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Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajgopal & Ranodeep Saha Launch ‘Rare Planet’ To Empower Rural India

A lot of startups these days are growing around a social agenda. Modern entrepreneurs are looking beyond just profits and balance sheets. Rare planet, a Kolkata-based start-up that sells regional Indian handicrafts made by artisans, is building an ever-growing presence while making artisans’ livelihood better at the same time.

Ranodeep Saha & Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajagopal

Ranodeep Saha, co-founder says “We have gone every extra mile to ensure our artisans are well taken care of since they are the soul of Rare Planet.”

Let us take a look at the various initiatives by Rare Planet that contribute to the society and well-being of our local craftsmen.

Financial assistance

The rapidly growing startup has set up a community of karigars, who are extended low-interest loans or financial assistance in case they have to spend on a family emergency or have to purchase a new vehicle for carrying out their work smoothly. This has ensured that they have a backup in difficult times such as Covid and the multiple lockdowns

Covid care

There were instances when some of the craftsmen and their families were infected with Covid-19. In such times, they were provided medical assistance and telephonic consultation facilities with doctors. 

Har Ghar Durga

The #HarGharDurga campaign was launched during the Durga Puja celebrations in 2020.  “This year, Durga Puja festivities were largely limited to small gatherings inside the homes of people. Smaller Durga idols sold very well. We launched this campaign primarily to recognize and celebrate the immense contribution of women artisans who have always done their best in hand-making our products,” adds Ranodeep.

Rare Planet was founded by Ranodeep when he was a first-year engineering student. At that time, he was the only one running the operations and generating sales. But with time, the start-up received funding from several quarters and grew in size and numbers.

In 2019, Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajagopal, a retail operations veteran joined as co-founder. Rare Planet has continued to be on the growth track, by recently receiving generous funding from two venture capital firms. It is currently valued at over 100 crores. Saha and Kumar plan to reserve a sizable portion of these funds towards the betterment of the artisans and to create a safe and conducive environment for them. 

With Vijaya Kumar on board, Ranodeep is more confident about the upcoming growth Rare Planet is hoping to see. “He is a mentor, partner, and guide. Just the kind of experience Rare Planet needs to meet the expectations we have,” says Ranodeep Saha. 

He further adds “We’ve come a long way since 2015. Now with a bigger staff strength and a partner like Vijaya Kumar, I am more confident and hopeful. With Rare Planet, we want to see India’s most vulnerable sections growing as well. This market is not leveraged at all. We want to do this. We’re very excited!” With over 6 crores of annual revenue, the company employs over 10,000 artisans directly or indirectly. Soon, they aim to bring employment to over a million artisans and create even better products.

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