creating an intuitive, simple, and unified platform, we have ensured that the entire SME vendor ecosystem can conduct all their transactions with their corporate buyers through the platform. With over 7-8 years of transaction data, we can truly leverage the power of analytics and AI to determine transactional behaviour and offer solutions for better decision-making. Bizongo is now gearing up to launch an AI-powered mobile-based app – a first-of-its-kind for SMEs to meet all their financing and sourcing needs. Next, Bizongo will be a one-stop business financing app, which will drastically reduce documentation, save time and effort in seeking financing, and expedite the decision-making process for banks and financial institutions.  An app-based approach will also create an opportunity for Bizongo to leverage technologies such as conversational AI, to personalize information for SMEs, including accurate pricing and product specs, among others, and further enable cost optimization in sourcing steel and aluminium-based raw materials – a major focus industry for Bizongo in the coming quarters.

5. With a vast vendor network of about 8,000+, how did you go about building and sustaining such a robust ecosystem?

We offer enterprises a platform to digitize their entire vendor ecosystem. While corporates enjoy old relationships with their SME suppliers, it is impossible to go beyond 20-30 such relationships, which severely limits business decision-makers ability to secure the most optimized deals for the company. Our value proposition is to equip enterprises with transaction data from all their SMEs and then empower them with smart decision-making. Bizongo’s offering has been highly intuitive. SMEs can access a host of services and value-added offerings on our platform ranging from raw material price visibility, cost-optimised procurement, GST-compliant invoicing features, and Embedded Finance to meet working capital needs, which increases their stickiness.

6. Bizongo offers financing and end-to-end digitization of supply chains. Could you elaborate on how this digitization process enhances the agility, reliability, and resilience of businesses, especially small businesses?

Bizongo’s Vendor Digitization and Embedded Finance Platform is a transaction-led commerce platform. With every transaction recorded on the platform, it allows SMEs to leverage the strength of their business operations to attract enterprise customers as well as financial institutions. For instance, the entire transaction, from placing an order to its delivery, can be seen live on the platform with real-time updates. We have even supported our SME vendors to make their factories smarter through IoT and cloud, which enhances the transparency of operations even at the shop floor level. This builds confidence among enterprise customers to plan their procurement cycle and inventory and enthuses them to do more business with such SMEs. Our platform is therefore directly contributing to growing the business of SMEs. Further, since all the transaction data is recorded on the platform, it gives financial institutions deeper access to the real business potential of SMEs instead of relying on old financial data and credit history. This creates an immense opportunity for financial institutions to provide working capital to the priority sector with much confidence and minimizes their worries about NPAs.

7. Supply chain financing is a critical aspect for businesses. What motivated the development of Bizongo, an AI-powered supply chain financing platform? How does it address the financial needs of small businesses?

The MSME sector has a credit gap of Rs.16 lakh crore. Access to formal credit channels continues to be limited to just 8% of small businesses. B2B businesses typically have a payment outstanding period of anywhere between 30-120 days which prevents SMEs from enhancing their production capabilities. In our larger vision to empower SMEs through technology, providing credit access was a key priority area. With the intelligent and data-backed platform that Bizongo has developed over the last few years, we now have 30+ leading banks and financial institutions that are providing supply chain finance to small businesses through our platform. As we grow further, Embedded Finance will continue to be a key focus area, with some new developments like the launch of our mobile-based platform in January 2024. The app offers tailor-made solutions for every business need, ranging from supply chain finance, business and capex loans, factoring, and structured finance. It speeds up access to working capital by facilitating one-time application submission to 30+ financial institutions, reducing the time of application submission through auto-fetching of data, and auto-verifying data from trusted sources to boost the applicant’s credibility. The app also helps banks and financial institutions quickly onboard customers and use their transaction data for credit decisions at lightning speed.

8.  In the journey of Bizongo, what milestones or achievements are you particularly proud of, and how have they contributed to the overall success of the company?

In terms of business, we have been EBITDA profitable for the last two years in a row, indicating our financial and operational prudence, especially at a time when the funding winter struck the startup ecosystem. We aim to continue being a business that generates free cash flow and achieves PBT profitability.

We have empowered over 500 enterprise customers and 8000+ SME partners to become a part of the Digital India Movement. Be it commerce, payments, invoicing, or credit – all our SMEs are now digital-first businesses. Through our Embedded Finance offering, we have facilitated credit access worth INR 1500 crore. We have also enabled manufacturing units to turn into cloud and Internet-of-Things enabled smart factories, empowering small business owners to be future-ready for domestic and international trade.

Bizongo is a people-first organization, that promotes a deep culture of high performance and trust. We have been recognized by leading industry platforms, including the xto10x People Excellence Award with a 100 percentile in NPS score, the HCA award for Excellence in Cultivating a Culture of Trust & High Performance, and in 2023 as a Great Place to Work.

