What Do Milk Farming and Ambulances Have in Common? Meet the Start-ups

We live in a world where giants like Uber and Amazon are disrupting logistics and pushing the boundaries between reality and science fiction. With the MAN Impact Accelerator, we want to support social start-ups that add an element of purpose to all the technical disruption we are seeing in the world. We want to support entrepreneurs who think about the trans-generational impact of technology.

The sector of mobility is moving forward at an unprecedented rate and our start-ups are rising to these challenges. They are integrating new technology with rapidly changing customer expectations (such as instant gratification and immediate access to information), addressing the costs and physical constraints of mobility, all whilst balancing social factors with a viable economic model.

Our successful start-ups cover a variety of sectors, from commuting to work, changing the rules of trade, or even renting agri-equipment. Let us introduce you to them in more detail:

The Future of Freight: GetTruck

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GetTruck (https://gettruck.co.za/) is a South African online networking platform, connecting transporter’s unused capacities to customers’ requests. Their sustainable business model enhances work opportunities for truck drivers, optimises partial loads, maps the most efficient route – to lower costs to the customer, overall fuel consumption, carbon footprint and reduce road congestion.

David Naidoo, CEO of GetTruck shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“Besides the phenomenal exposure to see world economies, meetings with prestigious mentors and witnessing diverse cultures, the MAN Impact Accelerator gave us insights and tools to measure the health of our business which helped us restructure staff potential with purpose and improve sales conversion rates.”

The Uber for Medical Transport: StanPlus

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Take away food can be delivered to your doorstep with the click of a button, based on a resilient supply chain and accountability. But this is not always the case when calling an ambulance for serious health concerns: In India, 75% of the patients needing an ambulance use their own personal vehicle to reach the hospital. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough ambulances, it is that they take on average 45 minutes to reach a patient.

For this reason, the new start-up StanPlus (https://www.stanplus.co.in/) aims to revolutionise India’s inefficient medical transport system, by creating an Uber for Medical Transport. StanPlus operates its own ambulances but also pools together with the hospital’s ambulances. Using technology — a reliable call centre and efficient routing decisions made using geospatial data, they aim to reach their patients within 12 minutes.

Prabhdeep Singh, Co-Founder of StanPlus shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“When we joined the accelerator, we had an immense desire to, but no toolkit available on how to make and measure Impact. The teams at YSB and MAN have brought us specialist mentors from around the world. These experts have allowed us to question the core value-set of the founders and the company. We are more self-aware. At the same time, we have indulged in topical conversations around growth, product, market-fit, and customer experience.”

Saving the World, One Commute at a Time: Commut

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With increased urbanisation, travelling for city dwellers is continuously stressful, hours are wasted in traffic without beginning to mention the carbon emissions impact. This is exactly how one of the founders of Commut felt (https://www.commut.co/), travelling daily 25km to his office in the sweltering weather of Hyderabad in India.

The start-up offers regular minibuses amongst the popular routes at very affordable prices, within the comfort of air conditioning, reserved seating and an ‘app based’ booking system. In this way, they create an efficient transport system – shuttling 2.5k people per day and providing incremental income and job security to 150 drivers.

Charan Thota, Co-Founder of Commut shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“The international exposure that we have received with MAN Accelerator and the interactive sessions with our fellow cohort members has helped us understand the holistic view of the logistics industry across the world. We have gained immense knowledge and new perspectives from the discussions at the sessions. Above all, the mentorship received from various distinguished market leaders has been very comprehensive and visionary. It has been immensely helpful in sculpting our business procedures and short-term goals in a better way to attain our vision of changing the way India travels to work.”

Three Wheeler in the Lane: MellowCab

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Have you ever jumped in a taxi and sat in traffic for hours whilst pedestrians and cyclists whizz past your window? South African start-up MellowCab (http://www.mellowcabs.com/) is running the show by introducing an electrical three wheeler vehicle designed for light, safe, eco-friendly transportation in urban areas. The shells are made from recycled PET, the vehicle converts kinetic electricity into electricity through breaking, and the roof includes a solar panel which generates 35% of the cab’s power. 80% of all urban trips made are shorter than four miles – so they provide first and last mile transport within a 3km radius (covering the route from home-to-train station), thus fighting congestion, cutting carbon emissions and providing job opportunities.

Neil Du Preez, Founder of Mellowcabs shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“Being part of the MAN Impact Accelerator has been a tremendous help to Mellowcabs. We’ve been mentored by experts with exceptional knowledge and experience in very relevant fields. We’ve had sessions with quality control, sales, logistics and manufacturing experts from the MAN group, which would have been impossible to have access to if we were not part of the Accelerator. Also, the network reach of the Yunus Social Business group has also proven to be invaluable, with introductions to sector-specific partners, which we were are very excited to work with.”


For thousands of years, we were directly involved in making sure that food was on the table for our families. Our cultures evolved around celebrating harvests and breaking bread. It is only in the past century that industrialisation of agriculture has detached us from the source of our food. The following start-ups we support are trying to revive our sense for food, our sense for nurturing whole generations and our sense for what it means to take care of our world.

