Headquartered out of Bangalore, Bhookha Haathi was founded in 2018 by Abhimanyu Rishi and Kusum Bhandari with an aim to build alternative foods & health based B2B2C nutraceutical-tech brand that helped consumers live a healthy lifestyle by offering them great tasting products to support their well-being. The company was founded on the vision to create products that help solve the widespread problem of tobacco chewing that continues to be a prevalent vice in modern India. Bhookha Haathi hopes to eradicate this century-old vice by offering a range of healthy dry-fruit based replacement products. They believe that a healthy lifestyle starts with selecting healthy food and are constantly thinking of their consumers, looking for innovative ways to help them make healthier food choices through their alternative food products.
Bhookha Haathi Replace takes its consumers one step closer to a healthier diet by offering them nutritious, wholesome and tasty choices as an alternative to the nutrient-deficient ingredients in their daily diet.
Sourced directly from farmers & producers their range of proprietary health food products celebrate pure, powerful, healing and health-promoting ingredients which are 100% natural and organic without any preservatives, added colours or artificial flavours. With the help of their proprietary AI (Artificial Intelligence) software Bhookha Haathi provides subscription-based personalized health solutions at an affordable cost to consumers who wish to substitute/replace their existing dependencies on consuming expensive, processed, strong and chemical-based medications to 100% natural compositions based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains & honey which not only cure many long term and hereditary diseases but at the same time also resolve many nutritional deficiencies and with no side effects at all.
As the Director of the company, Abhimanyu spearheads the management and growth of Bhookha Haathi, formulating long-term and short-term growth plans to enhance revenue and operations aligning with macro plans of the organization.
Abhimanyu has a unique ability to assess a company’s existing brand equity and to establish a leadership position driving strategic and exponential growth using traditional and new media capabilities. He has harnessed his networking capability to build strategic alliances, execute profitable & productive business relations and build an extensive client base.
During his diversified career, spanning over two decades Abhimanyu has established himself as an innovative marketing stalwart. His entrepreneurial spirit and vast expertise have enabled him to develop a keen insight into eCommerce business management, startup management and omnichannel sales & marketing.
He has held various management, leadership, and strategic level positions in his past stints with Snapdeal, Tastykhana and Styletag.
Kusum Bhandari, 42 years age – A seasoned advertising veteran, Kusum has over 18 years of experience bringing to life innovative concepts and delivering inventive brand right solutions. Through her previous experience, Kusum has earned a reputation as a stellar brand builder with a forte in digital storytelling and market-moving strategies.
At Bhookha Haathi Kusum serves as the brand custodian and is responsible for developing the corporate identity through the management of marketing, advertising and brand-related communications. She is actively involved in designing and implementing campaigns, programs and processes that will leverage the organizational identity, culture and growth.
Kusum also has a keen interest in food and is responsible for the R&D unit at Bhookha Haathi. She can be credited with the creation of a range of innovative and healthy products under the alternative foods umbrella.
Kusum has previously held various leadership and strategic level positions in her past stints with Images Bazaar, Triton Communications and Sahara Group. We are publishing an interview with the founders.
Q.: Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: Both the founders are from sports background and have represented their sport at a national level platform. They are strong believers of natural health care and feel that there is a lack of existing products and services within the domain. That is where the idea of the startup stemmed from. Their first inspiration came from the need to help people replace their existing unhealthy and harmful chewing habits. With around 232 Million tobacco users in India, out of which 30% are into the habit of chewing tobacco, Bhookha Haathi has a vision for 2050 where it would want to reduce the consumption of tobacco amongst these users by more than 50%. Also, there is a need to limit the consumption of unhealthy mouth fresheners which are full of additives, preservatives and cannot claim to be 100% natural. Additionally, the company wants to focus on incorporating natural supplements for the health-conscious millennial, fitness freaks and sports enthusiasts who have primarily been dependent on synthetic compositions of proteins, minerals, vitamins etc.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: Bhookha Haathi Replace takes its consumers one step closer to a healthier diet by offering them nutritious, wholesome and tasty choices as an alternative to the nutrient-deficient ingredients in their daily diet. Dry-fruits are a great source of energy, proteins, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Our popular range of dry-fruit and nut-based health boosters are a great alternative to unnatural protein, vitamin and other powders commonly available in the market. Consumers can also choose from our range of specialty honey that is a healthy replacement for the sugars used in tea, coffee and other daily usages. Sourced directly from farmers and producers, our range of proprietary health food products celebrate pure, powerful, healing and health-promoting ingredients which are 100% natural and organic without any preservatives, added colours or artificial flavours. With the help of our proprietary AI (Artificial Intelligence) software Bhookha Haathi provides subscription-based personalized health solutions at an affordable cost to consumers who wish to substitute/replace their existing dependencies on consuming expensive, processed, strong and chemical-based medications to 100% natural compositions based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains & honey which not only cures many long term and hereditary diseases but at the same time also resolves many nutritional deficiencies and with no side effects at all.
