Investor to entrepreneur: How focusing on the consumer at Rebel Foods helped Revant Bhate build Mosaic Wellness
focuses on redefining the Indian wellness market, and recently launched brands Man Matters and Body Wise.
In this episode of Matrix Moments, Co-founder Revant Bhate speaks to Sanjoth Malhi, Director and Lead - Consumer Sector at Matrix Partners India, on the transition from investor to founder, what it takes to build a consumer brand in India, and the problem they aim to solve.
“When I got into VC, we used to talk about consumer brands. In 2019, we realised that venture investing in consumer brands was not the best kind of investment that VCs could make in India. That was simply because of the nonlinearity rate or due to the network effects that didn’t exist in such kinds of businesses,” Revant says.
He explains that true VC returns happen when the outcomes are big. So, there is now a line of thought that pushes for more VC investments in houses of brands.
The Rebel Foods journey
“That’s how I got into Rebel Foods. After one brand, we need another one to scale more. So, we thought, what if we just start building all of them right from day one? And though it was a pseudo-investment thought process, I think the more people I met and discussed the idea with, the more I realised that this was, in fact, a great idea. But you should build it only if you’re passionate about it,” Revant says.
That is how Mosaic Wellness came into being.
Revant says that it was during the Rebel Foods days that he understood the focus on customer satisfaction. He says while food services was a $50 billion market, most restaurants struggled to scale, and the team had to think out of the box.
“It is why while we kept pivoting, we also kept realising that if you had a ‘customer backwards’ view, you would eventually find a model that scales with the consumer,” Revant says.
He adds that this thought process led him to think about health and wellness differently.
Reimagining health and wellness
Revant explains that there were a large number of horizontals – product plays, distribution plays, services plays, etc. But, when they looked at the customer view, they realised most customers had a few problems for which they were looking for solutions.
“They were going from platform to platform or business to business, and each of these had friction and didn’t give the best experience to the consumer. That’s why we thought of reimagining health and wellness a little differently, from a customer-backwards view,” he says.
This required the team to build a full-stack model where they distribute, and offer products and services. “It may be a very hard execution, but it may be the best thing for the customer, who doesn’t care if your distribution or services are very hard,” Revant says.
This thesis got him to focus on Mosaic Wellness.
“You have to look at consumer segments and personas, as well as their likes and dislikes. While we may see it as a house of brands, what we’re effectively doing is looking at specific consumer segments and solving health and wellness for each persona,” he adds.
The idea is to keep solving different problems until each persona is solved for and catered to.
“Failing is a possibility, but at least, we’ve started on that journey, which has been okay. Hopefully, we can continue for a couple of years unless we find that we need to pivot to something else in due course,” Revant signs off.
Listen to the podcast here.