Eliminating the Middleman and Empowering Farmers for a Better Tomorrow: Crowd Container

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Imagine if your food came directly from the farmer’s field to your plate? If you could order produce directly from a small regenerative farm using sustainable agricultural practices? The food was delivered directly, farm-to-fork, with no storage, re-packaging or shipping detours, guaranteeing farm freshness and quality? What’s more, you know directly your farm producer, eliminate the middleman, and guarantee a fair price for your farmer.

That’s the concept driving Crowd Container (www.crowdcontainer.ch): a Zurich-based platform who are changing the rules of trade by connecting small farmers in developing countries directly to end consumers in Europe via a crowd-ordering platform. The start-up generates incremental income to the smallholder farmers through bottom-up pricing, guaranteeing that 60% of the added value will remain in the region and not get lost in the middlemen trade. The Crowd Container is a young start-up but has already gained a lot of traction. Even Hans Rudolf Herren, the Swiss entomologist and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize 2013, is a proud user.

Tobias Joos, Founder of Crowd Container shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

We have been inspired by the other start-ups and founders in the cohort, and we are very thankful to MAN and YSB who have made all this possible. Their help has been instrumental in the following areas: evolution of the business model in the longer time, scaling in other european markets, team collaboration, adjusting online marketplace designs, insights into the drivers of food ecommerce, customer focus and structured customer interviews, marketing strategy,  understanding the big shipment lines to improve reliability, communication for our customers.”

The Return of the Milkman: Country Delight

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A survey by Food Standards of Safety Authoritation of India (FSSAI) showed that as much as 68% of milk in India was adulterated, and 70% of the Capital’s milk samples were contaminated.

The Delhi-based start-up Country Delight (https://countrydelight.in/) is reinventing the milkman business model, delivering fresh milk directly from the farmer to the doorstep of the consumer within 36 hours of milking. It’s so simple: consumers subscribe through a free app on their smartphone, whilst the small farmers receive a better price for their milk. Country Delight is already supplying 10k litres of milk on a daily basis, creating a new ecosystem: market access for small farmers, better price for farmers, the emergence microentrepreneurs (Riksha drivers) who deliver the milk and fresh quality controlled milk on the table of customers.

Chakradhar Gade, Co-founder of Country Delight shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“The key learning of the MAN Impact Accelerator have been to: have a very clear definition of our core values and ingrain them in each role in the organization from the lowest level to highest level. From this learning, we are now working on inculcating our core values of Consumer Obsessed, Technology Oriented and Ownership Driven into the key performance indicators at each role in Country Delight.  To have a very strong and frequent feedback mechanism to understand need gaps you have not filled with the key stakeholders be it the Consumers CD serves or the farmers and entrepreneurs CD works with.”

From the Farmers For Farmers: Farmart AgriTech

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In India, the vast majority of farmers work on small farms – in fact, 75% of Indian farmers work on less than a hectare. How can these small farmers possibly access agri-machinery and implements like tractors and tillers in the same way as the big players?

Farmart AgriTech (https://farmartweb.000webhostapp.com/)  helps match farmers to underutilised machinery, offering a low-cost solution to the farmers that need it the most, whilst providing additional income to the lender. The Indian-based start-up has a business model similar to that of the cab aggregator Uber.

Alekh Sanghera, Co-founder and CEO of Farmart AgriTech shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“FarMarts journey with the MAN impact accelerator has been one of self reflection. It has helped us understand more about our business and the potential impact it can have on farmers “.

Efficient Supply Chains: Krishi Trade

Agri-tech start-up Krishi Trade (www.krishitrade.com) offer small-holder farmers direct access to global agricultural markets, through aggregated online bidding processes, to ensure they gain good value for their produce. Indian farmer’s face fundamental structural issues during post-harvest, according to the start-up: ‘almost 66% to 95% of post-harvest value of produce is lost because of inefficiencies in the entire value chain, resulting into hoardings and increased farmer suicides’. Krishi Trade currently has access to 27,000 farmers in India.

Sachin Nikumbh, CEO of Krishi Trade shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“Krishi Trade helps farmers connect to buyers directly and improvement in their income is a global grand challenge.  MAN Impact Accelerator has offered access to this fantastic global ecosystem of start-ups, mentors in same space. Motivated individuals and companies who really have genuine desire for social impact have extended all possible support in terms of network and connects which is helping Krishi Trade to accelerate impact. For example, we had assumed $10 annual improvement in farmers income whereas after discussions with talented mentors we commissioned survey and found out we actually improved their income by average $1500. Multiplying by 27000 farmers, the impact is $40.5 Mn. Just with proper refinement of impact model, impact measurement without any equity investment,  MAN impact Accelerator achieved its’ objectives: helping companies like us model a scalable impact and trying to equip us to actually scale such phenomenal impact.”


8 Start-ups to Watch in 2018

These young start-ups are disrupting the logistics sector, redefining mobility and creating sustainable transport. Through this journey, they have received support from MAN Truck & BusYunus Social Business and mentors from major companies such as Uber, Amazon and John Deere.

We’re going to be in Cape Town next week and really looking forward to an exciting time with over 35 mentors. Follow us on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn to stay in the loop!