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“We recently closed Rs 1 crore in cumulative revenue”: Harish Mohan

In a conversation with Indian Retailer, Harish Mohan, Founder, SipWise Beverages tells why there are huge opportunities for product category creators in India.

Tags: SipWise Beverages, juices, Bigbasket, Grofers

BY Shwetha Satyanarayan  |  August 22, 2018  |  comments ( 0 )  | 
“We recently closed Rs 1 crore in cumulative revenue”: Harish Mohan
Harish Mohan

The global juice market is expected to grow to $275 billion market in less than a decade. However, the Indian juice consumers have mostly stayed loyal to fruit-based or pulp-based drinks when consuming juices. Taking a leap forward, Mohan, is introducing a range of juices to the millennials who might have wondered what if green tea became a juice or a healthy herb turned tasty.

Walk us through your journey and the idea behind SipWise Beverages.

During my MBA days, I happened to visit Duke University and in the campus, I tasted fresh juices that were different in flavors and were a lot refreshing than a regular fruit juice. This triggered the idea in me to experiment with something back home because in India such kind of fresh juice offerings never existed. Also, juices were mostly believed to be a drink that cools you down after a heavy meal. However, our idea was to be different and nearly after two years’ of R&D, we launched our first brand What If in 2017. About six monthsago, we launched another brand 1947. We have a collection of functional drinks under both the brands and by functional we mean there are special ingredients in these drinks that are meant for certain functionalities.

For most juice drinkers in India, juice means fruit-based drinks. Functional drinks are a new concept. How is the market for this segment?

To a large extent, when it comes to juices the market is saturated because the Indian psyche is tuned to think juices means it should be fruit based. However, with time there has been more exposure and even jeera-based drinks are quite popular these days. But, if 90 per cent population turns to fruit-based or pulp-based drinks, our products cater to the remaining 10 per cent who want something different. There are huge opportunities for beverages in India which is why other companies are also investing huge money in category creation. It’s a long term proposition and it takes time.

Startups like RAW are making millennials go back to fruit juices. How are you dealing with this competition? Who are your main competitors?

We don’t have any competitors in the product category, but in shelf-life there’s huge competition. It could be RAW, Paperboat, O’cean or any other brand, they are also vying for good market share. Talking about going back to fruit juices, globally, there’s huge demand for fortified beverages that have minerals, vitamins and any drink basically that’s for health. The Indian scenario is no different and there’s been more awareness in young consumers. Our marketing strategies revolve around creating brand awareness and we are reaching more consumers through different initiatives that showcase the idea behind functional drinks.  

How have you scaled since your launch and what are your expansion plans?

We are mainly present in Bombay, Bengaluru and Pune through general trade. In the next 12 months, we will be present in top 4 Metro cities and top 10 tier-I cities. We will also expand our online base and will launch exclusive campaigns for online consumers. Presently, we are present only in BigBasket and Grofers. We will take our products to other ecommerce marketplaces with different product offers. Also, we recently closed Rs 1 crore in cumulative revenue.  

What are the challenges in scaling? How are you overcoming them?

Well, being a category creator is a boon as well as a challenge. Building the brand and scaling distribution is always a biggest challenge and we are overcoming it through different marketing and promotional strategies. For instance, we have enrolled Amarjeet Singh Chawla, a blind marathon runner, as our brand ambassador. We want to stand out as a product maker and are doing the same with our promotional initiatives.  

What are your visions for SipWise beverages?

We want to achieve significant traction and that’s the aim. In the long run, we want to emerge as the market leader and reach out to more number of consumers from all age groups. For now, our customers belong to 20-30 age group and we hope our products reach to more number of people in different cities.

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