MEET CO-FOUNDERS OF OPEN SECRET AHANA GAUTAM AND UDIT KEJRIWAL
Open Secret is a mission to make every Indian family eat better and it’s cookies are meant for all age-groups.
From the idea of replacing the junk food with healthy and high-quality snacks, Open Secret was launched and became the one of well-known brand in FMCG sector.
We came across the journey of Open Secret along with its vision and mission and challenges faced during the setup of this start-up in an exclusive interview of Ms. Ahana Gautam, Co-Founder of Open Secret with CLIQTAX:
CT: How would you define Open Secret and what is more innovative about Open Secret?
AG: Open Secret is a mission to make every Indian family eat better. We are an early-stage start-up in the healthy snacking industry, targeting Indian families, particularly mothers who struggle to provide a healthy yet tasty snack to their kids.
Our flagship product is a range of nutty cookies that are currently available in three varieties: Peanut Butter, White Choco Cashew, and Choco Almond.
The primary innovation or differentiator at Open Secret is the product itself. Consumer trends in India are changing rapidly wherein people are increasingly looking to live and eat healthier.
The market is largely crowded with traditional players and the industry has seen meagre innovation in the last few decades. A perfect blend of health and taste, our wholesome cookies are packed with nuts, protein, and fibre, and contain no added maida.
CT: When you started this venture and what motivated you to start Open Secret?
AG: Open Secret was started in October 2019. As a child, I remember how my working mother often struggled to provide a healthy snacking option for me and my brother. Today, my sister-in-law faces the same problems for my niece. There are millions of mothers in our country facing the same issue on a daily basis.
My personal experiences coupled with the enormous opportunity that my Co-Founder and I saw in the snacking industry motivated us to start Open Secret. We want Indian families to snack better and healthier.
CT: Is Your Start-up Bootstrap or Funded?
AG: We are fortunate to have earned the trust of prominent business leaders in India. We have raised seed capital from Matrix Partners, Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal, and Vivek Gambhir of Godrej.
CT: Tell us something about the Open Secret Founder and its team?
AG: We are two Co-founders - Udit Kejriwal and myself. By education, we are both Engineers and have pursued an MBA. Udit is an IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad graduate.
I went to IIT Bombay and Harvard Business School. Prior to joining B-School, Udit and I worked at P&G for a few years.
Our team comprises diverse professionals with deep expertise in respective business functions. We are a relatively small team at the moment with 12 members.
CT: What’s your company’s goal & few names of your clientele?
AG: We are a consumer-centric company in that we aim to provide a healthy and tasty snacking alternative to everyone in India. We aspire to be in 5 million homes in 3 years.
You can find us on Amazon, Big Basket, Ferns and Petals, and Nature’s Basket. Additionally, we are present across 200+ local Kirana stores in Mumbai and expanding rapidly.
CT: Who is your targeted audience and what strategy do you prefer to reach out to them?
AG: Our cookies are meant for all age-groups. However, we strategically wish to go after mothers, largely because they are the primary decision-makers for a family’s food preferences and face maximum challenges in making the right choices.
In this endeavour, we wish to educate them about the benefits of our product, enable them to experience it, and eventually create an ecosystem wherein they become our brand ambassadors organically to help us grow further.
CT: Do you work locally or nationally/Globally?
AG: We are a 100% local brand. All our processes including manufacturing, distribution, and sales are India-based. The India market is our only focus at the moment.
CT: What is the business model & how you do things differently?
AG: We are passionate about growth, both across B2C and B2B channels. As stated earlier, we are building a consumer-first brand with an omnichannel presence across D2C, ecommerce, and offline supermarket stores.
We are also a value-driven company. We don’t just strive to ensure the best-in-class experience for our customers, but also attribute immense importance to the all-round growth of individual team members and contributions made by our heroes behind-the-scenes.
For instance, we recently did a ‘Thank You’ campaign for our retail store owners, thanking them for their daily service during the tough periods of lockdown.
At Open Secret, we are fanatic about a data-first approach. Since day 1, we have worked towards building and maintaining robust data systems across business functions to drive key decisions.
This approach has enabled us to ask the right questions and understand the pain-points of our customers, enabling us to improvise and act with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
CT: Please share a piece of advice with aspiring entrepreneurs.
AG: Your customer is the true north star. Just follow the customer and be obsessed about the problem that you are solving for them.
CT: At last, a Few words you want to say about our CLIQTAX and your experience about it?
AG: We had a great experience interacting and sharing our journey with you.
CLIQTAX extends heartiest wishes to Ahana Gautam & Udit Kejriwal for their journey as a mentor and entrepreneur. Kudos to them for such an amazing interview.