Bengaluru-based bootstrapped startup Snackit rents out vending machines stacked with healthy snack options and beverages to corporates, and claims to clock up over 4,000 transactions each day.
Sukumar Shetty raises his head from the desk with a feeling of utter satisfaction. The task that was bothering him for a week has finally been completed. Hunger pangs make him look at his watch. It’s past four, and he’s missed lunch.
The office cafeteria will be closed and food won’t be easy to find as his office is in a tech park. Not for the first time Sukumar wonders what it would be like to get snacks and food whenever he wants.
It was to solve problem like these that 28-year-old Ashish Nimodia started Snackit, a startup that installs snack vending machines at corporate houses.
Apart from storing regular snacks, these machines also vend healthier options like oat cookies, jalapeno peanuts, fruit medleys and granola bars.
Started in Bengaluru in October 2015, Snackit promises 24/7 service and quick replenishments, ensuring that companies have a continuous flow of snacks and beverages through day or night.
“Our main focus is to ensure that energy levels are high at the workplace all the time, and this can be achieved by ensuring that the nutritional needs of your employees are satiated. Our snack and beverage vending machines are just smart and offer healthy options,” Ashish says.
The 4pm snack demon
Being a corporate banker and having worked in the financial services sector for over six years, Ashish understood the stress that comes with fast-paced jobs.
Explaining his constant food struggle, Ashish explains, “All of us probably have such manic days at times. The cafeteria is closed, the only option are some tuck shops selling unhealthy food options but there’s a long queue there as well as it is already tea time.”
Ashish says generic options such as chips and soda provide no nutritional value.
“This was becoming a part of my routine, and I realised that snacking has to be quick but healthy too.”
He adds that close to 40 percent employees end up spending more than 60 minutes of their time during lunch and a discontinuous 1.5 to 2 hours in ordering a quick bite from their canteen and waiting for the order to process.
That’s where Snackit comes into the picture.
Ashish initially started Snackit with just one support team member. For months, the two-member team worked tirelessly to ensure that they were able to provide what corporates needed.
“Each day we both travelled across the city, replenishing stock and currency at each vending machine to ensure quickest turnaround and reduced refill time. We worked hard to implement the latest vending machine technology and accentuate the product segment,” Ashish says.
When the Snackit idea came to Ashish, he began researching on where he could procure the machines. After consulting some experts, decided to procure machines from the US.
He first thought of on-boarding clients and getting the machine but the idea didn’t go down well. So with the little savings he had, he ordered two vending machines worth Rs 2.2 lakh.
Over the years, the client base of Snackit started to grow and there was an increasing need to maintain supply, procure products on time and market the business venture through the right channels. The team has grown to keep pace and currently comprises 10 people.
…and scaling up
The team refused to share revenue details, but their main source of revenue is the monthly rental of the vending machines — anywhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 18,000 a month. The team, which claims to have over 4,000 transactions on a daily basis, also earns a margin from the products sold from the vending machine. Says Ashish,
We install vending machines close to workstations and earn revenue from renting them out. We are presently associated with corporates and have a top-notch clientele, including global e-commerce companies, banks, hotels, call centres, IT and education sector.
Snackit has expanded services to cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai, and is planning to enter Delhi-NCR soon.
The core team currently comprises operations head Rajesh; nutritionist Monika, and Prathap and Vinod, who manage the finances.
Ashish believes that the future of vending “lies in tailored on-demand services”.
“Our vision is to move to other segments of vending such as vending IT assets, FMCG and medicines once we make a mark in the ready food industry,” he says.
The concept of vending machines to ensure healthy eating and snacking is in its nascent stages in India, but the trend is huge in the US.
An article in Forbes stated that healthy vending machines in companies might just be the future of snacking. Citing an example of a company, H.U.M.A.N. Vending Machine, the article stated that the company has over 1,500 machines across 40 states. The company is set to double its revenue this year, and is on course to generate close to $12 million.
In India, bigger brands like Café Coffee Day and Nestle have already installed beverage vending machines in several offices.
Speaking about the future of Snackit, Ashish says: ““We are looking forward to going cashless in the near future. We will focus on an app-based technology for payments. The idea is to promote the digital system. This will also help us to effectively manage our cash inflow and outflow, since we are a self-funded startup.”