Five fresh graduates from Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College have come together for a unique start-up. They have launched an online portal —mymithaiwala.com — to deliver traditional Indian sweets to Mumbai households without any additional charges. The service includes offerings from some of the most famous sweets shops in the city. “We realised that there is a niche market for traditional Indian sweets, and it is still unexplored. While some of the sweetshops themselves have their own delivery system, it is not real time. Many shops don’t have a separate platform to list themselves in the category of Indian sweets. That is when we decided that we should try this,” said 22-year-old Siddhant Sarapte. An arts graduate, mymithaiwala.com is his brainchild.
The other partners in the venture are, Om Pathre, Deepak Dutt, Ajinkya Shinde and Naresh Pingale.
“The trend of start-ups has taken the young generation’s world by storm, with a number of young entrepreneurs trying to find their niche in the most unconventional ways. The food industry attracts a major share of the start-up industry. There have been many companies in the delivery as well as review parts of this field, but no one has yet dabbled in the field of classic Indian sweets,” the group said.
All five friends, in their early 20s, started doing jobs soon after their graduation last year. One day, one of them heard how their friend’s relatives had travelled from Thane to Goregaon only to buy their favourite Indian sweets from a particular shop. This made them think if they could do something about it.
“We realised that there was no player in this field at all. And, for many people, traditional Indian sweets are not just desserts. They have an emotional value attached to them. So, we started strategising around it. Initially, we were reluctant to leave our jobs to pursue this,” said Om. After months of ground work, it was only in September last year that some of them left their jobs to pursue this full time.
There were many challenges too. The sweets store owners were reluctant and sceptic. While on the customer side, there was no previous experience of something like this. “Shop owners were not very keen to try something new. They were happy with their over the counter sales. Initially, only two shop owners showed a positive response,” said Siddhant. The shop owners gradually got convinced after the success of the initial months.
“We launched on 13 December last year with just two shop owners. Today, we have seven on our list,” said Siddhant.
In the first month, they got 50 orders and pulled business worth Rs 15,000. Today, they have delivered over 500 orders.
Understanding that their customer base would be mainly above 40 years of age, they designed a very easily navigable website. “The best advantage for all the customers is that they get all their favourite sweets and snacks home delivered at the exact same price offered by the shops,” the team said.
The team plans to expand at a pan-India level, and is targeting to expand to all parts of Mumbai by this year end. “We have identified 15 zones of Mumbai. We plan to tap each one and expand there by the end of this year. We have similar plans for other parts of Maharashtra,” said Siddhant. They are looking for venture capitalists to invest in their start-up. “We need investment of Rs 3-5 crore. We have made business plans, and are tapping on potential investors,” Om said.