His dream was to create a better life for people. Before he started his career, Arul was a horticulture graduate from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University. After his graduation, he went on to complete his MBA in food and agriculture business management. He belongs to a farming family, which drove his vision around Hi-tech farming, Contract sourcing, Agricultural processing & Food safety.
During the initial years of his career, he gained ample experience across various domains, attaining a deep understanding of human behavior, coupled with a rich marketplace understanding of today’s snack industry scenario in India. However, he zeal to become an entrepreneur made him start Snackexperts. It is country’s best freshly made snacks processed in an extremely hygienic environment and deliver it right to your doorstep. His long-term vision is to create an eco-system of a self-sustaining healthy snack business, which would change the way people eat in our country.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Snackexperts is a subscription based online snacks delivery service. We aim to introduce our array of healthy, nutritious, portion-informed and wholesome snacks to snackers who are always on the look- out for better snacking options. We ensure that the user receives the snacks box right at the doorstep within 5 days of placing the order.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Snacking has become an integral part of our Indian lifestyle. We were alarmed at the way people were consuming snacks that were totally unhealthy, inspite of knowing the health risks associated with them. We realised that snackers did not have a choice nor could they stop snacking altogether. So we decided to bring out snacks that could be termed safe, nutritious and at the same time delicious.
What is your life mantra?
“Our motive in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves. To test our own limits, to break a new record by beating ourselves and not others.” has been what I go by in life. I am a horticulture graduate from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and hold a MBA in food and agriculture business management. Born and brought up in a farming family – my passion and experience also revolves around Hi tech farming, Contract sourcing, Agricultural processing & Food safety. Along the way people have inspired me, in creative thinking and attaining a deep understanding of human behaviour, coupled with a rich marketplace understanding of today’s snack industry scenario in India.
Now, a passionate first generation entrepreneur, I dream of creating a better life for people by being part of healthy snacks Ecommerce Company SNACKEXPERTS headquartered in Chennai. SnackExperts aims at proudly serving you country’s best freshly made snacks processed in an extremely hygienic environment and deliver it right to your doorstep.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
The business model and area in which we operate is completely different from existing startups. It is a challenging business model which involves product development, sourcing, vendor management, order process, inventory management, packing & logistics, sale, marketing and data management. Since we own the brand we need to control end to end quality and traceability to consumer at any point of time.
Convincing people that the team is capable of executing this business plan is a most challenging part.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We very well know since it is a consumable and recurring purchase being in a entire supply chain only will give you a holistic approach to the business. We took more time in planning and sharing our responsibility. The entire business we divided into three parts.
- Order Receiving & customer relationships
- Order processing and product development
- IT&Data analytic. We built the team around this core idea. My experience in food industry helped me a lot framing structure of snackexperts in a quick time. It saved lot of time for us.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We ideated snackexperts in April 2014 and launched website in August 2014.The entire amount was boot strapped initially since all three of us were working in our regular job and doing this venture on weekends and evenings. In December 2014 i quit and started looking after snackexperts on full time basis. At that time we felt the need for the funding and scaling up our business model. We started looking out for opportunities.
It was the Ten Minute Million Event in IIT Mumbai during February 2015, that changed our lives. We had to impress the investors within just 10 minutes. And we did it! We were the only start-up from South India and one of the two non-IIT start-ups to raise seed funding at this event. We raised Rs.24 lakhs seed capital from leading angel investors.
With the help of these funds we managed to establish a 12 member team and scaling up in a faster way. We are looking to raise next round of seed funding in a month or two to scale up our operations.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
A firm believer of simplicity, my goal is to ‘Create Happiness’ which our common credo for all of us in Snack Experts. Me and our happy team, focus on doing our part to our society by providing a sustainable growth in the Indian Snacks market, which largely is passionate and extremely rewarding.
Our long-term vision is to create an eco-system of a self-sustaining healthy snack business which would change the way people eat in our country, gradually. We as a company, foster creativity & innovation in bright young people and provide all the possible support, be it knowledge, experience or reassurance in realizing our dreams together.
Everybody in team knows their role and responsibility in our organisation and also value that they are adding to snackexperts. As a team with the mix of experience and fresh talent we so far have not faced any such talent attrition situation.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- When you have good idea, you have to act immediately. Doing is more important than thinking in starting up.
- You cannot expect success in day 1 itself. You need to be patient and strong enough to have faith in your idea and model.
- Team building – When you are scaling up, you need to have right talent at second level who are willing to take responsibilities.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Google keep, Evernote, swipes, lean startup canvas are websites and few apps we use and would recommend to every startup to schedule their plans.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Sharing the responsibilities – I believe Team success will come only from individual responsibility.
Assigning the responsibility and making team to act on their responsibility will make team and people more productive in a startup.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Quick decision maker. Most times it is giving positive results and at times people are facing trouble in coping with speed.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Startup / Entrepreneurship is not about having 1000 ideas or reading 1000 stories. It is about having one idea, starting up, developing a viable product, building a team around that product, trying 1000 strategies to make that product viable for market to taste the success
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Making same mistake twice
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Team is more important for winning.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Nothing Even my career was like a startup. We started an initiative, scaled up. I wish to continue the passion, momentum and ownership.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“An Entrepreneur is someone who jumps of a cliff and builds a plane on his way down” – Reid Hoffman