‘The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer’, this quote by Nolan Bushnell, defines Entrepreneurship in its truest sense. It’s just not a label, it’s a lifestyle. While in today’s start-up age, many seek to hone their inner entrepreneur, and develop that million-dollar idea, a class IX student, Utsav Jain, and two class X students, Chetanya Golechha and Mragank Gujjar, have showcased the world that nothing is impossible with ardent efforts, and a positive attitude. The trio’s venture, Infusion Beverages has recently raised a whopping INR 3 Crores in funding.
The fortunes smiled on the trio hailing from the pink city, Jaipur, when they entered the entrepreneurial fest of Neerja Modi School, (Chetanya’s and Mragank’s school, Utsav goes to Subodh Public School), in April 2016, with their startup – Infusion Beverages. The team recounts, having been eliminated, in the first round itself, as their presentation failed to impress the judges. The silver lining, however, was their first order of 150 bottles of preservative, soda, and sugar-free flavoured water, which they delivered in time. The trio haven’t looked back ever since.
Their core concept of manufacturing flavoured water, without the use of any preservative, received tremendous applause in entrepreneurship competitions at IIT Kanpur, and IIM Indore. A major boost for their venture arrived when Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur decided to incubate their venture, and also help file a patent for their technology.
The trio, who have crossed their journey of developing their product, finding investors, seeking approvals and permissions, and generating sales, over a period of one year, have already sold 8000 units of their infusion beverage, available in three different flavours – bel, rose, and kewra. They, though, had their fair share of struggles. The team recounts how obtaining licenses, and necessary permits from the food department, and the approval from FSSAI was nothing short of a crusade, and how their parents supported them throughout.
Infusion Beverages, has now received INR 3 Crores in funding, and is setting up a manufacturing unit in Indore, and the trio will be leading marketing, and research divisions. For school students, not only is this an incredible opportunity, but also a gateway to greater things in life!
Mindler congratulates them on their phenomenal success!
As career experts, we also want to focus on some lessons, that these young entrepreneurs have propagated in their entrepreneurial pursuit, which are critical to progress, both in your business venture, and in life. To this tread, we interviewed Utsav Jain, and Chetanya Golechha, two of the three people behind Infusion beverages. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.
1. What was the inspiration behind Infusion? How did the company start?
Utsav: It was when Chetanya took a trip to Europe, and had a personal experience with freshly flavoured water. Upon return, he recounted his experience, and told me how fresh, and rejuvenated he felt with the beverage. We wondered, how great it would be, if people started consuming natural, fresh flavoured water, instead of ones laced with added sugar and preservatives. We started work, and immediately took to the Internet to find more about the flavour induced water, and it’s manufacturing process. Luckily, the science fest at Neerja Modi School was around the corner, and the two of us decided to present our idea there, in an endeavour to win the competition. We did not go beyond the first round, but little did we know that we would come out with our first order of 150 bottles. And, that for us, at the time was an incredible feat!
2. How has your journey been like?
Utsav: The journey until now has been phenomenal. Post the presentation at Neerja Modi, we contacted BITS Pilani, and we sent them a project proposal. We received a big thumbs up, and a special award from there, and were contacted by several mentors (professionals, seasoned entrepreneurs) who gave us the confidence to continue. The next big boost came when MNIT Jaipur decided to incubate us. We spent some time at MNIT, and with the help of mentors, started our work on developing our beverage. We did have our fair share of struggles, but the drive to continue, and make it big, kept us going.
Chetanya: We entered some entrepreneurship fests, and competitions, at some of the best colleges in the country, IIT Kanpur, Narsee Monjee, VIT, and more, and won at all of these places. We invested our winnings on the product, and continued our work, and parallely started looking for investors. It was finally at IIM Indore, that we had one-on-one conversations with investors, and one of the investors fixed a meeting with us.
“The next big boost came when MNIT Jaipur decided to incubate us. We spent some time at MNIT, and with the help of mentors, started developing the beverage. We did have our fair share of struggles, but the drive to continue, and make it big, kept us going”
– Utsav Jain
3. How did you approach funding?
Utsav: We went head strong, in a meeting with our investor in Indore, Mr. Prateek Kumar Jain. The meeting lasted for about an hour, following which we agreed to respect the contract. Not many people know this, but we were also given an offer for INR 3.5 Crore, but that did not materialize, because we were not willing to give up a major equity in our company.
