Babson Alumnus Startup: India in a Box
Shyam Devnani M’15 promises to deliver authentic Indian cuisine straight to your doorstep by introducing India in a Box.
India in a Box
Recently launched by CEO and Founder, Shyam Devnani, India in a Box is an online meal service delivering Indian food that is authentic, healthy, and easy-to-prepare.
Products include a range of curries, rice, and bread (naan) from different regions of India – and each box is delivered to the doorsteps of hungry, Indian cuisine-enthusiasts across the U.S.
With India in a Box, one can prepare delicious Indian food in just five minutes without the hassle of spending endless hours in the kitchen:
- Simply add water to the contents of the pack,
- Heat for five minutes in a pan or a microwave, and
- Viola- your food is ready!
India in a Box creates its meals using age-old recipes, each delivering flavors from exquisite regional Indian delicacies. Cooking the food in India gives the team the ability to use the best local ingredients, and ensure a high-quality authentic Indian food experience for all consumers.
Your average packaged Indian food actually loses 50% of its nutritional value, and contain an abundance of oil and sodium. Dishes from India in a Box are different, as they’re created using a specialized dehydration process which maintains 95% of the food’s nutritional value without adding any preservatives. The dishes have a shelf life of nine months, and each contains simple, 100% Vegetarian and Gluten-free ingredients. For those who love chicken or other meats, they can simply add it to the dish once cooked.
India in Demand
Indian cuisine is the second fastest growing cuisine in the U.S., but finding authentic and healthy options is actually quite difficult.
Shyam shared that while studying at Babson, he was sick of the available packaged Indian food options, and was determined to eat cuisine that tasted like the kind he had growing up. He gathered his friends and was sure that he could easily create a homemade meal that would hopefully become a fast option for them in-between classes and coursework. He was wrong. He joked that his friends were quite amused by his failed attempts, and that from this very experience, the idea for India in a Box was born.
Recipe for Success
When Shyam started working on India in a Box, he had no previous experience in the food industry. With the help of a professional chef, and his Head of Nutrition – Sucheta Gehani, he was able to start creating each recipe from scratch.
Over the past year, Shyam and his team, also including Esha Kamndar – Head of Operations, have partnered with a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen in India, finalized their recipes, and partnered with a warehouse and fulfillment company to ensure timely deliveries.
In May, India in a Box launched its first batch of five products, and completely sold out, selling 600 boxes in less than a month. This summer, recent alumni Dhruv Seghal ’15 and Ruchir Mashru M’15 joined the team as interns, together working on business development and technology.
Babson – A Secret Ingredient?
“Babson has been my biggest support system in launching India in a Box,” said Shyam. “First, I was able to work out the barebones of the business within a new venture class taught by Professor Andrew Corbett. Along the way, I have been able to use the mentorship of other professors in specific business classes such as Supply Chain Management and Strategic Market Planning. I have also been fortunate enough to have the guidance of Professor Heidi Neck on how to think and act entrepreneurially – and it has been a true godsend. And most recently, being a part of the 2015 Babson Summer Venture Program has really accelerated our growth, giving us access to advisors and great industry thought leaders.”
While participating in the Summer Venture Program, India in a Box was also invited to be one of just 17 companies showcased in the Mass Innovation Foodie Night #9 – a prestigious local startup launch pad. To date, Mass Innovation Nights has helped launch more than 650 companies, collaboratively raising more than $800 million in funding.
The team’s current goals are to add three new dishes to its lineup in the coming months, and to also launch an ambassador program in universities across Boston.
A Word from the ‘Chef’
We have seen great success with our company thus far, but when it comes to breaking into a market and competing with ‘the big guys’ – we need your help!
We launched a crowdfunding campaign on August 15, which is also India Day – Independence Day for India! By backing our project, you will help us introduce three new dishes that not only meet our nutritional and taste standards, but are also competitively priced. You will also help us to produce our current recipes on larger scale, and get closer to our goal of bringing a little taste of India to every single kitchen and home in the United States.
Shyam Devnani M’15
When asked about his favorite Indian cuisine, Shyam said, “I am someone who enjoys a simple Lentil curry (Dal Tadka) with a bowl of rice. It has a comfort laden feel about it that truly reminds me of home.”