Liquii was founded by Shubham Khanna in September 2015 to provide an alternative to packaged drinks and roadside juice shops that compromise on health and hygiene.
Our team interviewed him to find out about his enterprise and future plans.
1. Tell us about your background before Liquii. Share with us briefly about your entrepreneurial journey and inception of Liquii
The thought of Liquii (previously named as Tropical Island) first came to me in college, when a friend of mine fell severely ill after consuming poorly made juice from a college stall. Due to lack of money and support from parents, I dropped the idea at the time.
After passing out from college I joined HCL as a Junior Engineer. At that particular point, Ed- Tech caught my attention. I started working on it with my close friend Pulkit, but things didn’t go as planned, so finally it (Hash tag) went down. Later, the idea for Liquii came when I was working in Dell as a Hardware Engineer cum Consultant and coffee became the only refresher for me. Sipping 3-4 cups a day due to hectic schedules increased my blood pressure level made me look like a drug addict.
Finally I left my job in September 2015 and after doing research on over 150 companies we landed up founding Liquii.
2. What is Liquii all about? Tell us in detail about the services offered?
Believing in the power of Fruits and Veggies, keeping them 100% raw and serving them in the most natural manner led to the idea of Liquii which was founded 9 months back to tap the 80% unorganized 5 billion dollar market in India. The remaining 20% is either owned by MNCs who use Swanky Marketing Gimmick to let people consume pasteurized, flavoured and sugary beverages which instead of being healthy, lead to weight problems, hypertension, stress and other diseases. Other players like local hawkers low quality raw material, bad processing methods, food colors and unhygienic working conditions to cope up with the costs and lead to a compromise on health. With the current customer satisfaction rate of 99.2% and 98% customer retention rate, we at Liquii are a productized service- a healthy beverage brand, which has our focused commitment in democratizing juices. Be it sourcing and partnering from the right farmers and farms, sterilization of fruits and vegetables, technology of freshly squashing – other than cold pressing to resist the microbial germination, or to offer them at the best prices.
Liquii aims to add ‘the ease of buying a cold drink’ and ‘freshness of a food nectar’ and wishes to be a replacement for the packed juices. Our blends starts at just rupees 99 for 300 ml and are 100% raw, fresh, unprocessed, unpreserved, unsweetened, giving you an experience of having a whole fruit.
3. What are the growth opportunities in food-tech in India?
In my opinion, food-tech in India is evolving at a steady rate but it is not a booming time. Currently the priority of the first time buyers is money but not the service. Food-tech is more than just having two chefs in your kitchen and an App for your services – it is about how we; one can use technology to match taste with nutrition and ensure health. We believe that if personalized services with a great product are provided at competitive pricing, the food-tech industry will be touching new heights.
4. What is your competition in the market? What is it that sets you apart from your competition?
Liquii at present is competing with players like To Be Healthy, Just Pressed, Raw pressery, Relish Nutrition and Juicifix. Liquii is the only one in the class that uses internally developed, made to order, freshly squashed platform other than cold pressing from our machines brought from Korea. Also, Liquii is the only one which squashes only farm picked products, directly sourced from 7 partner farms across India, which leads to creating pulpier drinks. Right from the type of the soil to the harvesting and juicing state, everything is monitored with our internally developed matrices. Liquii promises a wholesome fruit eating experience in a bottle.
5. What is the business model of Liquii? Can you briefly summarize the growth achieved in both volume and value from the day 1 till now?
Our business model is a subscription based model where we offer two varieties of beverages:
1. 100% Nectar
2. Our Functional Sports Drink (made with coconut water and fruits).
We are also taking one-time orders which helps customers to decide if our product is good or not and once they like it, we pitch them the subscription model which gives them a discount of 10-20%.
6. How has been your beginner’s journey? What were the challenges you faced in setting up and scaling up your enterprise? Any hurdle that you faced or still facing?
I should quote, “we are yet to make an entrance,” but so far, there were many ups and downs. The biggest hurdle that any food-tech startup face or would be facing is the last mile – delivery services. If the cost of these services are ignored then the profit margins become extremely less or negligible. We are currently working with 3rd party delivery services but soon plan to hire an in-house team for the same. Secondly, to make sure your operations are handled in a set of pre-defined steps so as to reduce the turn-around time without compromising on the quality of the product.
7. Can you tell us about your other founders/core team, their background and rich experience?
Palak, Co-Founder of Liquii, had been working as an Operations Consultant for Subway U.S. Apart from that she also has strength in client handling.
We also have industry experts from prominent beverage companies like Coke and Hector Beverages who work on the R&D and quality side of the product. Also, Raja works as a Strategy generator for us.
8. How are you all funded? Any early stage money/seed stage experience that you would like to share with us?
Since last 9 months, I and Palak have been investing our savings in our dream project which has helped us to grow organically month on month, but to gain more traction in market, we are now looking forward to raise some amount which can help us in marketing the product, setting up a robust supply chain and also to increase production.
9. Any other areas or initiatives that you plan to venture in future?
Liquii will be looking forward into sports and baby nutrition beverages on the product side. Also, Liquii is developing a platform which will use the power of Data Analytics and AI to customize a 100% natural, food beverage according to your palate likings as well as your daily body stats. Apart from this, Liquii will be looking at expanding to Tier1 and Tier2 cities along with increasing the shelf life of our existing products.
10. What will Liquii look like in 10 years from now? All perspectives – people, business, revenues, team, size or anything you foresee for the venture.
In next few years, Liquii will not only be beverage brand but will be a lifestyle brand with connected technologies. We aim at providing a service platform to make people healthy without digging holes in their pockets.
11. Any school/ campus-connect initiatives that you are pursuing or plan to pursue?
Liquii had previously partnered with many co-working spaces and also with IIT Delhi for the E-Summit Program. We are now looking forward to collaborate with more schools, colleges and MNCs to continue our Liquii Ambassador program is designed in order to compete with your fellow colleagues to gain reward points that can be redeemed for fresh juices.
12. Any experience or advice you would like to share with soon to be start-up founders out there?
The thought of a startup might be very fascinating or cool, but it’s a totally different story on the inside. My first advice to any startup out there is – always be very passionate about what you are making, there will be times when you would feel it is not working out, but do not give up. Secondly, be a scholar in your subject, know what you are selling and how it’s different from your competitors. Also look out for the product market fit. And lastly, always work for the customers, make them feel special and look for retention of your first 100 customers as those are your first marketers.
Liquii is a venture born out of personal experiences and deep felt requirements. And this is what drives them towards success. We wish the team a good luck!
Check out their facebook page: www.fb.com/TheLiquiiLife