4. What is Infusion’s future plan? What are you going to do with the 3 Crores?
Utsav & Chetanya: We are already in the advanced stage vis-a-vis our patent (through MNIT), and our manufacturing unit would be in Indore. Though all stakeholders, are to sit down, and formulate a roadmap for the company, but we’re looking at starting production soon, and are targeting central India at the onset. We hope to grow diametrically from here, and soon start distribution throughout the country.
“We are starting production in Indore soon. We will first cover central India, and then grow from there.”
– Utsav Jain & Chetanya Golechha
5. How are you managing studies with the venture?
Utsav: This is a question that many people ask us, but the truth is we really do not do anything differently. We are just regular students, who spend a lot of time on our venture, rather than on surfing the net, and regular teen activities. It’s doable. We also received a lot of support from our schools, and the teachers, who were willing to conduct retests, and arrange extra classes, in an event we have to attend meetings, events, or conferences. This directly contributed to our drive, and enthusiasm to make the product.
6. How did you convince your parents that entrepreneurship is something you wish to pursue?
Utsav: When we presented our idea for the very first time, we really did not seek any permissions, because that was just regular, school stuff. But when we received wide appreciation, and encouragement for our product, and our mentors gave us the confidence to continue, we decided to have the talk with our parents. Some of the mentors, also visited our home, and discussed the possibility of a venture, with our parents. Personally speaking, my parents always told me one thing – be the best, whether in academics, or in startup. Just make sure, whatever you pick up, give in your all. They allowed us to travel solo, and attend various competitions, and events. Fruitfulness of our efforts, in terms of awards, and an open outlook towards a different mode of career building also helped.
Chetanya: Once our parents saw that we were putting in the right efforts, and were determined to make it big, they stepped onboard. They guided us from time-to-time, and also helped us seek permissions, and licenses from the food department, and get approvals from FSSAI. Their presence, and the moral support was extremely important.
“Personally speaking, my parents always told me one thing – be the best, whether in academics, or in startup. Just make sure whatever you do, give in your all.”
– Utsav Jain
7. How do you divide the roles and responsibilities amidst yourself?
Utsav: It varies every day! Some days we have multiple meetings, in that case we split our work, and do that, but on others, we attend all meetings, and events together. Between ourselves, each one of us takes care of a certain aspect of work – Mragank does marketing, Chetanya does product research, and I take care of operations.
8. Marketing, Research & Operations are core management fields studied during post-graduation. How did you equip yourself with the know-how, at present?
Utsav: We try and make the best use of our time. Be it marketing, or operations, or research for that matter, the information is out there, right? On the web, in the books. I, in my free time, read Kotler, and other books on marketing, and on operations to understand the concepts. We try and discuss things amidst ourselves, so that all of us have a better picture of what’s happening. We try and watch shows, and videos online, which are relevant for us. That’s why we would say, we’re a little more aware of these things, than most people of our age.
“We try and make the best use of our time. Be it marketing, or operations, or research for that matter, the information is out there, right? On the web, in the books. I, in my free time, read Kotler, and other books on marketing, and on operations to understand the concepts.”
– Utsav Jain
9. Who’s your biggest competitor? How do you intend to take them on?
Utsav: The good thing about our product is that it has no direct competition. Blue presents a significant indirect competition, but we believe with our customer validation, and systematic pricing will flourish. A 500 ml bottle of blue costs INR 45, but we have manufactured our beverage at INR 20 (for the same quantity), and are looking at cutting down the pricing more. We are prepared to shield ourselves from the giants in the industry, but our product is different from theirs.
10. How are you dealing with all the sudden attention?
Utsav: Well, I have an English exam tomorrow, and here I am on calls all day. There were features on us before as well, but yesterday many publications, and online journals featured us. We’ve shared our mail ids and anyone who wishes to talk to us, can do so. I have personally tried to respond every mail, and message, but the attention has been great. It feels nice to be noticed for the work we’re doing.
11. What is your advice to students like yourself, who wish to change the world?
Chetanya: Well, my advice definitely would be to not wait, and start up! People just keep waiting for the right time. There’s no right time, there’s now! Our dreams are big, and in order to achieve them, it’s important to start early. The competition is going to get fiercer by the day.
“Well my advice definitely would be to not wait, and start-up now, if that’s what you really want to do. There’s no right time, there’s just now”
– Chetanya Golechha
Their journey, like that of many other’s is inspirational. Not by the virtue of their achievements, but the maturity, and diligence showcased by these young entrepreneurs. The key is not to enjoy what you do, but do what you enjoy. For them it was Infusion. They found their true calling!
Find Yours today.
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