In Conversation With… Paras Bhaisora, Co-founder, Smart Anaaj
Can you tell us something about your professional background?
I graduated from IIT Delhi in 2019. I did Civil engineering along with minors in Business Management. I did internships in Schlumberger and Maruti Suzuki, while in college. I received a pre-placement offer (PPO) at Schlumberger and worked there for a year and half. Later, I realized that there is a need in the market for a food product that is based on high nutrition and is health centric. So, with this my entire focus shifted to ‘Smart Anaaj’ where we provide customized products to the customers.
Can you tell us about your venture, ‘Smart Anaaj’?
While I studied in IIT, in the final year of the college, I along with my friends started Smart Anaaj, where we served communities inside our campus with customized flour (aata). We started taking orders through WhatsApp and tried to have a decent packaging in place. The reason was that people found it inconvenient to go to a flourmill (chakki) to give the grains and then bring the flour home. Moreover, many people observed that flourmills were unhygienic.
So, looking at all these problems, we incorporated our brand, which helps flourmills to be hygienic; at the same time, we also ensure convenience for our customers as we try to completely digitize the ecosystem. So, we have been partnering with various flourmills and launched our first product, i.e. flour with complete packaging, through our website. We also have an app coming up for the same. As soon as we get enough data from our customers, we shall be able to generate an algorithm that would create a personalized food mix depending the customers’ needs, health goals, family requirements, etc.
What are the core values of your company?
There are three core values that we believe in:
- Quality – We make sure to procure the best quality grains and ingredients.
- Technology – We are trying to automate various processes in our value chain, including the manufacturing process.
- People – We make sure that the people who work for us have the values that we want in our company regarding technology and quality. We also make sure that with whomsoever we are tie-up are empowered enough to deliver and are trustworthy.
What is the vision for your venture ‘Smart Anaaj’?
We are trying to build the largest personalized grain and flour brand of India. Under this, we have different kinds of communities in place. At the same time, we want to make sure that the quality is meeting our customer expectations and it is affordable for the masses.
How did you identify that exists a market gap and spot the business opportunity for your venture?
While looking at opportunities, first of all, we look at the problems that exist.
I will just quote some personal experiences. I and my Co-founder realized that there is a lack of convenience for customers because
(1)At my home, I myself had to go to visit the flourmill, taking the grains and bring back flour.
(2) My co-founder’s father was a diabetic patient and it was very difficult for them to find a suitable flour (only made of Chana).
We realized such products are scarcely available in the market. In order to cater to such needs and to change the existing culture, we decided to start this venture.
Coming to the other front on the supply side, we researched and came to know that a lot of flourmills have shut down due to the reasons that I mentioned earlier. We thought that they should also be empowered through a digital transformation.
Hence, we realized that this would be a good market niche for us to solve the issues for both the ends – supply as well as demand side.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship instead of a job career?
I was actually heading the entrepreneurship cell at IIT Delhi for 3 years. Being there, I realized entrepreneurship was something that truly motivates and excites me. I think it gives a leverage where one can build, solve problems and help community, creatively. I believe it’s all about passion. If you are passionate about something, you can do it. Entrepreneurship was something that I was pretty much passionate about. Also, I have several alumni friends of IIT Delhi who are founders of famous start-ups; they motivated me and gave me a push. I used to think that if they can do it, why can’t I; and so this courage finally made me reach to this point in my journey.
What impact did the pandemic have on your company? How did you overcome the difficulty, if any?
Since we were a part of the essential commodities, there were not any disturbances as such. But when it came to the operations part, we did have a couple of difficulties. We made sure that we have a good stock so that there are no delays in the supply chain and the end customer faces no inconveniences. Talking about the larger impact of Covid-19, I would say it has impacted us positively because after that we saw a transformation in the buying behavior of consumers about the essential products that they use on a daily basis. And we could provide flour in complete hygienic packing. So, overall it had a positive impact on our business.
Describe ‘Smart Anaaj’ in one sentence.
One of the best personalized brands in the world.
*All views are that of the interviewee. UdyamGyan does not promote or endorse any claims.