How a startup is transforming the lives of grocers in India’s villages with cloud and AI

Today ElasticRun works with over 100 brands and has nearly 200,000 stores across 19,000 villages on its platform. The plan is to grow that network to two million stores across over 150,000 villages by next year.

The trio began their journey determined to build a cloud solution that that would empower small businesses securely and at scale. It wasn’t long before they decided to build their platform on Microsoft Azure.

“As we scale into multiple geographies, we expect our technology to scale too. We chose Azure Kubernetes Services because it provides a highly scalable cloud-native architecture for our platforms. One big advantage is that the system can easily scale up during peak seasons and festivals, such as Diwali, when the orders are more, and scale down during non-peak times,” says Shitiz Bansal, ElasticRun’s co-founder and CTO.

ElasticRun’s secret sauce, Bansal adds, is the control tower running on Azure that uses AI and machine learning to automate the logistics business. Think of it as an equivalent of an air traffic controller for on-ground logistics that aggregates all aspects of the business—the grocery stores it services, the on-ground agents, the warehouses, and the delivery network of transporters.

The platform also uses Azure Functions to chart out better delivery routes that can maximize the number of shops that can be serviced in a day.

“Our delivery partners can upload their plan for the day. These are sent to Azure Functions, which calculates the plan and runs algorithms to arrive at the most suitable delivery routes,” he explains.

Interestingly, the platform is smart enough to warn drivers to avoid routes that have higher instances of thefts—a common occurrence as they ply between vast distances in the middle of nowhere.

“The control tower monitors our network, looks for any potential defects, and alerts the right programs or team members. It’s also a self-healing platform meaning that it ensures no error is repeated and the company

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