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From Rs 10,000 to 500 Cr Company: Vikas D Nahar Success Story

  • Aditya 
  • 5 min read
From Rs 10,000 to 500 Cr: Man Whose Business Idea Was Rejected 20 times

The inclination towards building a startup during or after graduation has grown immensely in the past few years. Moreover, with numerous investors wanting to invest in young minds the well is always filled with resources.

According to the latest data available 9 out of 10 startups fail during the second year of operations. So, what set apart Vikas D. Nahar’s Happilo that is now valued at around Rs 500 crore (approximately $62 million). The answer lies in his journey and experience before he created this brand.

1. Early Life and Education

Vikas D Nahar was born into a family of farmers in Karnataka. His family was involved in farming coffee and black pepper, which exposed him to entrepreneurship and running a business from an early age.

After completing his school education, Vikas attended Bangalore University where he graduated with a degree in computer science in 2005.

Following his graduation, Vikas began working as a senior import manager at the Jain Group. However, after gaining some experience, he left this job to pursue an MBA from Symbiosis International University.

After completing his MBA, Vikas joined Satvikk Specialty Foods as the Managing Director. His role at this healthy snacks company provided him with valuable experience in the food industry, which would later prove beneficial when he started his venture Happilo.

The hands-on experience at Satvikk Specialty Foods laid the foundation for Vikas’ entrepreneurial journey and inspired him to start his own company Happilo in 2016.

2. Idea of Starting Happilo

Vikas reminiscences how he failed multiple times before starting Happilo. In one of the ventures, he was a retailer while a distributor in the other.

He was good at numbers as he came from a Marwari Family and coincidentally he got a job at Yes Bank during campus placements. But he left that job after 6 months and joined a startup named Satvikk Speciality Foods Pvt. Ltd. as the Managing Director.

The company was involved in various healthy products from spices, and dry fruits to juices. Here Vikas worked for 5 years expanding the company’s reach.

This was where he got to learn about various facets of a company including procurement, marketing, finance, assortment, merchandising, etc.

It was in 2016 that he thought of starting Happilo. This was because there was no premium healthy snacking brand in the market that time.

3. Use of Government Schemes

Though Happilo started with only Rs. 10,000 investment, it was a CGTSME beneficiary. In this scheme, they could get a loan of around Rs 80 lakh.

So there was no need to dilute their equity to get some seed capital. Also, Nahar’s wife helped him with her savings which were around Rs. 20 lakhs.

4. Perks of Past Experience (Deal with BigBasket)

Being a retailer for a large part of his life Vikas knew quite a few category decision-makers in platforms like BigBasket. Vikas says how happy the retailer of BigBasket was because there was no organized market of these healthy snacks goods.

Moreover, food safety rules were not that clear at that time in India so there were numerous illegal channels of procurement which made it hard for retailers to put them up for sale.

So, Vikas knew already from his experience that the demand was there already but there was no consistent supply of goods from a trusted source. This is what he used as his entry point into the Indian market.

Bigbasket decided to do an exclusive launch for a month across all 8 metro cities of India. Later the products were launched at Hypercity (supermarket chain). In this way, the chain continued with additional retailers coming in with their demand.

Now they are also available at woo-commerce marketplaces like Instamart and blinkit.

5. Focus on Retaining more than Acquiring

According to Vikas being relevant with prices product quality and quantity is very important in modern-day businesses. This is because of the increasing costs of marketing to acquire new customers.

This is where understanding how a customer perceives your brand is very important not how you perceive it. Branding and communication play a major role according to Vikas. If you are not able to communicate well with your customer then you will not be able to build that trust.

Lastly, consistency is very important. As a founder one must try his best not to confuse the customer with may it be packaging, variety, and quality.

At the end of day every brand is targeting the same set of customers and once you give a reason to your consumer to try another brand then a mojor portion of your future earnings will go into re-ackquiring them.

Also Read: From serving as IPL chairman to now running Rs 20,285 crore Alembic Pharmaceuticals

What to Learn From Vikas’s Journey?

Nahar’s background in farming and experience working at Satvikk Specialty Foods gave him deep insights into the healthy snacks industry and running a food business effectively.

Government schemes like CGTSME to get collateral-free loans allowed Happilo to start without diluting equity, providing financial stability in the early stages.

Nahar’s experience as a retailer helped him understand consumer demand for healthy snacks and build relationships with major retailers like BigBasket for distribution from the outset.

Aditya Farrad

Aditya Farrad

Aditya is a seasoned business expert and the founder of Moneymint. He became a self-made millionaire at a young age thanks to his various online businesses. With years of experience running his own successful businesses, Aditya understands the unique challenges and opportunities that come with entrepreneurship.

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