[100 Emerging Women Leaders] The story of Swee10 and how Anvitha Rao flourished in the food and wellness space

By Sindhu Kashyaap
August 12, 2022, Updated on : Tue Aug 16 2022 03:57:00 GMT+0000
From a career and education in AI and ML to launching a food brand Swee10, Anvitha Rao talks about her journey of moving from her love of Machine Learning and Analytics to starting up in the food space.
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When Anvitha Rao founded Swee10 in October 2019, she had already worked in her dream city New York and was back in Bengaluru, hoping to do something new. Having started out as an engineer, she realised that she loved data and analytics, so doing a Masters in Machine Learning (ML) and Analytics was the next logical step. 

“Food has always been a passion but it somehow never came to my mind that I would do something in the food space. I thought I would do something in the data space,” she shares.

Her job in data analytics pertained to the marketing space in New York, which she always perceived to be her ultimate dream. But somehow, it did not turn out to be as fulfilling as Anvitha had hoped. Gradually, her goal transformed into one of making a difference, even if it was only in one person’s life. 


Her passion that led her to look at alternatives. “I was used to the healthy options and alternatives, but when I was back in India there simply weren’t many options available,” says Anvitha. 


At 26, she started Gaea Agro, an aquaponics facility, and  became the COO of Swee10, a natural stevia-based sweetener. Her goal through these two entities is to give every consumers access to non-adulterated products n. Apart from this, she also works on computational chemistry (essentially simulating drug behaviour on a supercomputer).


Swee10 was a culmination of Anvitha trying her hand at biohacking. This meant that she was engaging with the immediate environment and diet of consumers to ensure that they would reach peak performance both mentally and physically. 


Anvitha explains, “What started as a hobby blossomed into passion to do something in the wellness space. That’s when I got into Swee10.” 


There was a willingness to ensure that consumers could enjoy sweet food without the health hazards that sugar posed. Natural alternatives to this include Stevia, which is a plant that has been used by natives in South America for centuries. However, it has a bitter aftertaste. 


Since Anvitha already had a background in pharmaceuticals, she thought that it would be interesting to delve into removing the bitterness from Stevia. The R&D (research and development) process took three years to complete before the product was eventually finished. 


As a woman in business, Anvitha firmly believes that it is the products that have to do the talking. For her, consumer feedback is of utmost importance, and fuels her work further. Anvitha adds she still is working on the process of informing her customers and giving them a sense of what the brand does. 


Advising all women she says, "Be unapologetic if you are passionate about what you want to do and who you are. When I was young, I was very hyperaware of how people perceived me. To a large extent, I feel I put myself down those days. So my takeaway is unapologetic if you are passionate about something."


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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