Amazon India has been nurturing homegrown startup brands in the e-commerce space to take on the global marketplace. Together with Startup India, it has launched Amazon Global Selling Propel Accelerator, a programme designed to fuel e-commerce exports and help early-stage startups in the consumer products space to create global brands from India. This initiative was created to support and nurture local entrepreneurship with mentorship from Amazon’s global leaders, VCs and senior leadership from Startup India.
During the 2.5 weeks of applications being open since the launch of the program on January 19, there were over 519 applications from a diverse set of Startups from across 120 cities in India. Here are the details of the top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order).
Siddharth Suchde launched this health and personal care brand in 2018 from Bangalore. “Azani is a high-performance nutrition and personal care brand created by athletes, nutritionists and fitness experts,” informs Suchde. “The genesis of the brand stems from my personal background as a professional athlete. I represented India on the World Squash Tour for over a decade and one of the unique insights I got from that period was how good gear, good nutrition and good equipment can help people train longer and harder, recover faster and prevent injuries,” added Suchde. The brand is currently focussed on entering North American and European markets with a keen interest to enter West Asia and Australia too.
Nimisha Dhanda and Manav Dhanda from Mumbai launched D'Moksha Homes - an eco-friendly home linen brand in December 2019. “We offer handcrafted and environment friendly home linen made with only the most sustainable fabrics like hemp," shares Nimisha. Currently listed on Amazon.com with fulfilment for the US, Mexico and Canada markets, D’Moksha Homes soon plans to enter into the Japanese, West Asian and European markets. Says Nimisha, “Our purpose is to stay true to our brand USP, which is that you do good to the artisan, you do good to the planet and you contribute to educate a girl child with every purchase.”
Founded by Manushree Khandelwal from Jaipur, this homegrown kitchenware brand makes utensils and storage products. “Kitchenware is a crucial element for every individual’s health, but sadly the products available in the market are not sustainable for the environment,” shares Khandelwal. “We believe cooking is for everyone, and Femora provides easy and innovative solutions for evolving consumer needs through a range of kitchenware products that are convenient as well as aesthetic,” he adds. Currently available on Amazon.in, the brand plans to enter the UAE market.
This young craft coffee brand was founded in 2018 by Bharat Sethi from Delhi. “Our brand manufactures, markets and distributes innovative coffee products. Our first product is a small, proprietary batch of crystallised instant coffee infused with six plant-based vitamins that give the caffeine a distinctive kick,” said Sethi. Rage Coffee comes in a variety of flavours and is convenient to carry in tube shots. Through the accelerator programme, the brand plans to enter the EU and US markets. “We plan to launch world class products for coffee lovers globally, in the ready-to-drink, ground, coffee chewables and cold brew categories,” shares Sethi.
Did you know that PeeBuddy is already an Amazon Choice and best seller product in the US? This feminine hygiene product brand was launched in 2015 by Deep Bajaj and Mohit Bajaj from New Delhi. “We launched India’s first stand-and-pee device (PeeBuddy) for women, followed by India’s first natural period pain patches for menstrual cramps (Sirona), India’s first natural-coloured pads, menstrual cups and tampons,” informs Mohit. He adds, “We identify and solve unaddressed feminine hygiene issues with our products.” As the product received much appreciation from women, finding solutions for other unaddressed problems faced by women became a natural extension and Sirona took the shape of the company it is today. “We are already selling in Amazon UK, USA, Germany and Dubai,” said Bajaj. “The accelerator programme is exactly what we need at this hour,” he adds.
Headquartered in Gurgaon, the trio of Shauravi Malik, Umang Bhattacharya and Meghana Narayan started out with their healthy food products brand in 2016. The founders were propelled by the malnourishment of Indian children across the socio-economic spectrum. Malik and Narayan are two mothers on a mission to reach as many young children as possible with their products to have an impact on the children’s health outcomes. The brand offers nutritious food mixes like cereals, porridges, pancake mixes, cake mixes, alternative sugars like jaggery and coconut sugar. “We wanted to make millets the next quinoa of the world as we realised that it is both the perfect first food and a great replacement for polished white rice and refined wheat flour,” said Bhattacharya. “All our products are made without refined wheat, trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavours or colours,” shares Malik.
This homegrown personal care brand was founded in 2001 by Amit Sarda and Natasha Tuli from Mumbai. The duo was drawn to the idea of launching their own all-natural brand because, “None of the brands in the Indian beauty and personal care landscape were offering natural and plant-based solutions to customers,” said Tuli. Currently available in the US, UK, UAE and Singapore markets, the brand plans to go live in Japan, Australia and Canada too. “We hope the accelerator programme will provide us the necessary scale up ideas to reach customers in multiple geographies. We also hope to learn how to go heads on with mainland manufacturers by providing overseas customers the best product and the best value,” said Sarda.
Founded by Puru Gupta and Sreejith Moolayil, this breakfast cereal brand started out in 2014. “Our plant-based, wholefood breakfast and snack products fall under the ‘clean-label foods’ category. Our intent was to make people conscious of their health before it was too late,” said Puru Gupta. Currently available on Amazon.in, the brand plans to enter into the US, Japan and West Asian markets. “We had tried to enter global markets earlier but had limited offtake. Supply chain was also sub-optimal as the shelf life of our products is limited,” shares Moolayil. Having accelerated to the next stage of the programme, the brand hopes to benefit from the mentoring, networking, funding and incubation opportunities.
Amandeep Singh from Gurgaon, launched the hygiene and personal care brand, W2 Why Wait, in 2013. The brand offers skin care, hair care and body care products made from herbal and all-natural ingredients. “Our mission has been to create wellness products that are life changing, responsible and international. Why Wait products are based on researched herbal formulations, which are effective for the body as well as the environment,” shares Singh. The brand plans to enter the North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, West Asia and Africa markets. “Adding new markets and new market segments will be our key focus in the coming year,” he adds.
This organic certified, plant-based vitamins and wholefood nutrition supplements brand was founded by Avnish Chhabria in November 2019 from Mumbai. On how Avnish Chhabria came upon the idea of health and wellness products, Chhabria shares, “I have been an athlete and active sportsperson all my life. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and we would visit her doctor in the US for treatment, we were always advised to keep her on a complete plant-based and alkaline diet. That's when Í thought of building an organic certified nutrition brand in India that people can trust.” Wellbeing Nutrition products are available across six major lifestyle concerns - daily wellness, sleep, headaches, gut health, hair loss and skin care. The brand plans to enter the US, UK, UAE and EU markets with a range of innovative products that are 100% plant-based.
Starting from 20th February, over the next 6 weeks, these 10 startups will participate in accelerator sessions led by Amazon leaders focused on helping them expand their business to global marketplaces with Amazon Global Selling, VC partners will have sessions focused on fundraising, pitch preparation and brand building among others, veteran startups will share their experience of global expansion, and officials from Startup India will provide a view on the benefits to startups from the government. In addition, they will get a chance to showcase their business proposition to partner VC firms - Sequoia Capital India, and Fireside Ventures. The top three winners from this final round will be awarded a total equity-free grant of $50,000 from Amazon.