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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Sakshi Chhabra Mittal

Sakshi Chhabra Mittal is the founder and CEO of Foodhak. Sakshi studied Biotechnology at University before getting her MBA from Wharton School. After carrying out a successful career as an investor in life and food sciences (including roles at Pfizer and SoftBank Vision Fund) and after having two children, Sakshi founded Foodhak in 2021.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Foodhak is a revolutionary new food subscription delivery service that uses AI to develop personalised meal plans. The idea for this business came to me after I transformed my health and recovered from a liver disease using food as medicine, specifically an Ayurvedic diet.

I’ve always had a passion for food sciences. I studied Biotechnology at University of Birmingham and then got my MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania before getting my first job at Pfizer.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

Foodhak was born out of both professional and personal passions for me. Firstly, having worked within food sciences, I noticed a huge gap in the ‘food as medicine’ space. While the health focused food market is saturated, research into the topic and authentic and genuinely nutritious products are limited.

Personally, I suffered an illness during my first pregnancy which resulted in suffering from a liver disease. However, I adopted an Ayurvedic diet and completely transformed my health and reserved my illness. These two factors made me passionate to bring the positive benefits of a nutritious diet to the world while also properly educating on how beneficial food can be to health and wellbeing. That’s why I created a personalised nutrition tool, Foodhak.  

How did you achieve awareness?

We understood that we live in a digital world and so we made sure Foodhak was a digital first brand. Foodhak has a large social media presence and we’ve used this successfully to build a loyal fanbase by publishing authentic content.

We were also very lucky to quickly move into physical activations including making the products available in stores such as Selfridges. This has allowed us to reach a huge potential customer base.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

Within a few weeks of starting Foodhak, we completed our first investment round which was reached $5.75 million (oversubscribed from the $5 million target) and was one the largest investment rounds in Europe. With a background in the investor community and having been an investor myself, I was able to bring a large network to the company and use this to our advantage.

At the time, and still now, appetite for food as medicine was high which leant to an initial strong interest from both customers and investors. We were extremely lucky that other people saw the vision in Foodhak and more importantly, believed in it too.

What are the key successes?

Foodhak has achieved huge success in its short time on the market. The brand has grown year on year in revenue and we have been able to launch multiple brand lines including a functional snack range and also a sister brand Jugad (Indian street food restaurant).

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

Firstly, penetrating large scale retail has been a challenge Foodhak has had to overcome as we have had to learn and adjust to other company’s processes and timescales. Figuring out the health food space and remaining competitive within a really saturated market has also been difficult but this has become easier as our business has expanded. As we expand, we have ensured that our quality and messaging remains high and consistent.

We have also prioritised remaining engaged on social media as we understand that this is a huge opportunity to reach potential customers.

What are your plans now/for the future?

We plan to expand Foodhak is every way possible. We will be launching more brand lines that line up with our overall mission to bring nutritious food to everyone and in all formats. We also plan to launch the brand internationally with the US up first.

Finally, Foodhak will be available in an app very soon. This is a really exciting step for us as it will allow customers to have a personalised nutrition tool on their phones making it even easier to eat nutritious food.  

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

I would recommend that entrepreneurs starting out collect as much data and information as possible before starting a business. It’s important to know that not all passions can work as sustainable businesses so understanding the market, the product you want to offer and the work involved is key. Get comfortable with your business plan as this confidence will translate into success.

If you can, keep your usual job while you soft launch the company. This will minimise any risk while giving you a chance to understand customer reactions and better understand the market. Also take the time to gain financial savings if possible to make sure you have enough stability to deal with problems that arise.

Having the right team behind you is key, professional and personally. Build a strong founding team that shares your passion and that you can trust but make sure you have a strong support system in family and friends behind the scenes.

Plan for everything. Make sure you always have a plan B and C as there is always unpredictable problems especially when starting out and plan A will not succeed.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

I am most inspired by my family and friends. I think you learn so much from your inner circle and relating their passions and thoughts to my own brand has been so useful to me.

Lots of my family and friends are also successful business founders including my Father in Law and this success has been a huge inspiration to me. They have been able to create businesses while making sure to take time out for their loved ones and this is a trait I carry with me in my own entrepreneurial journey.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Words I live by are ‘You can have it all’ and ‘Everyday hustle or hustle everyday’

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?