These entrepreneurs decided to study the new trend in agriculture – hydroponics
Anisha Goel, a family-run business in organic pesticides, organic farming, and indoor horticulture, was no stranger to the consequences of excessive chemicals, the gaps in organic certification, the lack of good agricultural practices (GAP), and the level of food waste.
Anisha was in India from Paris in 2015, where she worked with AXA. When she discovered that finding healthy lettuce greens is difficult in India, the tomatoes tasted different and the berries were almost rotten by the time they reached consumers. At the same time, indoor farms became profitable and attracted serious venture capital.
After stays at KPMG and Drivezy, Anisha founded Kaze Living in Delhi-NCR together with Abhishek Dalal and Shruti Jain in October 2019.
Kaze Living is a direct-to-consumer brand that offers a curated selection of safe, fresh, and pesticide-free foods right on your doorstep. The team works with hydroponic farms and other greenhouses, providing them with agricultural supplies, technical expertise and a platform to sell their products. Hydroponics refers to the high-tech method of growing plants in water that is rich in mineral nutrients instead of soil.
Abhishek is an entrepreneur and sold his last company, Lalbhai Composite Solutions, to the textile manufacturer Arvind Limited. Shruti was a management consultant in Delhi. The team also includes two consultants: Dr. Praveen Singh, a renowned hydroponics scientist; and Nunzio Martinello, founder of Noonic, a digital consulting company.
Noonic India has invested in Kaze Living and also provides digital marketing and software development support.
The focus on hydroponics
“I was intrigued by hydroponics technology, which promised to be the holy grail of sophisticated, sustainable agriculture, but was still quite expensive and niche,” says Anisha.
Anisha explains that fresh products that are safe to eat in raw form are hard to find in India. Leafy greens, vegetables, and berries are often withered, lazy, expensive, or simply not available – even in premium supermarkets.
Rural land farming shows an unstable supply, seasonal price fluctuations and a short shelf life of 1-2 days. The two main underlying problems are:
a) Excessive pesticides – also in “organic” certified products
b) Inefficient logistics infrastructure, which leads to a waste of> 50 percent fresh green
“Growing up in a family that involved indoor gardening and organic farming, we understood the excessive pesticides and chemicals we all use on a daily basis and the associated costs to our bodies. We wanted to ensure a safe and reliable supply of healthy lettuce, tasty tomatoes and fresh berries, ”says Anisha.
The platform and way of working
At its core, Kaze Living is developing a platform for the exchange and analysis of specialist knowledge that consolidates the production protocols and harvest plans of all partner farms.
This includes over 100 detailed data points on harvest cycles, inputs, microclimate, etc. Anisha explains that they wanted to use AI to map supply and demand, reduce waste and optimize the logs for the Indian climate.
“In order to get an impression of the potential scale, in 2018 alone more than 2500 new farms with a controlled environment were set up under the national horticultural authority. In the short term, this will enable us to scale the production of extremely sensitive and perishable products like lettuce, flowers or berries in urban clusters and make greenhouse and urban agriculture in India increasingly cost-effective for all farm owners, ”says Anisha.
She adds that the team wanted to grow safe, tasteful, local products with living roots for retail stores, cafes and chefs alongside customers. The digital-first model and the supply chain from farm to fork ensure delivery to your doorstep within three hours of leaving the farm with 100 percent transparency regarding the location of the farm, cultivation method, nutritional value and CO2 -Footprint.
Kaze Living started operations in January 2020 and currently has customers and active subscribers from the Delhi e-commerce sales. Anisha adds that they will continue to build the loyal community of health-conscious urban consumers.
“Flexible subscriptions (like salad baskets, breakfast baskets, etc.) help us improve retention and habit formation. Our initial traction was very encouraging with mother growth of 40 percent. Reaching Rs 21 lakh GMV last month. Our average order value is over Rs 1700, monthly retention is 70 percent, and 35 percent of the regular customer base are weekly subscribers. Our products have been recommended by celebrity chefs like Bill Marchetti and Kelvin Cheung, ”adds Anisha.
Market and future plans
Currently, the farm-to-fork model has agritech startups like Ninjacart, WayCool, DeHaat, and others in the room. And there are other D2C startups like INI farms. In a 2019 report, NASSCOM estimated that there are more than 450 agritech startups in the country, and funding in that sector has increased 300 percent.
Kaze Living is particularly focused on hydroponics. Anisha adds, “We also offer a range of artisanal, high quality and safe food products such as cheese, berries, sauces and oils. We are reliable, transparent, local and sustainable. We offer:
- Farm to Fork: Within three hours of leaving the farm
- Directly to the consumer
- Flexible subscriptions
- Exotic fresh products with living roots “
Kaze living wants to build a hydroponic device for the kitchen shelf that people can use to grow hydroponically in their own home. They are also working on a B2B marketplace where all farm owners and restaurants can connect and lease the plants and farms directly.
“We’re also working on a whole range of clean, pesticide-free products including snacks, dips, sauces, fruits, vegetables, etc. The anvil also has farm visits and farm lunches,” says Anisha