How this healthy snacks startup faced off against industry giants

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In a market over-crowded with traditional players along with recent entrants introducing healthy snack bar options, healthy snacks startup Befikar identified a gap and decided to challenge the status quo.

But Dhairik Fuletra, Founder and CEO at Befikar, hadn’t always planned working in this sector. Speaking at The Success Edition, an initiative by Kotak Mahindra Bank and YourStory, he says, “I wanted to explore more sectors and find out the right sector for me.” He worked in various fields only to realise that he enjoyed working in the consumer sector the most. So, he quit his job at a global management consulting firm to begin his startup journey.

The following four months were spent in market research. It was during this time when Dhairik learnt that customers wanted a healthy lifestyle. They were following diets and exercising to be healthier. But the same customer wouldn’t make those healthy decisions when purchasing snacks. This was a gap that he wanted to address. The team learnt three lessons - Indian customers want products that are tasty, they want products that are relatable and Indians are very price conscious. Dhairik reveals that they came up with products that were highly indulgent and fast moving like nachos, peanuts and makhanas. “We wanted to bring the same product along with better nutrition. Nutrition that comes in the form of protein, vitamins, fiber, and we wanted to offer it at the best price possible,” he says.

The team first reached out to offline markets. The biggest advantage was they were very close to the customer and got accurate feedback. The team started with peanuts and customers asked them to add nachos and makhanas, and that's how their portfolio grew. "As a brand, now that we have more confidence in our products, we've started venturing into e-commerce, modern retail and these accounts have started picking up on sales,” Dhairik says. But the recent pandemic forced them to alter their plans. As most of their Tier I markets were badly impacted, they started reaching out to Tier II and smaller towns. During that time ecommerce platforms helped them scale really well.

But like any startup, having a good support system was important. In that aspect, Kotak Mahindra Bank has been one of their strongest support pillars. “One of the biggest services we are leveraging is bulk payments which makes payments of salaries, payments of vendors smoother,” Dhairik says, adding that the bank also has a maker-checker system, where an employee can raise a payment for a vendor and Dhairik can just approve it without being in office. “Another thing is the UI/UX of the platform is really good, it’s very intuitive even when you’re operating from the phone. Kotak has done very well for us in a personal and commercial capacity,” he says.

Speaking about the financial planning required, he says the team always plans well ahead of time. “When your finances are fundamentally clear, your vendor payments, your team expenses and payments that you receive from suppliers are moving really fast, you are in a position to experiment. And when you can experiment more, the company can grow,” he says. Currently, Befikar is looking to grow in the online market; one they have never invested in before. “In the next 12-18 months, our online to offline split should be 60:40 ratio. 60 inclined towards online growth. That’s something we are working on,” he says.

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The views expressed by the speaker in this video are personal. This video is for information purposes only.


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