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Armed with fresh capital, Up to integrate quick commerce to its smart kitchen appliance

Having raised $1.3 million in a seed funding round recently, Bengaluru-based Up⤴️ hopes to reach a $30 million annual run rate on its smart kitchen appliance

Armed with fresh capital, Up to integrate quick commerce to its smart kitchen appliance
Mahek Mody and Mohit Sharma, co-founders of Up⤴️
POSTED ON November 22, 2022 8:02 PM

While working at Ather Energy as Chief of Staff, Mahek Mody often had arguments with people who were dismissive about electric vehicles (EVs), claiming that it was a niche market and unlikely to become mainstream. However, consumer demand transformed the automotive industry, and India’s electric two-wheeler sales in the first seven months of FY23 rose to 392,349 units, against 110,753 units in the corresponding period last year.

Mohit Sharma had a similar experience as head of engineering at Chaayos, a start-up he had co-founded, where people were unwilling to believe that consumers would order tea and coffee online. Now, India’s online food delivery market is expected to reach Rs 1,515.17 billion by 2026, expanding at a 30.11 per cent CAGR from 2021 to 2026. 

Having witnessed these changes up close and personal, the IIT Bombay alumni decided to quit their cushy jobs. In 2021, they started a company that addresses another consumer need, which they believed is unrepresented but promises a great return on investment—that of a connected home tech industry.

The two founded Up⤴️, which sits at the intersection of smart and connected devices and everyday living. The start-up raised $1.3 million in its pre-seed round this month, with Zerodha’s investment arm Rainmatter investing $500,000. 

Other investors included Draper Associates, Stanford, Ather Energy’s co-founders Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, Unacademy’s co-founders Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini. Interestingly, the start-up’s other group of investors include seven beta testers who joined it as mini angels after using the delishUp⤴️ during its pre-production trials.  

Mody and Sharma plan to use the pre-seed investment towards building a strong engineering team who can develop and scale delishUp⤴️ at a rapid pace as the company prepares for mass deliveries in December 2022.

“We have been running our 1-week trial program since early this year in Bengaluru and will scale this up to more cities in the coming months, starting with Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad, where we have already received a lot of organic traction,” Sharma revealed.

The global smart kitchen appliances market size is valued at $11 billion and is expected to hit $44 billion by 2028, with almost 19 per cent CAGR, according to CareEdge Advisory & Research. Buoyed by these numbers, Up⤴️ has outlined aggressive growth plans armed with fresh capital. 

It claims that in the past five months, it has worked with over 250 households for delishUp⤴️ across demographics, including working professionals, young couples and families with children who seek a smart cooking device. Their busy lifestyle notwithstanding, this clientele wants nutritious but enjoyable, food served daily. 

DelishUp⤴️ has several recipes built into the smart cooking device. Mody claimed that Up⤴️ has been iterating its products with users in Bengaluru to understand what an average user eats at home, and how often they order, including data like how many days in a month their cooks are away. 

This information will help the company to add features like integration with quick commerce to assist users with tasks like grocery planning and shopping. “We also want to introduce language options, so even your cook can use the delishUp⤴️,” Mody added. 

Aware that Indian consumers are selective when it comes to investing in convenience and technology, emphasizing value for investment than necessity, the company is doing it best to price the product reasonably. Sharma claimed that this is easier to achieve since it is indigenously designed. Therefore, they can price the appliance at Rs 24,999 instead of $1000 (Rs 81000) for comparable imported products.

“The delishUp⤴️ for our target audience comes at a comfortable price point, especially as they see investing in value-driven technology at home as a critical and necessary investment,” he added. 

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