Rejected by Shark Tank, backed by Sunny Leone: 21 YO friends built a healthy bar and chocolate brand, projecting Rs 1.5 Cr revenue in FY25

Rize Bar founders with Sunny Leone

Rize, launched in January 2024 by young entrepreneurs Dhruv Verma and Sahil Manrala is a Gurgaon-based D2C brand that sells energy bars and chocolates with no added sugar, no preservatives or artificial sweeteners. All their products are sourced from the highest quality standard ensuring the best taste and quality.

The duo young entrepreneurs came forward to discuss the brand’s journey with Startup Pedia.

India is witnessing a rise in entrepreneurship, with college students actively participating. Twenty-one-year-old health and fitness enthusiasts and friends Dhruv Verma and Sahil Manral live in the same society and have been friends for 12 years. Both of them were raised by single mothers. They eat, study, work, and go to the gym together.

Sahil has a culinary educational background that helped them formulate Rize’s products. Meanwhile, Dhruv has studied business related to real estate and urban projects.

As we were raised by single mothers, we could understand each other better. That’s why we are good friends,” said Dhruv.

Dhruv Verma and Sahil Manrala - Co-founders at Rize Bar
Dhruv Verma and Sahil Manrala – Co-founders at Rize Bar

How did Rize Emerge?

The young entrepreneurs, childhood friends, and regular gym-goers wanted to build something close to their hearts. The spark that ignited the flame of Rize came from a simple realization by co-founder Dhruv that there was a void in the Indian market for an energy bar infused with caffeine. Drawing inspiration from coffee, a beloved beverage known for its energy-boosting properties, the Delhi-based entrepreneur envisioned a healthier alternative.

The co-founders were in college when they wanted to build Rize. They researched the nutrient values of different ingredients and food by taking breaks from studies during college hours. The 21-year-old entrepreneurs spent close to Rs 2,000 and researched how the bars were made and tried making them at home in the kitchen.

Dhruv Verma reflected, “Most of the manufacturers were beyond budget as we did not have enough funds at that time. The journey began when we started putting the ingredients together and making them in the kitchens of our homes. We studied the ingredients of the bars that were available in the markets. We then thought about different formulas that could replace some of those ingredients with healthier options.”

The duo decided to avoid distractions that usually overwhelm college students of their age and devote their lives to the business.

Their journey was not without its challenges. From navigating the complexities of manufacturing to overcoming skepticism in a crowded marketplace, the young founders faced many adversities.

Once these young entrepreneurs had the perfect energy bars in their home kitchen, they initially tried to convince manufacturers to produce small quantities due to the lack of funds. After running pillar to post, they managed to convince one, and production began. For this, they borrowed about Rs. 10 lakh from their parents.

Rize Berry Blast Bar
Rize Berry Blast Bar

They said, “People do not take young entrepreneurs like us seriously, but we were determined to prove them wrong. We realized that catching people’s attention was key to marketing our products. We did a few offline campaigns in colleges by putting up stalls to create awareness.”

The D2C brand Rize, ideated in April 2023, was launched on January 31, 2024. The brand used influencer marketing to reach its target audience.

Product Range of Rize

The Gurgaon-based startup is a premium health and wellness brand solving 3 problems , including Health, women wellness, and sleep wellness. It has three major products.

  • Rize Energy Bar is its top product. It is a kind of bar that contains caffeine and taurine, priced at Rs 80. This is a healthy snack with caffeine for instant energy, catering to health enthusiasts, gym-goers, and travellers. The energy bar has four flavours: berry blast with white chocolate, caramel crunch, tiramisu, and choco brownie.
  • Rize Dream Bites are chocolates. These are melatonin-powered and comprise other ingredients like honey, chamomile, valerian root, and glycine to help induce sleep and relax muscles. One packet has eight chocolates, and one chocolate has 5 ml of melatonin.
  • Bliss Bites is a sugar-free product with a blend of ten natural herbs that help target the area of pain for recovery. Bliss Bites are crafted especially for women to help deal with their menstrual pain. Dream Bites and Bliss Bites have two flavours: milk chocolate and white chocolate.
Rize Dream Bites Milk Chocolate
Rize Dream Bites Milk Chocolate

One of the co-founders, Sahil, claims, “Our products’ calories range from 115 to 152 and are sugar-free. We use natural sweeteners, oats, muesli, and real fruits. We have formulated the products, and they have received seven certifications.

The carbohydrates added to Rize Bar’s products do not cause bloating and indigestion. The bars have natural preservatives and consist of rosemary that adds to the freshness. The shelf life of each bar is six months, and chocolates last for eighteen months.

The products are manufactured in Delhi with the help of in-house and outsourced manufacturing. The company currently receives 40 orders per day. Rize receives orders from its official website and Amazon. The founders operate from their Gurgaon office and have five more employees.

The Funding Experiences

Rize Bar Shark Tank India 3 Appearance
Rize Bar Shark Tank India 3 Appearance

The campus special episode of ”Shark Tank India 3” witnessed the brand Rize. Its ask was Rs 45 lakh for 6% equity. The company did not manage to raise funds on the show, but its national television presence boosted its visibility and sales.

Dhruv Verma recollected, “Despite one of the sharks saying that our business would fail, we want to keep pushing ourselves to reach newer heights.”

After facing rejection from over 40 venture capitalists and many investors, Rize attracted actor and model Sunny Leone and her husband, Daniel Weber, to invest in it. Leone is also the brand ambassador of the company.

Sunny Leone Brand Ambassador Rize Bar
Sunny Leone Brand Ambassador Rize Bar

While the initial funding of Rs 2 lakh came from their savings and parents, Sahil Manral and Dhruv Verma received a significant boost with an investment of Rs 30 lakh from the celebrity couple Sunny Leone and Daniel Weber.

The 3-month-old company has a gross margin of 60%. Sharing their financials with Startup Pedia, Sahil Manral said, “We have spent only Rs 30,000 on marketing. Hence, the growth has mostly been organic.”

Vision and Goals

Rize aims to replace unhealthy snacks with healthy products in every Indian household. With projected sales of Rs 1.25 crore in the coming year, the founders plan to increase their marketing spend and improvise on advertisement and content. Rize is also planning to venture into the retail sector to increase sales.

They plan to build a community. Explaining their vision, Dhruv mentioned, “The main target is to get at least Rs 40 lakh worth of sales online and then slowly spread to offline. If we capture Gurgaon and the entire Delhi NCR, it will be a big revenue generator from online alone. We are planning to get listed on the quick commerce platforms as well.

FAQs

What’s the Rize brand? 

Gurgaon-based Rize brand sells energy bars and chocolates without added sugar, natural ingredients, or preservatives.

Who are the founders of the Rize brand? 

The young entrepreneurs and childhood friends Dhruv Verma and Sahil Manral are the co-founders of the Rize brand. 

Products the Rize brand sells? 

Rize offers Rize Energy Bars, Rize Dream Bites, and Bliss Bites to provide to its consumers.  

USP of Rize brand products? 

All the products are sugar-free, natural and free from any preservatives. 

Who is the brand ambassador of Rize Bar? 

Sunny Leone is the brand ambassador of Rize brand.