Supplying health in a Bottle: SoGoodForYou

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Wellness is not just an absence of disease, illness or injury. It addresses a broader spectrum of the body encompassing mental, physical and spiritual well being. Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely critical for wanting to live a good quality of life.

Having a healthy body is the first step to achieving wellness. With our busy lives, nutrition is often compromised. Lifestyle factors like stress, alcohol, lack of exercise and consumption of junk food can cause an imbalance within the body. All this can impact the gut, which is the seat of wellness in our bodies. You are as good as your gut, literally. If you maintain a healthy gut, you not only look and feel good but also are full of energy and most importantly keep diseases at bay.

Imagine a world filled with happy bellies where everybody is healthy and well. SoGoodForYou was born out of this desire to help people have a strong gut and as a result feel better and lead healthier lives. To achieve this, all you need to do is introduce Kefir, the fabulous miracle drink into your diet. The SoGoodForYou Kefir is their flagship product, a fermented dairy based probiotic rich beverage, which is abundant with several medicinal benefits, proteins and minerals. Often called as a Champagne of Dairy, it has a refreshing, tarty, carbonated taste and looks a lot like yogurt

SoGoodForYou is a unique take on the traditional Middle Eastern and Russian “miracle superfood” Kefir. Light, wholesome and a more potent natural probiotic over yoghurt, Kefir has 2 billion times more powerful symbiotic colonies of beneficial micro-organisms. The SoGoodForYou Kefir is cultured at ambient temperatures using proprietary artisanal methods to ensure maximum nutrition. Each of their products is made fresh, cultured from 100% natural Kefir grains using organic milk.

Research advocates that regular consumption of kefir supports full-body detoxification by binding aflatoxins. It boosts immunity, regulates metabolism, helps in recovering from antibiotic treatment, heals irritable bowel syndrome, improves lactose intolerance, builds bone density and fights against allergies and aids in fat loss by eliminating all the bad toxins from the body. In addition to this, Kefir balances the pH levels of the body and also helps in eliminating chronic inflammatory diseases, assisting in healing of autoimmune disorders, improving brain function, boosting happiness levels, mitigating allergies and fighting cancerous cells in the body. Kefir is also a perfect workout & hangover recovery drink as it balances your gut flora with healthy microbes.

The primary intention of SoGoodForYou is to share the amazing health benefits of Kefir and other fermented foods with the larger community, while bridging the vacuum in the probiotic space in India. Founded by two foodies, this startup and its products have become the need of the hour for our generation as well as our descendents. Let us have a glimpse at their journey in this exclusive interview.

1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
SoGoodForYou.in is the name of our venture. SoGoodForYou was born out of a deep intent to create products that promote health & wellbeing. Phase 1 of our launch includes ready to drink health beverages made out of natural Kefir grains. Consuming this will genuinely be so good for you and your family.

2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our product is for any individual who is inclined to stay fit, gain healthand augment their well being, SoGoodForYou Kefir is a healthy drink alternative with all the probiotic benefits.Specifically, the SoGoodForYou Kefir is great for people having gut issues, low immunity, digestion challenges, post antibiotic treatment, recovering from cancer, weak bones, inflammation and even poor skin.

3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) &what are your geographical target areas?
SoGoodForYou is currently located in Bangalore and serves all parts of the city based on a monthly subscription model

4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Our flagship product is the SoGoodForYou Kefir, a naturally fermented artisanal ready-to-drink health beverage. With the introduction of this product, our objective is to address the vacuum in the natural probiotic market in India. The superfood drink is inherently rich with billions of varied strains of probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, serving as a natural wholesome fermented drink that replenishes gut health to promote overall well-being. This helps reduce dependence on chemically induced lab made supplements.

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healthy woman doing heart symbol on her belly button at outdoor

5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Our journey started 3 years back as a mini DIY project to transform, nourish and rejuvenate ourselves. We felt it in our gut (pun intended) that the goodness has to be shared across the broader mainstream community.

SoGoodForYou evolved organically to become a fresh probiotic wellness initiative that started the #BeGutsy revolution in India. Our probiotic products are made fresh with pure love and nothing else. We take the utmost care at all levels of incubation process ensuring impeccable quality and taste until it reaches your gut.

6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
The probiotic market is at a very nascent stage in India. We face challenge from multinational FMCG groups including Yakult, Nestle (Probiotic Yoghurt) among others.

7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
Shubho Broto Das, my co-founder is a die-hard foodie and a fellow health enthusiast. What we share in common is our love for food and our passion for health and wellness. Apart from that, we have complimentary business skills that create great synergies for professional development and growth.

We have known each other for last 4 years and have worked on couple of other startups before beginning our journey with SoGoodForYou.

8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
It is very important to be very selective while hiring your first team members. We wanted to have someone onboard who is bringing in value beyond what the current co-founders can offer. We relied on the tried and tested method of hiring using word-of-mouth recommendation. We on-boarded someone who could oversee the operations and delivery while we managed the scale-up.

9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
SoGoodForYou is looking to expand its geographical coverage in the next few years by moving beyond Bangalore. In the next two years, the plan is to supply to other metro cities and in the next 5 years to be available pan India. Currently, we are also in the process of developing new probiotic-based products such as Coconut Water & Green Tea-based probiotics, fresh dips and salad dressings made of probiotics among others that would complement our flagship offering.

Scale is absolutely necessary for us to gain advantage over shelf life. Our products are completely natural without any additives, preservatives or stabilizers. We can substantially increase the shelf life from 12 days (current threshold) to over 3 months with HPP packaging technique that requires minimum per day production.

10. Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
In the next decade, the primary objective of SGFY is to be a leading player in the fresh probiotic space in India. The aim is to offer a range of probiotic products that promote health and wellness for our customers.

We want to scale the SoGoodForYou probiotic wellness initiative into a #BeGutsy revolution across pan-India.

11. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
SoGoodForYou is currently bootstrapped. We do plan to raise funding to strengthen our production facility, installation of High Pressure Vacuum Packaging, expand our footprint across pan-India markets and strengthen our distribution and supply chain.

We are in talks with angel investors, family offices and institutional investors to raise pre-series funding for our venture.

12. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
The challenges were many in the initial days. Kefir, and probiotics in general was unheard of and the first step was to create awareness about probiotics in general and specifically the benefits of consuming Kefir. This required concept selling which we undertook via our interactive website, & social media, participation in events, seminars and answering clients queries consistently. Sourcing and ensuring continuous supply of the best quality ingredients along with establishing delivery systems were some of the other issues we faced. Currently the market has evolved and we are able to source the best quality organic A2 Milk consistently along with 3rd party delivery partners.

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13. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenge was to create awareness and educate people on the need and benefit of probiotics for overall health. Kefir was largely unheard off and most people had vague understanding about the advantages of consuming it. There was apprehension and in some cases even fear about consuming live bacteria. We spent a lot of time talking to our customers, educating them and explained the health gains of fermented products. We used offline and online platforms to create extensive outreach.

In fact, we ensured for first 2 years, either one of the co-founders delivered the products to the end client personally in order to maximize the knowledge transfer.

14. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Experimenting in the kitchen and rustling up new recipes is one of my favorite things to do. Apart from that, I love to travel, try different cuisines gain new experiences and learn different things. I am also a practicing energy healer and love to empower people.

15. Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
It would be very hard to pick one as a favorite. I am die-hard foodie and love trying out different types of cuisines and am a huge street food fan. I love the mountains and the pristine scenic beauty up in the hills is such a treat for urban dwellers like me.

16. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I’m born into a business family and hence there have been many influences among the family that have shaped my thinking and approach. Apart from that, I admire Jeff Bezos for revolutionizing buying behaviourand consumption across the world.

17. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Passion for what you do and the ability to take risks to pursue what you love is the key difference. An entrepreneur is not disheartened by failure and instead learns from those mistakes to move forward. In spite of difficult situations, you remain motivated to chase your dreams.

18. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Every experience in life teaches and contributes in shaping who you are. I would not do anything differently because the journey has been engaging, challenging and hugely gratifying. I have had several ideas that did not see the light of the day for various reasons. Sometimes there is a twinge of regret when you see the same ideas become successes. I wish I had showed some more faith in those ideas.

19. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Everybody has limited bandwidth and I am no exception to that. However, I believe that there are many aspects to life and work is one of them. I have always tried to maintain a balance by planning andprioritizing based on specific situations. Family and friendshelp me unwind and motivate me to work even harder.

20. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
I can only speak from my experience- Believe in your idea, stay optimistic and do all you have to convert them into reality. Do not be flustered by challenges and focus on finding solutions instead of giving up.

21. Tell us something about your education & family background
I was born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs, which allowed me to experience the ‘behind-the-scenes’ life of running a business. The informal business lessons started very early on for me and later I formally pursued Bachelors in Management (Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University) and an MBA from Leeds University, UK.

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22. What is your USP, which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
We have tried to answer this question right from Day 1. Our passion for health needs to translate into tangible value addition for our customer. We have strived to make a difference by offering something unique:

INGREDIENTS: We use top-notch quality un-homogenised cow milk to ensure the highest consistency. We ensure the milk is free from any additives, be it stabilizers or water. Most of our customers have asked us to even provide them with raw milk as they never get a chance to source the same quality of milk in their vicinity

SET- UP & INCUBATION:Our proprietary incubation process (fermented with the right ingredients for the right duration) ensures consistency of our product across 100+ orders per day. Our signature range of probiotic products are all made in-house using the finest of ingredients. Preservatives, colors or artificial additives do not have a place in our kitchen.

PREPARATION & PROCESS: SoGoodForYou started a mini DIY project for personal health. It has now organically grown to become FSSAI certified incubation centre for natural probiotics in India. We are now extending the goodness of kefir with our range of probiotic-rich food including dips, breads, energy bars and so much more.

QUALITY & PACKING:We are committed to consistently maintain the highest standards of our products by not using any additives, stabilisers or preservatives. Our specially designed kitchen is a sanitised dedicated place with food grade equipment and tools with detailed preparation processes and strict hygiene protocol for the kitchen crew.

PLACING ORDER & GETTING DELIVERY: Our delivery process ensures that nothing but the best reaches you. We value your time and to simplify it for further, you can place an order through Whatsapp, Facebook or over a call.

23. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
The ability to scale and stay consistent with their product offering is the biggest threat to small businesses and start-ups today. To stay ahead in the crowd today, staying afloat is a huge challenge. Whether your boot strapped or have funding, you simply have to find ways of being out there, no matter what. Most small businesses struggle with that.

24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Success is relative. The most important marker for me is growth. Are we doing better than yesterday, last month or even last year? I know the direction I want to head in within a specific time frame and achieving these milestones become mini rewards.

25. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person

Shweta Kothari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder
SoGoodForYou Kefir (Truleap Ventures LLP)
Office:Unit 1 & 2, Second Floor, Building #66, Coles Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore-560005
Phone: 080-43029810
Website:www.sogoodforyou.in
Facebook:www.facebook.com/kefir.bangalore/

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