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Three friends started an online venture with Rs 2 lakh and grows into a Rs 135 crore turnover business

Himanshu Chawla, Suman Patra, and Shrey Sehgal, started the online bakery Bakingo in 2016.

By Gopu S K
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Three friends started an online venture with Rs 2 lakh and grows into a Rs 135 crore turnover business

Think about all the delicious desserts you'd like to eat right now, like tiramisu cake, banoffee pie, chocolate truffle cake in a jar, or exquisite cupcakes. If you're craving something sweet, you can satisfy your craving by ordering your favourite western dessert from Bakingo, which offers a wide variety of options.

Himanshu Chawla, Suman Patra, and Shrey Sehgal, all from middle-class backgrounds, started the online bakery Bakingo in 2016. The business uses a cloud kitchen model and currently has a presence in 11 locations.

Flower Aura, the group's first startup, which started in 2010 and offered online flowers, cakes, and personalised gifts, has also been a huge success.

These two businesses began with a combined Rs 2 lakh in 2010 and have now grown to a combined annual revenue of 135 crore. Together, they provide jobs for over 650 people.

All three of them went for B.Tech at Netaji Subhas University of Technology in Dwarka, Delhi, and shared the same hostel. The three of them took very different tracks in their B. Tech degrees. Suman was the oldest of the three and the first to graduate, in 2006.

By 2007, both Himanshu and Shrey had passed out. The three of them each found employment elsewhere, but they eventually joined forces to form Flower Aura.

According to Suman, "Flower Aura's origins may be traced back to a basement in Gurugram." Himanshu and Shrey started Flower Aura as a sub-brand of FA Gifts Private Limited in February 2010

At the time, Himanshu was actively engaged in the business, while Shrey was pursuing his MBA. After a year, Suman eventually decided to join them.

When asked about the company's early days, when there were fewer ecommerce portals around, Shrey reflects, "Our beginning was really interesting." In the beginning, "we only had one employee who did customer service, operations, and delivery."

On Valentine's Day (February 14) of their first year in business, they were swamped with orders. Himanshu and Shrey had to help out with the delivery because their regular driver was completely overrun.

Shrey, who comes from a middle class family in the city of Panipat, is famous for textiles and carpets. "That day, I and Himanshu hand delivered at least 50% of the orders across Delhi NCR," he says.

He talks about how most salaried families tend to be sceptical of new things. Shrey says, "But I wanted to break this." 

"Food is a key component in Indian culture. While Pizza Hut and McDonald's are big names in the United States, there's nobody like them in India." says Himanshu.

Bakingo set out to fill the void in the market by offering its customers the ability to purchase the same delicious, freshly baked cake from multiple locations across the country. With 11 cities and 50 cloud kitchens, Suman boasts, "We had done extensive R&D to give the same taste across all of them."

Himanshu elaborates, "The startup idea was to deliver high-end cakes across India in response to online orders."

"In contrast to the typical local bakery, which might stock anywhere from five to ten various types of cake, Bakingo does have 500 various types available at any given time. In addition to our existing stores in Meerut, Panipat, Rohtak, Karnal, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, we have expanded to a total of 11 cities."

"There were only five or six hours a day that we spent in class, so the rest of the day was spent in the dorm where we all lived together. We became close, and we recognised that our talents complemented one another. "

"Even though we weren't the best students, we were very entrepreneurial," as Suman points out.

Involvement in organising college festivals was a formative experience for all three of them, bolstering their resolve to take a chance on the nascent Indian startup scene in 2010.

As the first year came to a close, the company had made a profit of Rs 10 lakh, showing early signs of success. There are now 150 people working for Flower Aura, and the company has a yearly revenue of Rs 60 crore (in 2021-22).

As their company grew, the three of them realised cakes represented a sizable market that could be expanded upon independently.

Bakingo was introduced in 2016 as a standalone brand by the company Bake Wish Pvt. Ltd.

Their cakes start at Rs 800 (half kg). One cupcake will run you between 75 and 80 rupees, a slice of cheesecake will set you back 149 rupees, and a hazelnut salted caramel jar cake will set you back between 160 and 170 rupees.

In 2021-22, Bakingo's turnover was Rs 75 crore, and the company employed 500 people. In terms of revenue distribution, its website accounts for roughly 30%, while other food portals like Swiggy and Zomato account for the remaining 70%.

In July of 2022, Bakingo opened its first store in Kalkaji, Delhi.

To be more specific, Suman is in charge of marketing, while Shrey and Himanshu are in charge of operations, growth, R&D, and aggregators, respectively. 

Every startup story comes with its own struggles, pains, frustrations, and setbacks. Eventually, success will be with the one who didn't give up, just like these three friends . Do you have any startup stories to tell? If yes, write to us ...