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How Chennai-based Mukunda Foods Is Automating Dosa-Making

Mukunda Foods designs and develops technology for use in the Indian food retail segment. One of the winners of the TATA First Dot Powered by NEN Awards in 2012, the company has since seen both investor and customer traction with its product DosaMatic. We speak to founder and CEO Eshwar K Vikas.

Why Dosas? Exactly how did you come up on this idea?​

The Indian food market has always been a prepared dish rather than a manufactured dish. Dosas, Idlis, and other such have always been prepared fresh to serve, rather than manufactured like burgers, or pizzas, which have been automated to an extent. Consequently, you see that the prices of the western dishes remain the same more or less throughout the country. Whereas with dosas for example, the prices are lower in south India as compared to north India. So, the main idea was to standardize the entire process, and dosamatic does that as there is not much skill required from the user’s end.

As to why dosas, even the Huffington Post acknowledges that dosas are the fifth most popular dish across the globe. Plus, who doesn’t want to have fresh dosas?

How is DosaMatic automating dosa-making? What are the advantages of using DosaMatic as compared to handmade dosas?

DosaMatic works almost like a Coffee Machine. You have various options available to make all variations of dosas -- like the size of the dosa, number of dosas, thickness of the dosa, etc. The ease of operation is another great advantage. Just enter your preferences and DosaMatic can start churning your dosas out at the rate of a dosa a minute.

In October last year, you received a funding of about Rs 1 crore from Indian Angel Networks. Congratulations! How has this funding helped you?

The exact amount of the funding (it is not 1 crore) is not public, but yes, the funding has helped us a lot in the last 10-12 months, in setting up our manufacturing unit. We have close to 40 employees working at the unit, and they will produce 150-200 machines in this fiscal year. We have already opened branches in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai and are planning to expand to 15 other geographical locations.

It looks like you had a lot of fun making your latest video commercial. What's been the response so far?

 

The response was superb, as people loved the video a lot and we have had a lot of enquiries since then. But the video was a planned project, where we brought in another startup who led us through the entire creative process of selecting a theme, making the script, and the various other stages of production. We’re glad it worked out well.

Starting up is a hard task, and doing so while being a student makes it all the more challenging. Looking back, what do you think have been your key learnings?

In the very beginning, most entrepreneurs have a thousand questions running through their head. My advice to these young entrepreneurs would be to not worry too much about them, and just start. There will be a lot of problems that you will face, and a lot of difficult and frustrating times where you will be tested mentally and emotionally, but the trick is to keep going. A lot of startups close, not because their idea or execution is weak, but because the founders can’t take the frustrating times. Perseverance will ensure that you have a good story at the end of the day, and there’s a lot of joy in that.

About NEN

The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) is Wadhwani Foundation’s flagship initiative in India. It was established in 2003 with a mission to inspire, educate and support high potential entrepreneurs to create millions of high-value jobs.

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