A Mumbai based entrepreneur couple; Balbina and Sydney Pinto, founders of Konkan Spices and CurryMakers (KSC) have posted a typical start-up success story with the help of their passion for Indian spices and a zeal for innovation. In an exclusive interaction with SupportBiz.com the couple shared their story of transforming a hobby into a small business, which is now on the verge of being a big enterprise. With more than 325 patents, the Pintos are striving hard for more and targeting big growth.
The edited excerpts from the Supportbiz interview of Balbina Pinto:
What are the key directions in which KSC is surging ahead?
We have been into this market for quite some time now, and we have got some great response from the market. Now, we are aggressively working to make a stronger impact on institutional markets. For example, we are targeting hotels, restaurants and food chains as our potential customers. Households are also targeted but we are more focused towards the corporate segment.
What is the key motivation behind KSC?
I have always focused on innovation. My passion for spices and Indian curries has made me continuously develop new and appealing tastes for consumers. The industry has recognized our efforts. We have received several awards and recognitions for the kind of work we have done in this field.
What are the key trends that are evolving in the Indian food and spices market?
I strongly feel that Indian spice market is full of opportunities because the existing players are not demonstrating innovation. The food processing market carries lucrative opportunities as there is hardly any company that invests on proper R&D to gauge customer demand.
We have selected research and development of our product portfolio as a strong area to focus on.
How are Indian consumers’ dining out habits changing?
Indian consumers look for variety, quality and strong flavour. The conventional form of spices and curries require a twist in order to attract the new generation. ‘Ready to cook’ is the key demand of the consumers since they want to spend less time in the kitchen.
You have got around 325 patents. How did you manage all these?
Since research and development is an important area for me, I consider IPR to be my top priority for sustainable growth. I have registered 325 patents in my name in the area of blends and curries. And this will continue to be a regular activity.
What are your priorities to take your brand KSC Foods to the next level?
Our priority is well defined towards bulk orders. In addition, we are exporting our products to several countries in the Middle East, America etc.
Are you expanding your manufacturing capacity?
As of now we are utilising our resources in building the company, and we have a long way to go. We have purchased around 3 acres of land near Karjat which is around 70 kms from Mumbai.
The interesting thing for us is that, our second generation has also joined our business activity and they are looking at the business with an all new vision. But at this moment, we are struggling to adapt to our second generation’s thought processes and approach towards the business.
As an entrepreneur did you face any challenge in arranging finance for your business?
The only and major challenge we faced in our initial days of business was to generate finance from banks. Earlier, when we were small, we needed some small capital for our business to get set. But we were not been entertained by the banks. This incident had acted as a hindrance up to some extent. But then we realised that our growth will only come from our own efforts. Hence, we made serious efforts to get established in the business and achieved great results. Even though we won several awards and recognitions, we were not been able to generate business loans. However, we decided to continue our focus on R&D and liquidated some of our personal assets in order to expand and sustain the business. This brought positive result for us, and we are now growing and expanding our footprints in the market. Now, banks are showing great support for us, but we are selective about our financial needs.