How This Entrepreneur is Winning Indian Consumers With His Yogurt Delight

A foodie by passion, it didn't take him much time for this entrepreneur to think of designing something well within his comfort zone

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Rohan Mirchandani grew up in the US, went to New York University and then worked in finance around 2008-2009, before he started his own tech company.

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But, a foodie by passion, it didn't take him much time to think of designing something well within his comfort zone. As destiny had it, he met Chef Ganesh and understood the idea of creating a desert lounge. He also met Shripad Nadkarni, former Chief Marketing Officer of Coca Cola, to talk about the next start-up opportunities in the packaged food business.

The Launch

That was the eureka moment for Drums Foods, when it was launched. Nadkarni advised him to come to India to expand his ice-cream brand Hokey-Pokey. In January 2013, Hokey-Pokey started with a small store with the idea of making it an FMCG product by 2014.

The innovative packaging won accolades for Mirchandani. Talking about his biggest challenge, he said, "We found that it's hard to scale businesses during the off season." Also the real estate costs played havoc when they were thinking of expanding with other exclusive stores. That's when his second brand Epigamia was born.

Sharing on the same, Mirchandani said, "We found that dairy and dairy products are something that is to be disrupted. So, Epigamia started as a learning step for us." Launched in June 2015, Epigamia became India's first all natural Greek yogurt brand, which rapidly gained traction with the Indian consumer. Using all-natural ingredients and traditional Greek straining process, the yogurt is low in fat and calories with double the amount of protein as compared to regular flavoured yogurt. In July 2016, Rohan raised Rs 44.5 crore round of funding led by Verlinvest and DSG Consumer Partners solely for Epigamia. Last month, he announced Series- B round of funding of Rs 90 crore from the same set of investors.

Talking about his vision with Epigamia, Rohan reclaims, "We want the dairy products to have their independent identity. Also, we have the required expertise, so want to make our own mark. We think there is a lot to be done. We want to compete with other snacks in fresh and healthy space." Chef Ganesh has been at the heart of all the products built under Drums Food. Talking about product building stage, Rohan says, "Once we feel comfortable with the production of our products, we push it further to the product manufacturing level from the chef's kitchen."

Going forward, the vision is to be a made in India product of a great quality. The range is present in 2500+ retail outlets across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Surat, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Chandigarh, Srinagar and Jalandhar. When asked if he would ever consider selling his first brand Hokey-Pokey, Rohan reminisces, "We would be open to the proposal of course. We don't want to do a relaunch product but we would like to have some innovation."

(This article was first published in the August issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)