GO DESi: is a popular homegrown packaged food brand inspired by Indian flavors and formats

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Capitalism is the best way to reward innovative, risk-taking ability, and allocate the returns to generate more innovation and risk-taking ability in the community. Repeated for a few generations, this is the best model for economic progress that humanity has built so far. While there are many ways for systems of coordination and capital allocation to be gamed and misused, as long as the good outnumber the rest, the overall system is mostly secure and functions well in constraining the worst that human beings are capable of, albeit not fully. 

Oftentimes, the solution to all our problems is usually right in front of our eyes. Reaching and then maintaining a state of mind to make an entrepreneurial venture successful may seem counterintuitive to the normal lay person. However, ventures are built on the back of a vision of an ideal future. In this vision, are future selves of the community which one serves. Many pockets of value can be found by simply imagining a vision of the future, and then bridging future demand in the present. 

India’s large domestic market is the stuff of dreams. Every venture builder and entrepreneur in the world wants to establish a presence here owing to the opportunity of plugging so many value gaps that remain to be filled. Today, we try to understand one of them, as at Bangalore Insider we spoke to the CEO and Co-founder,  Vinay Kothari of GO DESi, an online confectionery brand with a unique value proposition. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.     

Give a brief info about your startup?

GO DESi is a clean label, online first DESi confectionery brand. We make forgotten regional treats

accessible to urban consumers. Our flagship product DESi POPz is a category leader on Amazon,

available in 10K+ retail outlets, and ships out more than 500 orders a day through our website godesi. Founded in 2018, GO DESi is on a mission to make the familiar but not preferred

unorganized traditional packaged food sector accessible to the urban millennial consumer. Being the

category creator in the DESi candies segment, GO DESi is focused on reviving the forgotten flavours from the nooks and corners of the country, taking its products to the world.

With social conscience at the core of our brand ethos, GO DESi aims to create a world where

organizations are evaluated based on the bottom line and its impact on society. GO DESi is taking

initiatives to change the perception of capitalism from a zero-sum game to a powerful tool, creating

equal opportunities for communities, shareholders, and the environment.

What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?

In December 2017, I was on a trekking trip across rural Karnataka when I saw a small tea shop selling

jackfruit bars made by a local SHG. While munching on the delectable treat, an idea struck my mind–

making forgotten regional foods accessible to urban consumers while creating a revenue channel for

rural women. I bought 30 kg of local and regional products the next day to sell at a stall in a flea market at the Chitrakala Parishath (Bengaluru), beginning the journey of GO DESi.

Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?

I have 10+ years of experience across sales, distribution, and marketing functions in the FMCG industry. I

used to work with ITC Limited, where I led sales teams across rural and urban India and managed FMCG

brands like Sunfeast and other sub-brands of ITC. I was also a part of the pioneer social business model

E- Choupal, overseeing rural distribution and Choupal Saagar (rural hypermarket) projects.

Where is your startup based? Why do you think that is the best place for you?

GO DESi is based out of Bangalore. Besides having great weather, Bangalore is a cosmopolitan target

market and houses abundant talent for companies to hire and scale their businesses.

As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?

As a founder, you have to be paranoid; as Andy Grove of Intel puts it in his famous book “Only the

paranoid survive.” I am paranoid about pretty much everything, from finance, manufacturing, product

quality to team motivation.

Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?

Our competitors include large MNCs like Kraft, ITC, Perfetti, and Nestle. Presently, we are the only clean

label and sustainable confectionery brand in the market that offers products suited to the Indian palate.

How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?

Work-Life balance is not a problem when you enjoy what you do. However, you need breaks to

recharge, just like athletes do. Since running a start-up is like running in a marathon, you need to have

enough energy in the body to meet the next checkpoint.

Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If not then please tell us if

you are looking to raise.

Yes, we have raised around INR 8.58 crores in pre-series A funding. We are looking to raise more funds

in the near future.

What gets you excited about this company?

The company is taking initiatives to change the perception of capitalism from a zero-sum game to a

powerful tool, generating equal opportunities for communities, shareholders, and the environment. GO

DESi envisions becoming India’s most loved food brand, aiming to record a yearly revenue of INR 100

crores by 2022.

Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till

you hit the bed at night.

I wake up early to workout, spend time with my dog, and set my target for the day (strategize and set

priorities inline) before heading to the office. After office hours, I spend time with my family and have

some me-time before hitting the bed.

Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?

We have 50+ employees on board. I founded the company along with Raksha Kothari (my sister), the

sourcing head at GO DESi. After completing her B.tech degree in Chemical Engineering from RV College

of Engineering, Raksha ventured into the corporate world by joining the ranks of KPMG. She worked as a

risk consultant for 3.5 years and was a part of various notable projects. Post this stint, Raksha went on to

work with multiple organizations in the space of performance arts & social sector for 5 years, including

Youth Alliance, Prafull oorja, and The Kha Foundation. She also managed to disrupt the male-dominant

industry with her skillful talent by heading direct procurement from farmers, engaging with rural

communities, and scaling up a product with no set procedures.


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