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Sagar Daryani, CEO and Co-founder – Wow! Momo & Saga: From a Kiosk to a Kingdom

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R S Roy
R S Roy
R S Roy is the editorial advisor at IMAGES Group

Sagar Daryani’s entrepreneurial odyssey from humble beginnings to pioneering success has redefined the landscape of food startups in India. Co-founding Wow! Momo, he has spearheaded the growth of the largest indigenous QSR chain in the country, crafting a remarkable saga of triumph

The Genesis: A Visionary Venture Takes Root

In 2008, armed with a mere Rs. 30,000 and boundless ambition, Sagar Daryani and Binod Homagai embarked on their entrepreneurial journey while still pursuing their graduation in B.Com Hons from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, even before their college results were out.

They knew the value for money and boot-strapped to plough back profits and grow their venture. Sagar spearheaded brand expansion, brand creation, and marketing and retail operations. Grew across the city with a strong consumer focus.

The early days were hard but keeping track of the money flow was even harder. Believing in the concept of ‘1 rupee saved is 5 rupees earned’, and the lessons they learned while assisting their parents in running the family business during school days, Sagar anchored the growth of business by a strict cost control mechanism. The initial stores were Kiosks inside hypermarkets of Big Bazaar and Spencer’s in Kolkata, which paved the way for opening Food outlets in Malls, Tech parks, and subsequently restaurants in High Street busy commercial locations.

Thus, the stage was set for what would evolve into WOW! Momo, a culinary sensation renowned for its diverse range of momos.

Expansion and Innovation: Scaling New Heights

Navigating the challenges of early-stage entrepreneurship, Sagar steered WOW! Momo’s expansion strategy with precision. From modest kiosks to a sprawling chain of 600+ outlets across 30+ cities, he fostered steady growth while championing innovation in brand building. Innovation remains at the core fabric of him and his team; innovative representation and recipes have been handcrafted by Sagar to win the hearts of millions. After scaling Wow! Momo, Sagar successfully launched Wow! China, Wow! Chicken and the entire FMCG range of Momos across the country. His latest brand Coco Charge which has organic coconut water is creating ripples in the FMCG sector.

Sagar proudly presents Wow Kulfi, the newest venture under the esteemed Wow Momo brand. The recently launched Wow Kulfi kiosk at City Centre Mall marks an exciting addition to the family, offering delectable frozen treats to delight customers and enrich the culinary experience.

After successfully building the Wow! Momo brand, Sagar, and team are now looking to strengthen its second brand, Wow! China, launched earlier this year aims at focusing on “Chindian” cuisine. Wow! China intends to do with Chinese food what Wow! Momo did with momos, i.e., give the roadside cuisine a healthy and hygienic facelift!

Last year in January 2022 – Sagar Daryani Launched Wow! Chicken – An innovative fried and grilled chicken brand – roaring against market leader and international chain. With innovative food; tastes and flavors. Wow! Chicken provides MSG free more health-centric Fried and grilled Chicken options and to top it up plethora of veg delights for vegetarian consumers.

Empowering Lives: A Vision Beyond Business

For Sagar, success extends beyond business metrics. Sagar is passionate about creating employment and wealth for others equally; he dreams of a 100% employment in India. The company currently employs over 6000+ staff of which about 150 are specially able or from various NGOs which the company has partnered with. Sagar also has a long-term vision of opening 50 cancer hospitals fully funded by this venture to assist patients who cannot afford treatment.

In simpler words Sagar states the purpose of the brand; “We want maximum people to have maximum happiness by serving them maximum number of times & creating maximum employment ”.

A Journey of Valuation and Vision

Sagar raised their first round of funding of Rs. 10 crore in 2015 from India Angel Network (IAN) led by Mr. Sanjeev Bikhchandani (founder of Naukri.com) at a Rs. 100 crore valuation. They doubled their investors’ money in 18 months in the subsequent round of a Rs. 230 Crore valuation (May 2017) from Lighthouse. Sagar & team raised their second round in October 2019; with a valuation of nearly 860 Crores by Tiger Global. Despite of Covid and downturns; Backing Sagar’s constant effort and growth of Wow! Momo in the last two years, they have raised 2 rounds with Treeline at Rs 1250 Crores and then with OAKS in 2022 at Rs. 2150 Crores making Wow! Momo only home-grown QSR brand to cross the valuation of 2000+ Crs. In April 17, 2024, Wow! Momo,  secured $8.37 million in its Series D funding round. Investors included Z3Partners, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and OAKS Asset Management. The total raised amounted to over Rs 480 crore, with Rs 270 crore in primary infusion and Rs 210 crore in secondary share purchases from early-stage investors. The company’s valuation stood at approximately Rs 2,500 crore during this round.

WOW! Momo’s trajectory of success is mirrored in its remarkable valuation journey. From securing its initial funding in 2015 to achieving unicorn status in 2022, Sagar’s steadfast leadership has propelled the brand to unprecedented heights.

Charting the Path Ahead: A Global Odyssey Beckons

As WOW! Momo sets its sights on an IPO and global expansion, Sagar remains undeterred in his quest for innovation and growth. With a vision to serve diverse consumer preferences and expand its footprint to over 100 cities, the WOW! story is poised for its next chapter under Sagar’s dynamic leadership. To Sagar and his team, they are confident that their Wow! story has just begun.

Experience the WOW! Factor: A Journey of Transformation

Join Sagar Daryani as he moderates the session ‘ACCELERATING RETAIL @ SCALE – Aligning Strategies For India’s Next 500 Million Consumers.’

Stay tuned for insights into Sagar’s transformative approach to business, leveraging technology, and catering to evolving consumer demands in the dynamic retail landscape.

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