Corporate lessons helped Vasudha Mohan launch her entrepreneurial journey
Since childhood, Vasudha Mohan knew that she wanted to join her parents’ business. However, it wasn’t until 18 years after graduating that she joined them. Why? Because she wanted to learn how bigger firms ran their businesses and then went on to implement those lessons to her family venture.
“As a kid, I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I also wanted exposure and to learn. So, I chose the brands that I could learn from and worked with them. I learnt all about their systems and processes, before turning an entrepreneur,” says Vasudha, who runs Bhogaraju Foods Pvt Limited in Bengaluru, along with her mother.
Taste of success
An MBA graduate, Vasudha spent two decades working in the IT, banking and telecom sectors. She was always inspired by her parent’s efficient business skills in running their company — Diet Foods Pvt Ltd — which used to sell homemade products like pickles. Six years after its launch, the company moved to the B2B segment and started supplying to canteens of companies and educational institutes in 1990. Vasudha formally joined her parents by forming Bhogaraju Foods in 2018 with her mother.
Wanting to scale operations, Vasudha started a production facility in Bengaluru in 2019 by taking out a loan of Rs 1 crore. Over the next one year, she went on to add more B2B clients, set up a distribution network and entered the retail market with the soft launch of Bhogaraju Foods. By 2019-20, the combined total revenue of Bhogaraju Foods and Lakshmi Foods had reached Rs 1.4 crore, rising to Rs 2.5 crore by 2020-21. The entrepreneur is proud of the fact that 95 percent of her employees are women.
Bhogaraju Foods’ product range currently includes pickles, spice powders, chutney powders, sauces, pastes, purees and a ready-to-eat range. Vasudha plans to add sauces, jams and sports nutrition products to the range in future.
Fighting the odds
While businesses across the country came to a standstill due to the pandemic, Bhogaraju Foods saw a silver lining. “We are a food supplying company, so we were allowed to function during the lockdowns. But, because most of our clients were B2B companies and were shut, we suffered some losses. However, Lakshmi Foods’ website was launched in 2018. So, whatever we lost, we made up in online sales. Also, there were no salary cuts and we didn’t have to let anybody go. When the men in the families of our employees were losing their jobs, the women still had theirs. It made us feel good that we were helping so many women take care of their families.”
The company is eyeing a market share in the kirana shop space and wants to supply to defence canteens as well.
Vasudha feels that the GAME Xcelerator Bangalore programme is the right opportunity to learn how to achieve the targets she has set for Bhogaraju Foods. Xcelerator Bangalore seeks to promote and support women-led businesses in Bengaluru by way of providing investor connect opportunities and mentoring. Vasudha says that during the programme she would want to learn how to take things forward. “It would be nice to have a mentor with whom I could bounce some ideas off,” she says.
Xcelerator Bangalore aims at accelerating the growth of women-owned, non-IT businesses in Bengaluru. It provides support to the women entrepreneurs to learn, collaborate and network with various stakeholders through a multitude of workshops, learning and mentoring sessions. This series highlights the work of 24 women entrepreneurs who will be participating in the first cohort of the Xcelerator Bangalore programme.