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Beyond Snacks: Swimming with the Sharks

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How D2C chips brand Beyond Snacks not only managed to raise funds from Shark Tank India investors but also learnt the tricks of the trade from them

In December 2022, a plant-based savoury snacks brand based out of Alappuzha, Kerala, Beyond Snacks brand featured on the Sony television programme Shark Tank India. The 2020-launched brand managed to impress the Sharks leading to Ashneer Grover, co-founder of Bharat Pe, and Aman Gupta, co-founder, and chief marketing officer of boAT investing in the business. Within six months of the investment, Beyond Snacks reported a threefold expansion.

So far, Beyond Snacks has raised a total funding of $4.17M over six rounds. Where its first funding was in Dec 2020, its latest funding round was a Seed round in July 2023 for $3.5M from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) backed Nabventures.

The inception

Beyond Snacks was launched with the aim to make authentic chips available in premium quality across the country. Talking about the idea behind the brand, Manas Madhu, co-founder, Beyond Snacks shared, “During one of my travels, I purchased a pack of chips that was terrible, causing me stomach discomfort. This made me realise the gap in the market for banana chips.” Over the course of the next two months, Manas visited 42 chip manufacturers and learned that none of them adhered to hygiene or best cooking practices. “I saw an opportunity and decided to get to work on this concept. The product was finally released in the market in January 2020,” the co-founder said. The brand received its initial backing from 100X.VC.

Working with the sharks

Beyond Snack received investment from Aman Gupta and Ashneer Grover on the first season of Shark Tank India. Madhu shared, “Both sharks brought unique skills and capabilities to the table. While Aman excels at branding and marketing, Ashneer’s strength lies in organizational development and growth. Both skills are complementary.”

Madhu explained that Ashneer taught the team about lightning-fast execution and strategies for bringing about hyper-growth, while Aman taught different layers of storytelling in branding and marketing. “Our approach to the game was fundamentally altered by the sharks’ knowledge and experience,” he added.

Channel matters

For Beyond Snacks, the sales channel that generates the most traction is marketplaces. “Our direct-to-consumer presence is primarily through marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. Within months, the product became a best-seller on Amazon and Flipkart,” Madhu said.

The product is also available on Jio Mart, The Good Stuff, Big Basket, Swiggy, Blinkit, Zepto, and others. About 70% of the brand’s business comes from online channels and the rest 30% from general retail.

“We are looking to have an equal split of offline and online by the end of the next financial year. Hardly any sale takes place on our own website. The category is an impulse buying one and that happens mostly on marketplaces,” Madhu explained.

Marketing matters

Packaging is an important part of branding and safety. To ensure freshness, the brand uses robust multilayer packaging, which is functional. To bring out the connection of Banana chips with Kerala, the packaging depicts an art from the state. The overall packaging is vibrant and eye-catching.

Also, the brand consciously picked its positioning and the perception it wants to build in the mind of its consumers through its maiden campaign titled ‘24 Carat Taste’.

In the video, banana chips were compared to 24-carat gold. “We could have talked about our technology, great product texture, crunchiness, healthy cooking methods, or the quality check level. But we knew that the consumers would not really be interested in too much nitty-gritty of the product,” the co-founder said explaining the rationale behind building a campaign around the 24-carat aspect of the product.

“At every level, we see the gold standard of everything, whether it is the Apple iPhone in the mobile category or Nike in the shoe category. Similarly, we are looking to position ourselves as the gold standard in banana chips. We then decided to deliver this core message to our customers through the campaign,” he added.

With the funding and guidance from veteran investors, Beyond Snacks now plans to expand its offline presence across 10 states in India covering 25 cities.

 

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