a. Dry-Fruit Health Booster – Starter Pack (100% Natural daily health booster for sports, fitness and health enthusiast)
b. Pro Health Booster – (packs for gym, yoga and bicycling experts)
c. Dry-Fruit Refresher (for healthy chewing habits,works well as a digestive too – 100% natural and healthy)
d. Organic & Raw Honey infused with various flavours
a. Personalised subscription plans for consumers who want to replace their existing dependencies on unhealthy, strong and chemical based medications/diets
b. Family health assistant-based services
Being strong believers of sample/testing first, all products were launched with sampling -by providing free products and subscriptions to a set of 100 customers who were largely within the network of the directors of Bhookha Haathi.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: Our major differentiator is that we are an B2B2C tech startup which provides AI enabled, personalized health solutions and products to our clients which includes various distributors, wholesalers, medical practitioners, consumers, gym, bicyclists, sports and health enthusiasts, etc.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: Our ideal customer is one who is a health enthusiast and who wishes to substitute/replace his/her existing dependencies on consuming expensive, processed, strong and chemical-based medications to 100% natural compositions.
Q.7 b: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it?
Ans: While we have not crossed paths with any failure yet, however we have certainly faced many challenges. One of our major challenges from the product sales side has been to convince the wholesaler, stockist, distributor and few independent super markets to not perceive our products like any other dry-fruit, nuts and herbs based mixture since the awareness of nutraceutical is very low amongst this community. We were able to overcome the same by starting our own hyper local distribution network and directly reaching out to the interested clients and communities.
The nutraceutical industry itself is very new in India and has limitations in terms of guidelines and most of the time we have to self create/implement our own guidelines in-order to provide quality products and best scientifically backed solutions to our consumers. We hope that in the days to come there will be more flexibility and help from various government bodies to collectively overcome these teething challenges and help more nutraceutical start-ups to carve their way out for better and competitive consumer services and experiences.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc.? Explain your thought process.
Ans: While building our proprietary technology will cost us a lot of monies, however all our products and services are currently affordably priced so that any one who would like to replace their existing dependencies on strong chemical based compositions for long term ailments can benefit from our products. Our model is a based on freemium offerings where we provide entry level medical consultations & some routine blood tests free of cost. Once the results and use cases are generated from the medical reports, we then encourage our customers to go for nutraceutical subscriptions that ranges from a period of 3 to 12 months.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: Our first set of customers were obtained out of hyperlocal community level activations, where we had targeted the health-conscious communities like bicycling, gym, yoga and fitness enthusiasts.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: We are a bootstrapped/ Self-funded start-up however we do have plans to raise investment in the coming months to scale up our operations, increase customer base and furthermore advance our proprietary AI technology.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it.?
Ans: We have various success stories ranging from customers to retailers, where customers were able to benefit and get rid of various allergies, nutritional deficiencies, etc based on our product subscriptions within the desired time frame and without any side effects which were otherwise very common while they were on other medications. We also have success stories where a few of our pan wala retailers had felt good about the fact that they were able to help consumers get rid of the tobacco chewing habit because of our product being available on the shelves.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Automating the AI technology to a two-way API based technology where other partners can lease our proprietary solutions for a minimal cost to enhance their consumer health and experiences with the help of multiple interactive services. We are working towards providing medical assistance at affordable rates.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? What is the current turnover? (From Launching till date total no. of visitors on website/persons registered/enquiries and enrollment). Please explain in details:
Ans: Across all our products & services we have our current customer base around 35k. We have generated 14k pre sales orders from US markets. The company also has aggressive plans and strategies to expand to various other international markets.
We have seen growth to 10x since inception with around INR 4+ Cr as revenues. We made revenues of INR 30 lakh in FY 17-18, INR 1.34 Cr in FY 18-19 and 2.5 Cr in FY 19-20. We are a profit-making company with gross profits ranging anywhere between 13% to 17% y.o.y. We target to close FY 20-21 between INR 5 Cr to 7 Cr.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: As of now most of the players are focused on either being a food-tech or health/service-tech in the nutraceutical industry. We being the first to emerge into the end to end space which is from service to product delivery in form of personalised subscriptions, have an upper hand in the time to come. Most of the credit goes to our proprietary technology and products that are going to play to our core advantage on the way forward.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skillsets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.
Ans: Currently we have the entire company being managed by both the directors, however recently we have started adding various industry experts to our team whose onboardings shall be announced at a later time. We have finalised various CXO level profiles for our core team ranging from technology, sales, marketing, customer success, operations and more. Each leader of our core team comes with an experience of more than 2 decades with a minimum of last 10 years at a management level position.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: Currently, there is no direct competitor for us as we are the only company in India which is providing end to end products; from medical consulting to delivery of personalised nutraceuticals. Although we do believe that during our journey ahead, we will cross ways with companies like Nestle, Amway, etc. who are currently dominant in the existing market space. However, as said earlier, these companies are not of much competition to us, as we are more focused on 100% natural personalised nutraceuticals with the help of our AI & ML technology.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: Our immediate goal is to increase our user market share (in terms of number of subscribers) to approx. half a million.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: Live the dream you believe in.