It was another exciting episode of Shark Tank India, where budding entrepreneurs present their business ideas to a panel of investors, hoping to strike a deal that can take their venture to the next level. In this particular episode, two young entrepreneurs, Himanshu Gakhreja and Shreya Agarwal, presented their eggless cheesecake-making company, Cheesecake, and Co, hoping to secure an investment that could help them expand their business and reach new heights.
Himanshu, a 12th-standard dropout, has always had a passion for making cheesecakes. He started his journey by working in a bakery for two and a half years, where he honed his skills and learned the art of making cheesecake. However, his father wasn't very supportive of his passion and wanted him to work in the family business of raw materials. It was only after Himanshu got married to Shreya that he was able to convince his father to invest in his dream and start Cheesecake and Co.
Cheesecake and Co is a company that specializes in making delicious, 100% vegetarian cheesecakes that are not only visually appealing but also melt-in-your-mouth delicious. They have over 15 different varieties of cheesecake, with blueberry cheesecake being the most popular among their customers. In just a few years, Cheesecake and Co have grown to have over 19 outlets in Delhi and Bangalore, with some being physical locations, and others being cloud kitchens.
The process of making cheesecake at Cheesecake and Co is nothing short of an art form. First, biscuits are crushed and set inside a mold. Then, a blend of cream and cheese is poured into the mold, and the whole thing is baked at an even temperature until it's perfectly golden brown. The final product is a masterpiece that is sure to delight your taste buds. If you wish to learn how to make cheesecakes at home, Alippo has a course on that which you can check out.
As the founders of Cheesecake and Co took the stage to present their pitch, they made an ask of ₹1 crore for 2% equity in their company, valuing it at ₹50 crores. The sharks were impressed with their numbers, as they had managed to generate ₹6 crores in sales in the past fiscal year, with a 20% profit margin. With their projected sales for the upcoming year expected to cross ₹25 crores, the sharks knew that Cheesecake and Co had a bright future ahead of them.
Anupam was the first shark to make an offer, offering ₹50 lakhs for 5% equity in the company, valuing it at ₹10 crores, and an additional debt of ₹50 lakhs at 15% interest. Aman joined in on the offer, and together, they made a strong case for their investment. However, the founders of Cheesecake and Co knew their worth and countered the offer with ₹1 crore for 3% equity in their company.
The sharks were impressed with the counteroffer and even went on to make a counteroffer of their own, offering ₹1 crore for 5% equity in the company. However, the founders of Cheesecake and Co knew that they were worth more and countered with an offer of ₹1 crore for 3.5% equity. The sharks were taken aback by the confidence of the founders, and while they tried to negotiate, the deal fell through, and Cheesecake and Co left the Shark Tank without a deal.
Although the founders of Cheesecake and Co were unable to secure a deal with the sharks, they knew that they had something special on their hands. With their delicious, 100% vegetarian cheesecakes, they managed to capture the hearts and taste buds of people across India.
Here are some potential learnings that Cheesecake and Co could apply to help grow their business:
- Focus on building a strong brand: Cheesecake and Co has already established itself as a leader in the eggless cheesecake market in India. However, to take their business to the next level, they need to focus on building a strong brand that resonates with their target audience. This could include creating a brand story, developing a consistent visual identity, and creating a strong social media presence.
- Explore new markets and distribution channels: While Cheesecake and Co have already expanded to multiple locations in Delhi and Bangalore, there is still room for growth in other regions of India. The company could also explore new distribution channels, such as partnering with food delivery platforms or offering its cheesecakes in retail stores.
- Continuously innovate and experiment with new flavors: With over 15 different varieties of cheesecake, Cheesecake and Co have already shown its ability to innovate and experiment with new flavors. They should continue to do so by staying on top of food trends and regularly introducing new flavors that appeal to their customers.
- Build a strong team: As the company grows, it will be important to build a strong team that can support the founders in their vision. This includes hiring skilled chefs, managers, and other professionals who can help take the company to the next level.
- Use data to make informed decisions: Cheesecake and Co have already shown impressive financials, which is a testament to their ability to make smart business decisions. They should continue to use data to inform their decision-making process, whether it's tracking customer behavior or analyzing sales trends. By doing so, they can make more informed decisions and optimize their operations for continued success.