Kalchi: How this food start-up is firing the taste buds

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New Delhi | Published: July 9, 2018 12:26:53 AM

The story behind Bengaluru-based Kalchi is an interesting one of three friends coming together to solve a problem faced by young parents, singles and professionals living away from home.

Kalchi co-founder and CEO Sudeep Srivastava

The story behind Bengaluru-based Kalchi is an interesting one of three friends coming together to solve a problem faced by young parents, singles and professionals living away from home. Sudeep Srivastava and his wife Payal Srivastava had the concerns of every working parent—identifying healthy, nutritious, fresh, tasty and quick meal options for their kids’ snack and lunch boxes. Shashi Bhatia, who stays away from his family, was also in search of three easy-to-cook, tasty and nutritionally balanced meals a day. The trio, being friends, decided to look at the FMCG space after their corporate stints to find a solution to this larger problem.

Srivastava says they had always been passionate about being healthy and eating healthy. In fact, the previous ventures were health cafes for sports goods retailer Decathlon and revolved around the same core aim of nutritious and tasty meals. And while interacting with customers they realised that there was a gap in terms of availability of fresh packaged food that is free from preservatives, authentic in taste and nutritionally balanced.

The above learning, the hassle of planning meals and the lack of convenient ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook food options eventually led to the birth of Kalchi. “We launched Kalchi in 2016 and the response since then has been encouraging,” says Sudeep Srivastava, the co-founder and CEO of Kalchi. “We are presently focusing on offline sales that is driven through our retail clients like Nature’s Basket, Foodhall, More, Spar, Food World, Big Bazaar, Good Food and Loyal World in Bangalore. Our online presence is through BigBasket. We are going to build online channels soon and we expect sales to grow online.”
Kalchi is currently selling around 200 products a day. “A good number of customers are repeat customers which gives us confidence to say we shall reach our target sales figures soon,” he says, adding, “Building a consumer retail brand like ours requires a huge amount of capital. Therefore, with the capital raised we are still sometime away from being profitable. However, we aim to break even in the next 12 months.”

According to him, technology is a driving force of innovation today. “We use technology in all our business operations in terms of process automation, food processing, packaging, salesforce optimisation, digital marketing, and data analytics etc. We are also working on the use of robotics in our production process.”

He adds: “The technology that we employ allows us to process and package our products in their most fresh and purest form thereby increasing their shelf life without the use of any artificial preservatives. We believe that we will be able to achieve better shelf life for our products with the use of better and newer technologies in the coming future.”

Kalchi is growing at a 40% month-on-month in terms of revenue. “Our current GMV is `5 lakh in a month and our annual revenue rate is Rs 60 lakh. We have put in a seed fund of Rs 2.5 crore which includes founder’s capital and what has been raised from colleagues who are industry professionals and HNIs.” It is currently in the process of raising external funding of about half a million dollars from institutional investors. The capital will be deployed for capability building, brand building, product portfolio expansion and business expansion in new territories.

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