On In People & Politics

These 10th Class Students Have Tapped The Funding Of Rs 3 Crore For Their Startup On Healthy Drinks

In the age when we study about entrepreneurship in print, these chaps emerged out of the books as live examples. 10th class students Chetanya Golechha, Mrigank Gujjar and Utsav Jain, are India's youngest entrepreneurs who have tapped an investment of Rs 3 crore for their start-up ‘Infusion Beverages’, proving that your age cannot act as a barrier to your success and ambitions. Well, it was not a bed of roses for them since they too had to face initial failures... because fortune had something else decided for them. Their first step towards their pinnacle was just a participation in the entrepreneurial fest of Neerja Modi School in April 2016. Having being eliminated in the very first round, the silver lining about their idea was their first order of 150 bottles of soda, preservative, and sugar-free flavoured water.  Covering their journey from just a mere idea, formulating it, finding an investor and converting their idea into reality in less than a year, the trio hasn't looked back since then. Taking a step forward, with an aim of redefining their idea, the kids participated in the entrepreneurship competitions at IIT Kanpur and IIM Indore and received tremendous appreciation. However, a major fillip arrived when the Malaviya National Institute of Technology of Jaipur initiated to incubate their venture, which also assisted them in filing a patent for their technology. Recounting their days of hard work, the team of three shares that obtaining the license, the challenging task of approvals and permissions from FSSAI couldn't have happened without the support of their parents who helped them throughout. And the Infusion Beverages has already been successful in selling 8000 units which are available in three different flavours – rose, kewra and bel. As a blessing, the Indore city is going to receive a gift since the startup is now setting up a manufacturing unit in Indore with the received INR 3 crores. On this, Utsav Jain said, “The meeting was successful in the first hour. They decided to fund Rs 3 crore. Under the agreement, we have the responsibility of marketing and research. The plant will be based in Indore.” And yes, for school students, this is a major gateway to bigger things in life. The details of their journey shared below are sure to fascinate you. Also read: This Startup Is Executing India's Vision Of Becoming An R&D Hub And Creating Global Brands

Utsav shared about why and how the idea struck them.

It all started when Chetanya Golechha had a personal experience with freshly flavoured water on his trip to Europe. Why this entirety caught the attention of Chetanya is because he felt very fresh and rejuvenated after drinking it. Upon his sharing about the idea with his friend Utsav, the two of them thought how wonderful it would be if people start consuming fresh and natural water instead of the one produced with preservatives and added sugar.The next step was clear... to search on the internet about the manufacturing of flavour induced water. The road became more clear when they learnt that the science fest at Neerja Modi School was around the corner which gave them a rejection in the first round itself but later inviting an order of 150 bottles.After filing for the patent, the trio participated and won in the entrepreneurship fests conducted by the best colleges of India including IIT Kanpur, Narsee Monjee, VIT. The prize money was then invested on the product, and it was being worked upon parallely. It was finally at IIM Indore when they had one-on-one conversations with the investors, and one of them fixed a meeting for further implementation.

The question of every teenager: How to convince parents to align with what you wish to do?

Initially, it was just a regular stuff which was carried out on a school basis, but the project gained pace after they received wide appreciation and encouragement. Mentors came together giving them the confidence to continue. Utsav Jain shared that he never really had to face a struggling war with his parents to persuade them, "My parents always told me one thing – be the best, whether in academics or in startup. Just make sure, whatever you pick up, give in your all. They allowed us to travel solo, and attend various competitions, and events. The fruitfulness of our efforts, in terms of awards, and an open outlook towards a different mode of career building also helped."Chetanya was on the same page regarding his bond with parents as they were too determined to make it big.

And at this early age, don't they create misunderstanding among themselves? How is the work divided?

To keep away from the monotony, the roles vary every day. Ranging from multiple meetings to attending events together, each one of them takes care of a certain aspect of work. But majorly Chetanya does product research, Mrigank Gujjar does marketing and Utsav is on the operations front.

And the father of all doubts: How do  manage studies with the project?

These kids don't do anything special or differently. They are regular students but have just diverted their interests of spending time. While others have the habit of surfing the internet, these lads invest their time on the venture. Also, the teachers were very supportive who were willing to arrange for extra classes as well as retests. Everyone formed a web of positivity and support which directly contributed to their enthusiasm and drive.

How come core-management fields are present in their blood?

Needless to say, education helps a lot, and yes, books and web helped them too. Reading stuff on marketing and operations guided them on the concept. Utsav said, "We try and discuss things amidst ourselves so that all of us have a better picture of what’s happening. We try and watch shows, and videos online, which are relevant for us. That’s why we would say; we’re a little more aware of these things than most people of our age."

The Feeling Of Sudden Attention! 

To which Utsav shared an instance when he had an English exam the next day, and he was attending calls all day because just a day before many features had been covered on their success story. They have also shared their mail id to which they personally respond to the doubts of other kids. The attention has been great, and it feels nice since they are being noticed by people for the work they are doing.

The flavoured water of Rs. 3 crores.

The startup is already in its advanced stage with regard to the patent having the manufacturing unit to be set up in Indore. The roadmap is yet to be formulated by the stakeholders but the production is close at hand, and the target of central India is at the inception.On this, Utsav and Chetanya said, "We hope to grow diametrically from here, and soon start distribution throughout the country."Also sharing views on their competition, they said that there's a lot of scope to dive in and no direct competition. Mentioning about 'Blue' posing an indirect competition, the kids have a strong belief about themselves that their systematic pricing and customer validation will flourish. Well, underestimating them on the basis of their age will be a big-wrong-stride. As against a 500 ml bottle of Blue of INR 45, they will be manufacturing their beverage at Rs 20 and are already prepared to bulwark themselves from the giants in the industry.

A piece of advice to the other students like them.

Chetanya was very keen on getting up and grabbing the opportunity. Since people keep on waiting for the RIGHT TME. But, the right time is NOW. Dreams are big; life is short, so start early. The competition gets fiercer day by day.The precocious trio has set an inspirational example for many by the virtue of maturity and diligence. They were not forced nor guided, they followed what they enjoyed doing. And yes... they taught us entrepreneurship in a better way than books do.