Meet five women entrepreneurs who are disrupting the Indian foodtech space

From vending machines dispensing home-cooked meals to automatic roti-making technology, to leading an online restaurant and food delivery platform, these women entrepreneurs are disrupting the foodtech space with their unique offerings.

10th Apr 2020
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The foodtech space has been brimming with activity and innovation in the past few years. It’s a booming industry and according to a report by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the foodtech sector in India is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 to 30 percent to $8 billion by the end of 2022.


Interestingly, foodtech startups have taken advantage of modern technology like the internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) to power their businesses into the future. 


Here are five women who are redefining the foodtech industry in the country.    

Daalchini

Based in Delhi-NCR, foodtech startup Daalchini aims to make home-cooked Indian food available anytime anywhere through its IoT-based vending machines called DaalchiniHut.


Prerna Kalra, Co-founder, Daalchini



The idea to start up happened when Prerna Kalra found it difficult to prepare everyday tiffin for her three-year-old daughter as a working mother. At the same time, she also saw that most young working professionals found it hard to source healthy, home-cooked food. 


Today, the vending machine with an in-built heating zone offers food like soya masala crackers, Maharashtrian chivda, wholesome daal paratha, Parsi cake rusk, green peas mini samosa, gobi manchurian, vegetable biryani, homemade multigrain cookies, and vada pav with sauce, among others.


The food is prepared and supplied through a network of tiffin service providers.


Prior to starting up, the entrepreneur worked in fintech startups like FINOPaytech and Paytm where she took charge of managing day-to-day operations, acting as a relationship manager for banking partners, and liaising with regulators. Prerna has also filed a patent for offline payment using QRcode within Paytm.


Zelish

Founded by Saakshi Jain with Rakesh Edavalath and Arpit Joseph in April 2019, Bengaluru-based Zelish is helping users do away with tedious meal planning and grocery shopping processes. 


Zelish aids the user in planning meals, shopping, and cooking as well. After the user answers a few questions on meal preferences, the app will draw up a plan, with the necessary ingredients to prepare them and simultaneously auto-fill the grocery shopping list. After the supplies are delivered, the app assists with instructions on how to cook as well. 


Launched commercially last month, the startup also made it to the BSH Future of Home Accelerator powered by US-based Techstars.


Having tied-up with local kiranas and supermarkets, the startup usually delivers within 24 hours but the duration is currently delayed due to nationwide lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic.

Dash

What you see is what you get. This is the concept behind Dash, a product of Idea Chakki, co-founded by Monica Narula and Noopur Tiwari along with Gunjan Mehrish. 


DASH

Gunjan Mehrish, Noopur Tiwari and Monica Narula of DASH





Ideated in 2015 and backed by renowned industrialist and investor Ratan Tata, the digital menu replaces a traditional menu, allowing diners to get a preview of the meal through bite-sized food videos called fideos. Usually, 15 seconds long, it showcases food just as it is available at the restaurant.


The co-founders, all former employees of NDTV and are no strangers to the world of food. Monica has previously created formats for shows like Chakh Le India, French Connection, and Highway On My Plate


With two decades of experience as a producer and director, Noopur is an award-winning journalist and an active entrepreneur who also founded Smashboard, a blockchain-based tech platform against sexual violence.


Claiming to be first-of-its-kind in India, some of Dash’s well-known clients include Marriott Hotel, Le Meridien, Mamagoto Restaurants, ITC Hotels, and Taj Hotels.

Zimplistic

Zimplistic

Pranoti Nagarkar, Founder of Zimplistic



Singapore-based foodtech startup Zimplistic is well-known for introducing automatic roti making technology, Rotimatic.  


Founder Pranoti Nagarkar, a mechanical engineer from the National University of Singapore (NTU), developed the prototype and won the Singapore Startup competition in 2009. Her husband and active entrepreneur Rishi Israni later came on board as a co-founder. 


A firm believer in simplifying any processes, Pranoti had earlier designed an automatic iron for shirts when she was a third-year student. 


Today, her Rotimatic innovation that makes fresh home-cooked roti with a single touch has garnered international attention and several rounds of funding from the Southeast Asian private equity fund Credence Partners and EDBI.


In 2015, the startup sold $5 million worth of rotis within a week of launching its beta version. 


FreshMenu

IIM-Ahmedabad graduate Rashmi Daga’s foodtech startup FreshMenu is among the few go-to online restaurants and food delivery services in the country. 


Freshmenu

Rashmi Daga, Founder of FreshMenu

Founded in 2014, at a time, when Domino’s was the only food brand offering online delivery service, FreshMenu hoped to capture the market with world cuisine. 


As of January 2019, the startup has grown to 27 kitchens across Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi.


However, this is not Rashmi’s first brush with business. She started an online curated art marketplace called afday.com in 2011. While it did clock a monthly revenue between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, she saw little scope for growth and shut it down after a year.


(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)

(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)

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