[Startup Bharat] Chandigarh-based Cakenest is building an end-to-end platform for home bakers and buyers

Chandigarh-based startup Cakenest is an end-to-end platform to help home bakers grow their business. It also lets buyers place orders for customised cakes.

No occasion — big or small — is complete without a cake.

These days, several artisanal home bakers are setting up across India. While they can bake desserts to perfection, they often find it hard to compete with established commercial bakeries. Most of these home bakers also lack an online presence and often have limited reach.

Co-founders of Cakenest: Nitika and Nitin Sharma

In 2019, IT professional Nitin Sharma and his wife Nitika Sharma, a chartered accountant, launched Cakenest to provide a platform for home bakers that can help them work and flourish. The duo, without any prior baking experience, saw the challenges faced by home bakers and decided to help them out.

“Cakenest is a holistic and conclusive platform for home bakers to help them gain visibility, reach, and business. We also help customers search home bakers nearby for homemade customised cakes,” says Co-founder Nitin.

Supporting home bakers

Nitika says, “Almost 98 percent of home bakers in India are women. In their aim to be independent and self-sufficient, women are honing their talents in baking and working from their homes. They make use of basic ingredients and equipment and work their magic to create delicious desserts.”

Initially started on Instagram and Facebook at the end of 2018, Cakenest launched a website and registered the company in August 2019 after seeing increased traction.

“Cakenest is empowering such women by standing with them in every step of the process. The team aims to improve everything from their baking process to promoting their products, and every step in between,” she adds.

At present, the startup has over 1.9 lakh followers on Instagram, and more than 3,200 followers on Facebook.

According to the founders, each Cakenest baker has access to thousands of viewers, which helps them get the reach and visibility they deserve. Cakenest experts also offer quick and effective solutions for all issues — big or small.

How it works

A home baker can register on the Cakenest platform on a quarterly or yearly subscription. The startup then helps home bakers set up their business presence online on social media platforms to generate more business.

For buyers, Cakenest acts as an on-demand homemade customised cake delivery platform. The customers can simply contact the startup via message, WhatsApp or call, and share their complete requirements including the reference design, flavour, quantity, etc., with complete address for home delivery.

Cakenest has collaborated with over 200 home bakers till now

The team then searches for the perfect home baker in a nearby area, who has experience relevant to the client's requirements and budget, and is available to take the order.

For customers, the cake prices on the website vary from city to city and baker to baker. On average, it can range from Rs 1,500 per kg and can go up to Rs 4,000 per kg, depending upon the design requirements.

Theme-based custom homemade cake designs attract the young generation as special gifts for their special ones. In the beginning, we saw orders coming majorly from the metro cities with high spending capacity, but over the period, we have seen a growth in the demand for customised cakes from small cities as well,” Nitin says.

Cakenest claims that its USP lies in offering a complete solution to a home baker so that they can concentrate on their main work — baking.

Revenue model

Cakenest makes its revenue from subscriptions, commissions, and business solutions.

“We also work with non-collaborated bakers on a commission basis. We provide other business solutions, including branding, advertising, packaging, promotions, and development, as per the need of a home baker,” says Nitika.

The baking industry in India was worth $8 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow exponentially, say reports.

Cakenest saw rising interest on its platform amidst the pandemic. As people started to order from home bakers rather than bakeries due to hygiene and other factors, this resulted in a hike in business.

The platform also saw an increase in the number of collaborations with home bakers as many people took to baking professionally during the lockdown.

“We are providing our services to all major cities across India and are expanding daily. We have over 200 home bakers collaborating with us from 50 different cities across India. We have served around 800 happy customers, including TV stars, IPL players, and renowned bloggers,” says Nitin.

The team claims to have crossed over Rs 1.5 million in revenue in 2020.

Plans ahead

In the next couple of years, Cakenest plans to expand its family of home bakers to around 500 and grow its presence to around 100 cities in India.

Additionally, the startup is expanding its horizons, forming tie-ups with party planners, bakery suppliers, bakery classes providers, and even cake photographers. All this is a part of Cakenest’s plans of offering a complete experience to customers and home bakers.

The startup is also working towards creating a free learning platform for home bakers to upskill themselves.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta