Vamsi Udayagiri - Skills Can Be Taught but the Person’s Character and the Right Attitude Are either There or Not There (Founder and CEO – Hesa)

I believe that in the areas like the rural heartland which is our main area of operation, while basic education is helpful and required, life skills really are important and can truly play an integral role in framing an individual’s identity. This actually applies to everyone!

Tell us about your background, journey, and upbringing.

I am fortunate to be born into an educated family in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh. Right from the very beginning, my family has been my biggest strength. They have supported and encouraged me to always follow my passions.

I started my professional journey as an entrepreneur in 2001. While the entire IT industry was focused on ERP and CRM, I carved out a niche in the Supply Chain domain and developed deep expertise as I picked experiences while working with organizations like Ramco and partnering corporates like Gillette, PepsiCo, and Ray-Ban.

Rural ecosystems have always excited me as there is a tremendous potential to address their multiple needs. In 2010, I honored this urge and went on exploring nearly 4,000 villages across the length and breadth of the country. 

As an outcome, I combined this passion for rural and experience with Supply Chains and set up Rural Yellow in 2012. My last decade has been dedicated to contributing towards various facets plaguing the rural population. 

I have set up successful models in agriculture, employment, education, entertainment, and health care, with rural at the heart of it all. It has indeed been a rough and tough yet very enriching journey and has led me to create the Integrated Rural Market Place Model with Hesa.

What inspired you to take action in your direction and what are your future plans?

My intense connection with the grassroots and understanding of the rural customers, their aspirations, and their challenges have been a driving force all through. This is complemented by my experience in supply chain management and the strong network and connections that I have built over the years. 

With digital being the way of life, it is my strong belief that no one should be left behind. Hence, focussing on India’s rural families and taking all services and products to them was not only the right business to do but the right thing to do.

The future plan is to be Rural India’s largest integrated marketplace which enables ease of commerce thereby aggressively contributing towards nation-building at scale. I envision Hesa as THE enterprise that leverages technology and human capital to connect all the stakeholders in the ecosystem, making rural commerce viable for all businesses and empowering millions of livelihoods in the process.

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What does your typical workday look like?

My typical workday is split between planning for the future and fine-tuning the present. Hence, it is spread across various key activities like monitoring and reviewing our performance, scheduled meetings with external stakeholders like government representatives, investors, and our corporate partners, discussions with my Hesa Team, and interactions with our army of Village Level Entrepreneurs, the “Hesaathis”. 

I make it a point to speak to at least five Hesaathis every day as their wellbeing is equally important to me. They also echo the voice of the rural customer and helps me in ensuring that our offering continues to be relevant up to the last mile. 

I am looking forward to the pre-pandemic days coming back when I will be traveling to the remotest of villages and hamlets to interact with the Hesaathis and the rural consumers. These days, social media also takes 10% of my total

Every single day I keep aside two hours for my family as spending time with my kids, wife, and parents energizes me for the remaining 14 hours of my workday.

Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this?

I believe that in the areas like the rural heartland which is our main area of operation, while basic education is helpful and required, life skills really are important and can truly play an integral role in framing an individual’s identity. This actually applies to everyone!

How do you handle someone who has lied on their resume?

I believe that skills can be taught but the person’s character and the right attitude are either there or not there. So, if the lie is related to a skill, then the person can be trained. But if the lie is about integrity and ethics, I will have to let the person go.

How has Covid changed things at your workplace & which of these changes do you intend to make permanently?

Covid has pushed all of us out of our comfort zones and we found ourselves innovating and thriving, even in such extreme situations. It added a lot of rigor and discipline for a start-up like Hesa where we had to utilize the available resources in unique ways. 

It also made us plan in advance and schedule meetings accordingly. This planning and scheduling have really helped us perform better and also manage my time more effectively. Hence, I have already made this a permanent positive change.


What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs or those eyeing the top job?

Be totally immersed and focused on what you are doing. I follow the 3P Mantra - Persistence, Persistence, and Persistence, till you achieve what you set out to. Rest, I believe can all be figured out.

Which is your favorite book/show and why?

The one book that I draw a lot from is “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. It has played a pivotal role in shifting my perception of life. It has made me convinced that change has to be from within and not from the outside. 

When one is sure of what they want and follows the 3P mantra, the entire universe aligns to make it a reality. I have experienced it first hand and continue to do so, every single day, all the way!

Bio - 

Vamsi Udayagiri, Founder & CEO – Hesa, is a leader in bridging the rural divide through innovative and disruptive models. He has over two decades of experience in establishing various successful businesses like Rural Yellow and Pakka Hyderabad and has consistently created solutions to solve the pain points plaguing those in Bharat.

Vamsi brings on-board a deep understanding of rural customers, their aspirations, and their challenges. His strong networks and connections with brands have further earned their trust.

Today, businesses are flocking to Hesa as the preferred partner when they think of rural markets. Under Vamsi’s leadership, Hesa has gone from ground zero in April 2020 to clocking in INR 30 Crores in 2021. 

In the process, 65 brand partnerships have been cemented across industries and sectors and livelihood opportunities to 8000 rural micro-entrepreneurs have been created.

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