Kapiva leading the way in encouraging India to eat natural and healthy

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Posted On : 10th, February 2020


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Startup Event

Kapiva leading the way in encouraging India to eat natural and healthy

10th, February 2020    -    Startup Event


Kapiva has consolidated a strong market position as a niche producer of naturally sourced products in the functional foods industry. Starting off as a chain of Ayurveda clinic models, Kapiva forayed into the booming Indian food manufacturing segment. Our team connected with the Founders of Kapiva for an interview to know their journey so far.

 

 

S.J: Please introduce the core team of Kapiva to our readers.

Kapiva: We are two entrepreneurs leading Kapiva – myself (Ameve) and Shrey, my co-founder. I am closely involved in the Baidyanath group – my 103-year old family business, of which I represent the third generation. I completed my MBA from INSEAD and then worked with McKinsey in Mumbai for a while. Shrey, a Cambridge graduate, has an in-depth background in consulting and private equity, having worked for the likes of Bain Capital and Parthenon Group.

 

The rest of the leadership team at Kapiva comprises talented and experienced professionals from companies such as Pepsico, Piramal Healthcare, Times Group, Tata Group, etc. and graduates from reputed institutions like IITs, XLRI, MICA, Delhi University, and others.

 

S.J: Can you describe what Kapiva is in terms of brand and its value proposition?

Kapiva: Kapiva is a functional foods brand focused on bringing selectively-sourced, natural foods to Indian consumers. Backed by the iconic Baidyanath group, we aim to combine the wisdom of India’s ancient food traditions with modern-day technology, for young Indian consumers. With Kapiva, we are enabling people to enhance their dietary regime.


The USP of Kapiva products lies in our proven ability to procure the highest quality and best-in-class ingredients. The unique sourcing story behind each product demonstrates the utmost care and detailed thought that goes into bringing the product to the consumer. People are willing to pay a premium to ensure that their family consumes only natural and authentic products.


S.J: Please share the complete product portfolio of Kapiva.

Kapiva: Kapiva’s product portfolio comprises herbal juices (such as Wild Amla Juice, Thar Aloe Vera Juice, Wheatgrass Juice), plant-based nutrition, cold-pressed oils, high-quality staples (such as A2 Desi Cow Ghee, Organic Ghee, Wild Honey) and herbal supplements in the form of gummies and capsules



S.J: Mr. Ameve, you are from a Family business background and also worked with some renowned company, and Mr. Shrey, you are from the Corporate environment. Please share your entrepreneurial journey.

Kapiva: I am closely involved in the Baidyanath group – my 103-year old family business, of which I represent the third generation. I completed my MBA from INSEAD and then worked with McKinsey in Mumbai for a while. I thought there was considerable scope to create a diversified Ayurvedic product portfolio and make the ancient Indian life science an integral part of day-to-day life. We often think of Ayurveda as a “cure” or “medicine.” But Ayurveda is actually a lifestyle. This realization was the inspiration for me to take the entrepreneurial plunge and launch Kapiva in 2016.


To set up Kapiva, I joined hands with Shrey Badhani, my co-founder. A Cambridge graduate, he worked with Bain Capital, one of the multi-asset alternative investment firms in the world, looking after private equity investments in India and Southeast Asia. Shrey has also worked in consulting at Bain and Parthenon.

 

S J: How was your initial experience in the Indian market? Did you see any change in the

Kapiva: consumer preference towards a shift in food consumption?

We initially started as a chain of Ayurveda clinics and pivoted to the current model a couple of years ago. We’ve noticed consumer preferences strengthening around Indian-origin products, mainly when they are sourced well and kept as close to nature as possible.


Customers appreciate the purity of Kapiva products – in taste or freshness, as well as the quality of ingredients. For example, our Wild Honey is procured directly from dense forest regions and is completely unprocessed, thus retaining high nutritional value. Customers appreciate Kapiva’s focus on sourcing only the best and the purest. The herbal juices range leads the category in most channels, with Kapiva’s Wheatgrass Juice being very popular. Kapiva A2 Ghee is also very popular.

 

S J: Indian F&B sector is dominated by western food. What made you both to bring back Indian food style?

Kapiva: The modern-day consumer has realized the importance of eating clean, right, and healthy. Consumers now also appreciate the importance of eating indigenous foods that are sourced within India. They realize that there is a wealth of wisdom in our roots, which can be leveraged for better health. That’s where the products of Kapiva come into play. The key is Balance. The name KaPiVa comes from the Three doshas of Ayurveda – Kapha, Pitta, Vata – which, when balanced, mean holistic health for an individual. Kapiva endeavors to bring Balance into customers’ lives through products whose quality isn’t compromised in the least bit.


