Like most of the first time entrepreneurs we see, Arun and Gowthaman left their 9 to 5 jobs to start up with something on their own. “We did not go far” says Arun. The idea with which they quit their jobs did not pan out as per expectations. But that did not deter them. “We then got into a very ‘unsexy’ B2B Saas service targeting the construction sector” says Gowthaman.
Though they are making reasonable cash flows to support a handful of employees and themselves, the constant business travel took a toll in terms of health. “Both of us have been pretty involved in our fitness and have been working out right since college days. But the hectic schedules completely threw our food habits out of gear” they say. Most of us would concur on this. But that’s where the duo decided to act.
“We felt a convenient health food which can be carried around in our bags would take out most of the issues we face. We used to travel all around south India and mostly to construction sites, concrete plants etc. Getting fresh fruits or any healthy stuff at a moment’s notice would be next to impossible. And eating on time would never happen. That’s when the idea of protein bars came up” says Arun.
“And a quick glance at the existing options showed a glaring hole in our snack foods ecosystem. A lot of the available options were highly processed stuff, laden with artificial ingredients. Not something which we can call healthy or consume daily. So by late 2013, we had begun work on a healthy food bar with protein as the focus. We had set our differentiation as healthy, protein rich bars free of artificial stuff and highly processed ingredients.”
After months running around to get the necessary permits and licenses for manufacturing these bars, we launched Hyp Protein Bar. The first set of samples targeting real customers happened in Aug 2014. “Since then we have fine-tuned the product quite a bit based on the actual customer feedback. The macro nutrient splits (Carbohydrates, fats & protein) as well as sugar content have all gone through changes as per what customers wanted” says Arun.
Right now there are 3 SKUs of HYP Protein bars – Peanut Butter Chocolate, Cashew Coconut and Almond Fudge. Besides their site – hyprote.in these bars can be ordered online via Amazon, Healthkart and Bigbasket. “We are currently focusing only on online sales route” says Gowthaman. The bars are priced at Rs 510 – 540 per box and seem to have a good customer base looking at the reviews on Amazon and Healthkart.
“Most customers of ours are people who work desk jobs and have a bit of eye on their daily calorie consumption – be it a need to cut a few pounds or pump up a bit of muscle. We ship to a lot of people who work in IT companies” Gowthaman added.
The team is currently working on to bring 2-3 additional flavor variants onto the table by end of 2015. Also on cards are other form factors of protein snacks – cookies and even an ice cream rich in protein! Now that does sound delicious.
The founders are currently bootstrapping the investment in terms of machinery. The factory located at Bangalore is partly automated with additional degrees of automation planned with specific sales milestones. The business has aggressive growth plans with entry into specific modern retail outlets as the next step to boost product visibility and sales.