9. Can you share a specific success story or case study that highlights the positive impact Bizongo has had on a vendor business or enterprise?

Yes, we have several such success stories to our credit.

  • Mangalam Alloys Limited (MAL) is a leading stainless-steel melting unit in India. The company has grown to INR 350 crores. Bizongo has had a major impact on their supply chain resulting in 8-10% procurement savings. It has also helped the company get a 2% cash discount from vendors. With Bizongo’s platform, MAL has been able to procure raw materials from small vendors by paying them upfront.  Tushar Mehta
  •   Stellar Marine Foods is a processor and exporter of frozen seafood based in Mumbai, India. With Bizongo’s super-efficient and highly scalable vendor digitization and embedded financing platform, Stellar Marine optimized their raw materials procurement and catapulted their export business with hassle-free and speedy pre-shipment finance. Their embedded network of financial institutions on the platform provided speedy financing, facilitating advance payments to the suppliers by generating POs quickly. Bizongo has also helped them reach their revenue target of INR 60 crores. Jean Pacheco CA Gagan Deep Singh Rathore Nastasia Mirani Inderjeet Kaur Ex Trafigura
  • Steel Exchange India Limited (SEIL) is primarily engaged in the manufacturing of steel products and allied activities at its Integrated Steel Plant located close to Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Bizongo’s embedded financing has helped solve the challenge of procuring raw materials, and its procurement software makes it easy for SEIL to create POs. Bizongo’s unified platform has helped them purchase the raw materials at the best price, reducing their procurement cost and increasing their monthly revenue with Bizongo from INR 1 crore to INR 9 crore in just 8 months.  Satish Kumar Bandi Hanuma Teja Devaguptapu Movva Ckmovva59
  • Sagar Asia is one of India’s leading manufacturers of Aluminium Extrusions and Access Systems. The company increased its revenue by 50% in just one year with the help of Bizongo’s vendor digitization and embedded financing platform. The financial institution network embedded in Bizongo’s platform ensured speedy disbursals to vendors, fast-tracking Sagar Asia’s supply chain and helping them receive raw materials on time. With Bizongo’s support, they were able to serve their customers better and promptly.  Vidyasagar Veesamsetty Ananth Sagar Veesamsetty Sagar Asia Private Limited I Anand Sagar Sudesh S.

10.  As a founder, how do you see the future of the B2B customized goods segment evolving, and what role do you envision Bizongo playing in shaping that future?

Back in 2017, when we took our platform live, we started transforming the packaging industry. Given our innovative SaaS offering applies to any industry, we gradually expanded to Consumer Staples, Consumer Discretionary, Home and Personal Care, Pharmaceuticals, e-commerce / Retail, and Supply Chain. In that sense, the Made-to-Order industry is an ocean of opportunity as more industries accelerate their digital transformation. Bizongo has been focussing on capital goods for the last few months. We have been expanding aggressively in the Raw Material Procurement segment, particularly in the Steel and Aluminium sector.

We see Bizongo as a formidable contributor to India’s aspiration of becoming a $5tn economy, by being the one-stop technology enabler for SMEs, who are expected to shoulder at least half of this economic vision. We also intend to be a go-to platform for enterprise customers to digitize their vendor management and operations in alignment with their own business sustainability goals. A third critical aspiration is to be the partner of choice for financial institutions to help them play a dominant role in increasing access to formal credit for underserved segments.

11.  Building a successful startup requires a strong team. How did you go about assembling and nurturing the team at Bizongo, and what values or principles guide your leadership approach?


Our people are our biggest strength, and they live and imbibe our culture of CollaborationUpscalingLeadership, and Transparency, or CULT as we call it. We foster an environment that is open to new ideas and discussion so that each person in the organization feels part of a community bringing tech-led transformation to the Indian economy. We are constantly enabling our people through learning and development programs to help them evolve in their careers. There is also an emphasis on wellness and fun activities through team and organization-level initiatives that give people a sense of belonging and empower them to act as a cohesive force. For instance, on the value of transparency, our HR policies are designed with key suggestions coming from the employees themselves, so our policies are far more attuned to what people want than what an organization thinks people want.

12.  With the ever-changing landscape of technology and business, how does Bizongo stay innovative and adaptive to continue providing value to its clients in the long term?

The world of technology changes overnight. We saw that with the sudden surge in conversations around Gen AI and subsequent conversations around responsible AI. As a SaaS platform at heart, we are constantly evaluating the next best use cases of new and emerging technologies in solving problems on the ground. For instance, while we were heavily reliant on AI, ML, and Cloud technologies, we found IoT’s use case in automating factory units that would further enhance the flow of data onto our platform and make life even easier for our customers. We are now expanding to a mobile app for embedded finance and all other offerings eventually, where the use of adaptive conversational AI could be used effectively for SMEs to adapt the platform irrespective of linguistic preferences. As enthusiastic innovators, we are constantly finding ways to create use cases for new-age technology.


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