S J: Tell our reader about the functional food market in India: scope and growth opportunities.

Kapiva: The potential of the functional foods category is limitless, hence exciting. China, Southeast Asia, and India are all rapidly growing functional food markets, each experiencing growth in double digits. With a CAGR of 17.1 percent, the Indian market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2020 end. The market of functional food in India is still at a nascent stage, untapped, catering mostly to sophisticated city dwellers, including the young population of dual-income households. The steady growth in this sector can be attributed to the rising income and growing awareness of healthier eating among the urban population.


The high incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and arthritis in India is also increasing the demand for functional food. And if the quality served is phenomenal, there’s no looking back.


S J: How was your initial experience in the Indian market? Did you see any change in the consumer preference towards a shift in food consumption?

Kapiva: We initially started as a chain of Ayurveda clinics, and pivoted to the current model a couple of years ago. We’ve noticed consumer preferences strengthening around Indian-origin products, especially when they are sourced well and kept as close to nature as possible.


Customers appreciate the purity of Kapiva products – in taste or freshness, as well as the quality of ingredients. For example, our Wild Honey is procured directly from dense forest regions and is completely unprocessed, thus retaining high nutritional value. Customers appreciate Kapiva’s focus on sourcing only the best and the purest. The herbal juices range leads the category in most channels, with Kapiva’s Wheatgrass Juice being very popular. Kapiva A2 Ghee is also very popular.

 

S J: You raised $2.5 million in the first round of investment. How did you use the fund, and what are your plans for the future ?

Kapiva: In January 2019, Kapiva raised USD 2.5 million in a Series A round from institutional investors. The round was led by Fireside Ventures with participation from Mohandas Pai’s Family Office, Madhu Kela, Duesberg Bosson, and GITS Foods.


The market for pure, natural products, which keep nutritional benefits intact, is expanding rapidly. We intend to serve this growing market by scaling presence in all our channels (retail stores, modern trade, online marketplaces, and our direct-to-consumer channel). At the same time, there are continued efforts in exploring more product categories, where the ability to source the best quality ingredients could help improve the customer’s lifestyle. For example, plant-based nutrition and cold-pressed oils are interesting categories, as there is an opportunity to provide better quality products in this space. Cracking the breakfast and snacks category is another exciting area.

 

S J: The demand-supply – how to make it sustainable to address the depletion of natural resources. Can you share your experience?

Kapiva: The issue of resource depletion is a challenge for many product categories due to over-exploitation. As a business that relies on natural produce, we are mindful of the need to expand sustainably. We do this by aligning ourselves with the lifecycle of the resource. This means extracting the resource in the right seasons and reasonable quantities. For example, while procuring wild honey from dense forests, only up to 30% of the honeycomb is taken at a time. This ensures that the bee-hive can replenish itself quicker.

We also take care to sensitize and support our suppliers by investing in training or providing technical support.

 

S J: What are the challenges you faced in your entrepreneurial journey? How did you overcome those challenges?

Kapiva: Kapiva initially started as a chain of Ayurvedic clinics, which also sold high-quality products. Pivoting from that clinic model to the current FMCG model was a challenge, and it was overcome successfully. In the early months, we also faced challenges with growing the team. But as more people heard about our mission, our team has been expanding, and I’m very proud of the talented set of people working at Kapiva. From our first, small 400 square foot shared office, and we’ve come a long way!

 

Currently, expanding distribution through all our channels is a challenge we are excited to work on. Ensuring we always deliver innovative, differentiated products to our customers is an ongoing challenge, of course. For example, in our herbal juices portfolio, we worked hard to get a superior quality product by sourcing from the best locations in India (our Amlas come from a specific area of UP and are sourced only during November to March when they are ripe) and processing the ingredients in the right way (those Amlas are then cold-pressed to retain maximum nutrition). I think we have done an excellent job of addressing this challenge so far, and continue to do so every day.

 

S J: What is your advice to the people who want to start their own business?

Kapiva: You need to be passionate about what you are doing. That will drive you to your end mission and motivate you to get out of your bed every day and make a change. In the pursuit of bringing change, we should stay true to our origin, our roots, and never compromise on quality. I’ve found this philosophy to be most applicable when it comes to product development. It’s crucial that product strategy focuses on quality, and adding value to the customer, first and foremost.

 

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