They’re ambitious, diligent, driven and have found the key to unlock innovation. RITZ Magazine meets these promising men of substance from Karnataka who have made a mark in their respective fields and are making waves not just nationally but also across the globe. They reveal what kept them going and how they carved out a niche for themselves…
BY NAMITA GUPTA
Abhay Hanjura declined a CEO position to plunge into entrepreneurship with Licious and his friend Vivek Gupta soon joined him to elevate the online fresh meat shopping experience. The entrepreneur duo was born to meat and now their brand is present across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Gurugram.
TURNING POINT: Abhay – “At the age of 28, I had everything perfectly lined up for me career wise; a well-paying job and prospects to head a 500-member large company, when a simple realisation changed the course of what I wanted to do next. The lure of entrepreneurship came calling and I knew I was ready to test my hypotheses.”
Vivek – “Both Abhay and I share the same narrative and timeline of realisation, however given my VC background; risk taking was native to me. When Abhay was toying with the idea of doing something in the meat space, I knew there was more to this 30 billion US$ market, than meets the eye.”
PURE PASSION: Much deliberation led us to the meat sector which remained highly unorganised, lacked quality and safety standards, product inconsistency and lack of produce traceability. However, this sector provided a 30 billion US$ market scope, and an opportunity to serve over 70% of meat eating Indian population with high quality meals, daily possibility to build a trust centred, quality driven, full stack consumer meat brand. Since we began, we have served over 3.3 million meals thus far. We were also chosen as a key note speaker at Harvard’s India – Disruptive Innovations Conference in early 2018. We have engaged with over 300k customers and counting in three years and are profitable in Bengaluru and attained operational breakeven in Hyderabad. We have been recognised with FSSC22000 UKAS accreditation for adherence to global standards in quality, hygiene and food safety in fresh chicken, meat and seafood products, making us the only Indian consumer meat brand to have received this recognition. We have partnered with over 180 individual farms, including integrators.
CROSSING HURDLES: Since neither of us came with any background in the food business, challenges were aplenty, however there were 3 critical foundation level problem areas we needed to overcome – (a) In the meat space consumers have had little or no idea on how to define good meat and to question the existing belief system “freshly cut meat is one which gets cut in front of your eyes” was challenging. (b) Enabling product differentiation and quality superiority, Make a simple product like standard chicken curry cut, a brand by setting high quality standards for buying, packaging, cooking and consuming. (c) A lot of time was spent in getting a visionary team on board that could see the big picture along with us and brought skill sets we lacked.
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY: So long as you’re enjoying your work, and it becomes part of your overall being, there will be no regrets! We are driven by the passion to make a difference and, blessed to be able to share this with so many people every day.
BENGALURU, A STARTUP CITY: Bengaluru has always been encouraging towards entrepreneurs, inventive minds and risk takers. The openness towards exploring the process of buying meat online is a great testament. It has always welcomed people like us from all over the country to prosper in the city.