As the festival of Navratri approaches, the nation is gearing up to celebrate the power and strength of the goddess Durga. While the occasion holds great religious significance, it has also become a time to celebrate women and their achievements. TICE, as a platform dedicated to covering startups and entrepreneurs, has decided to take this opportunity to showcase the incredible work of nine female entrepreneurs, and how they are embracing their own Shakti to make a difference in the world.
Today, we bring you an excerpt from the exclusive conversation with Shepreneur Shakti- Parul Sharma, the Co-Founder of Gladful.
Celebrating Shakti: Parul’s Startup Story!
Parul Sharma's startup journey with Gladful started with a routine pediatric check-up for one of her children where she learned about the insufficient protein intake in their diet. As someone who had worked in the Food & Beverage industry for 15 years, Parul was surprised that she wasn't aware of this. She discussed this with her younger sibling, Manu, who believed in building a solution to solve a problem. Together, they did extensive research, spoke to thousands of parents, and found that there was a significant lack of knowledge about protein among Indian families. They worked with nutritionists and chefs to design the right products, and after many trials and errors, they came up with the perfect blend of three kinds of protein. Their first product is FSSAI certified and made without harmful ingredients like maida, trans fats, and preservatives. The Gladful family aims to make healthy and delicious food for families and children to enjoy together.
Gladful’s Development and Distribution
Gladful's products are made from whole wheat and unrefined cane sugar, and do not contain ammonia. Their snacks are high in protein, with each serving providing 7-8 grams of protein. The startup initially manufactured cookies using peas, rice, and milk protein, but has since expanded their offerings to include a breakfast range, featuring dosa-mix and cheela-mix made from sprouts and lentils. The company's founder, Parul, explains that when developing a new product, they prioritize making life easier for busy parents, creating food that children enjoy, and ensuring each product contains a minimum of 4-5 grams of protein per serving. Before launching their products, Gladful sent samples to 300 parents and requested feedback on pricing and flavor preferences. Parul emphasizes that parents have played an integral role in the development of Gladful's products.
Currently, Gladful offers cookies in a range of flavors such as chocolate, almond, orange, butter garlic, ajwain, and Indian masala, priced at Rs 300. Their sprouted breakfast range is priced at Rs 200 for 200 grams. Gladful claims to have a gross margin of over 60 percent. Their products are available on various marketplaces, including Amazon, Cred, Flipkart, One Green, and LBB. The startup competes with other healthy snack brands such as Snackible, The Green Snack Co, Habbit Health, Keeros Foods, Poshtick, Wellbeing Nutrition, Oziva, and Gynoveda.
From Male-Dominant Corporate Life to a Female-Led FMCG Startup!
Corporate life has traditionally been male-dominated, with women often facing discrimination and bias in the workplace. Despite this, Parul Sharma has shown incredible courage and determination in breaking through these barriers and starting her own businesses. By pursuing her dreams and creating her own opportunities, she's not only challenging the status quo but also inspiring others to do the same. Parul's success with Gladful is a testament to the power of women entrepreneurs and their ability to make a real impact in the world of business.
Market Growth and Funding for Gladful
In December 2021, Gladful secured an undisclosed amount of funding in a seed round led by Antler India, with participation from Huddle Accelerator, Shiprocket through their program RocketfuelXHuddle, angel investors including Ankita Vashistha from StrongHer Ventures and Encubay Angel Network, and Paavan Nanda, Co-founder of WinZO Games. Prior to this, Gladful had initially invested Rs 25 lakh. The demand for improved health and wellness in India is significant, with people seeking better food options and overall lifestyles. Gladful addresses the need for better nutrition by focusing on protein intake, which is a common deficiency in the Indian market. According to Cathy Guo, Manager of Investments and Portfolio at Antler, this aligns with the fundamental human desire to improve our health and well-being.
To learn more about Parul Sharma's startup journey watch this video!