No Mountain Too High
Two engineers — one fascinated with models and simulations and the other excited by cutting-edge research — decided to pursue an MBA from IIMA; that was the beginning of WIMWI Foods.
WIMWI Foods (IIMA is colloquially referred to as WIMWI — an acronym for ‘Well Known Institute in West India’) was co-founded by Srishti Shaw and Kanupradeep, or ‘Kanu’ Subramanian, with a vision to capitalize on a gap in the dietary requirements market — healthy snacking options. Srishti and Kanu, engineering graduates from Jadavpur University and IIT Madras respectively, worked together on various courses and projects during their PGP. It was during these courses and projects that Srishti convinced Kanu to partake in the entrepreneurship adventure.
Kanu set off on this adventure immediately after graduating from IIMA while Srishti decided to join CRISIL due to financial constraints. However, help soon came in the form of IIMavericks and G.C. Mittal scholarships. Kanu recalls that ‘starting up’ early in their life has also helped them become risk-takers and this ability has allowed them to aggressively pursue hyper-competitive markets and strive hard to succeed in them.
The startup started as a trading company that brought Shiitake mushrooms, the oriental jewels, from Japan and China to India. The novices developed a strong business acumen through this experience. Not only did they study the distribution and retail systems in India thoroughly, but also gained critical knowledge related to industry norms such as cost structures, margins, lead times, and shelf life. These learnings have shaped the startup into a successful venture.
“At the end of the day, you persevere, you find solutions.”
This initial success motivated Srishti and Kanu to explore other food-product niches. The objective was to create food products from simple and natural ingredients (that the consumer could recognise) while maintaining the desirable shelf life. An iterative process of product development with multiple trials followed. They soon found a tasty and healthy snacking variety for consumers and named them ASAP Bars.
With ASAP Bars, WIMWI Foods is steadily climbing the success ladder and is fast becoming a trusted brand. All this while, Srishti and Kanu have overcome difficulties related to being first-generation entrepreneurs with limited work experience in the hyper-competitive food sector. They feel that constantly being on their toes and keeping each other motivated has worked for them. As Kanu succinctly said, “In a moment of crisis, in a moment of uncertainty, it helps to have a partner who is dedicated to the vision completely.” WIMWI Foods is committed to finding solutions for the evolving lifestyle of Indian consumers. Guess what? It seems like they will very well be able to do it.