"Our strategy to enhance profitability for our customers in the aluminium and steel sectors focuses on an in-depth analysis of price movements by leveraging historical data," Tushar Kamat, Chief Business officer (CBO) at Bizongo

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Tushar Kamat, the Chief Business officer (CBO) at Bizongo, comes with more than 25 years of experience in sales leadership, scaling business growth, and enabling business transformation by developing go-to-market strategies for generating revenue. Kamat has had affiliations with notable companies such as SAP, Accenture, Airtel, and TCS. In his latest position as the head of the field operating unit for India's business at Automation Anywhere, he spearheaded a remarkable hyper-scale business growth of approximately 250 per cent during COVID-19.

AL Circle: You have been a part of this organisation since 2022. How has your journey been so far?
Tushar Kamat:
I joined Bizongo as the Chief Business Officer in September 2022 to scale the business to the next level of profitable growth through innovation and operational excellence. Our integral role in B2B supply chain financing, supporting commerce trades and trade financing, has made my 20-month tenure immensely exciting. During my tenure here, we have repositioned Bizongo from a packaging solutions provider to a B2B e-commerce platform that enables embedded supply chain financing and integrated raw material sourcing for businesses. Being part of this dynamic environment has been fulfilling, and I remain committed to driving growth, innovation, and value creation for our stakeholders.

AL Circle: Tell us about Bizongo’s journey from inception to its foray into the B2B vendor digitisation space and the challenges it has encountered post it began in 2014, aiming to revolutionise the vendor digitisation space? How has the company's vision evolved since then?

Tushar Kamat: 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 & Personal Care, Pharmaceuticals, e-commerce / Retail and Supply Chain. Bizongo has been focusing 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. Our vendor digitisation platform addresses the intricate challenges inherent in the B2B sector for customised goods, specifically focusing on the traditionally underserved SME market. What sets us apart is our unshakeable commitment to cloud-enabled participants throughout the supply chain, going beyond mere lead generation and discovery.

AL Circle: How has Bizongo revolutionised raw material procurement and financing for the aluminium & steel sector?

Tushar Kamat: Our platform provides a single interface for buyers to compare rates from multiple sellers, which helps them choose the best option. We provide supply chain financing (SCF) solutions that help MSMEs with working capital requirements, which helps with ease of cash flow along with procurement challenges. Our platform provides real-time visibility of dispatches, leading to better production planning. Moreover, we offer a real-time view of market rates specific to the products and locations, where buyers get a real-time update on the rate increase or decrease. Our goal for the industry is to provide our customers with a competitive advantage through informed decisions, better cash flow management, and real-time market insights.

AL Circle: Can you share some case studies highlighting how Bizongo has positively impacted a vendor or enterprise in the aluminium and steel industry?

Tushar Kamat: We have supported close to 400 customers with raw material procurement solutions, providing them with ease of procurement and cash flow requirements. Sagar Asia, Mangalam Alloys, and Steel Exchange are some of our prominent customers in the steel industry. Our procurement solutions have resulted in 8% to 10% savings in procurement costs. Financing not only allows the customers to manage their cash flow but also extracts cash discounts because the vendors get upfront payments through financial institutions on our platform.

AL Circle: Can you elaborate on how Bizongo has utilised or is using AI technology in its business approach?

Tushar Kamat: AI plays a pivotal role in enhancing the user journey on our platform. From vendor discovery to product catalogue exploration, order placement, and order tracking, we have seamlessly integrated AI to make the entire process smooth and personalised. For instance, we use AI to tailor the user experience, enabling interaction and engagement among users by identifying the user's industry and presenting relevant vendors. We also aim to leverage AI to enhance interaction and engagement and ensure a seamless, personalised, and efficient mobile experience, driving adoption and creating a meaningful impact for the MSME segment.

AL Circle: How does Bizongo's platform enhance cost-saving prospects and drive profitability for the aluminium and steel sectors through its features and functionalities?

Tushar Kamat: Our strategy to enhance profitability for our customers in the steel and aluminium sectors focuses on an in-depth analysis of price movements by leveraging historical data. For example, when dealing with inputs like sponge iron for steel billets, we use predictive analytics to forecast how changes in its price today could impact billet prices tomorrow. These processes help our customers make the right purchase decisions. We consolidate demand from our large critical mass of customers in these raw material categories to benefit from the economic order size and pass on these savings to the customers to bring down their overall procurement costs, thereby impacting their profit & loss (P&L) favourably. Another one of our key solutions involves purchase invoice discounting (PID) and sales invoice discounting (SID), which provide vendors with discounted rates for invoice repayments to help ease their financial burden.

AL Circle: What forthcoming advancements are in store for Bizongo's App ‘Next by Bizongo’ to cater to evolving market demands within the aluminium and steel industry?

Tushar Kamat: We aim to introduce several AI-driven initiatives to meet the evolving market demands within the aluminium and steel industry in the forthcoming months. Our ‘Next by Bizongo’ app will offer AI-powered raw material suggestions to customers based on the nature of their business, as well as predictive ordering to optimise inventory management. Our app will enhance supply chain visibility with real-time tracking, from raw material sourcing to delivery. It will also ensure risk management by assessing potential disruptions and enabling proactive mitigation strategies with our tech-driven quality control, which inspects materials for defects.

Furthermore, our AI-powered algorithms will evaluate and rank potential suppliers based on various criteria, such as price, quality, reliability, and lead times. For supplier relationships, AI can monitor their performance in real-time and identify potential deviations from agreed-upon terms, allowing for proactive relationship management. Also, our AI chatbots will offer real-time price and availability assistance across India, significantly enhancing buyers' decision-making.

AL Circle: What milestones or achievements for Bizongo are you particularly proud of, and how have these contributed to the company's overall success?

Tushar Kamat: Starting operations in 2015 and being on the verge of becoming a unicorn by the end of 2024 is a tremendous achievement for Bizongo. Our company generated Rs.50 crore of free cash flow in FY23, a testament to our financial discipline and operational efficiency. The strategic decision to focus on operational metrics and sustainable growth, even at the expense of rapid expansion, showcased a commitment to long-term stability.

Moreover, we have successfully completed Series E funding, bringing our valuation to $980 million. Our extensive supplier network includes over 7,500 MSMEs, and we have partnered with more than 30 banks and NBFCs. We have disbursed INR 4,000 crore worth of financing to our ecosystem, which comprises over 500 brands and large enterprises across multiple industries. Additionally, our technological innovations have positioned us as a leader in the B2B vendor digitisation space.

AL Circle: In the face of the changing technology and business environment, how does Bizongo continuously innovate and adapt to guarantee long-term value delivery to its clients?

Tushar Kamat: Central to our strategy is integrating advanced technology and a deep understanding of our clients' needs. By leveraging our "Next by Bizongo" app, we are providing MSMEs and large enterprises with a user-friendly mobile experience that simplifies their procurement and financing processes. Bizongo's real-time transaction data and proprietary confidence score models enhance the efficiency and accessibility of credit and financing options, significantly improving cash flows for our clients. Furthermore, our extensive supplier network and strategic partnerships also enable us to offer competitive pricing and predictive analytics, helping businesses make informed purchasing decisions. These steps help us ensure that we remain a vital partner in our clients' success and the advancement of the industry.

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September 25-27, 2024 | BITS Pilani K K Birla Goa Campus, Goa, INDIA