You would expect Karthik Jayaraman to be familiar with the nitty-gritty of sourcing agricultural products from around the country. It is, after all, the raison d’etre of WayCool Foods and Products, the five-year-old startup he co-founded. The company procures fruit and vegetables, dairy, and staples like rice and lentils from farmers across 12 Indian states, and sells to hotels, restaurants, and retailers.
Despite this, India’s Byzantine agriculture laws sometimes leave Jayaraman at a loss. Since agriculture is a state subject, the rules for marketing of produce vary widely across states depending on the crop. “I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t understand all the rules,” Jayaraman says candidly.