[Interview] Jagan simplifies Grocery Shopping with MIXE.STORE
Jagan Vysyaraju, HEC MBA Alumnus, Paris Class of 2017 specialised in Strategy, Marketing and Project Management, found the solution to address the grocery woes of South Asian Expats and students accross Europe. He created MixeStore, to provide the South Asian community along with Native European with an appetite for South Asian cuisine, the best products at the best price. Learn about his entrepreneurship path, the development of an innovative e-commerce brand, the accelerated growth journey through key strategic partnerships, a tremendous achievement initiated within HEC Paris !
The idea behind Mixe CORP came from Jagan’s own realization that he struggled to find South Asian grocery import products in his day to day routine.
Having lived in France for many years as a student and later as a professional, he often faced problems while shopping for South Asian groceries and kitchen products. While some products were available in brick and mortar shops in the Paris region, he had trouble finding some specific products or brands. He also discovered poor alignment of prices on the market, resulting in a serious waste of time for him, as he went from one shop to another to find the right products at the right price. Then, he realized that the problems he was facing finding his traditional products were actually one faced by a whole community of expats and immigrants from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal).
The problem was now before his eyes and the question was : how to smoothen the grocery shopping experience of a million others in his situation?
How did you get the idea? For whom? In which countries?
While travelling within Europe with my previous organisation, I realized that the problem we were facing in France, was actually the same in most European countries and I wanted to revolutionize the import produce market in the West. From this realisation came the whole idea behind Mixe.store. Create an e-commerce platform that gathers grocery and kitchen products from the best South Asian brands by tying up partnerships with leading importers and distributors, manufacturers of South Asian grocery products.
And how to do that? By building on these learnings, MIXE Corp would also aim to digitize the supply chain of global export-import, empowering quality sourcing by importers from a wide array of reliable exporters and providing delivery convenience and cost-savings to end consumers.
Who did you partner with?
To create Mixe.store we partnered with leading French and international companies to scale big and expand quickly into other European markets. We have partnered with leading exporters and 3PL companies like UrbanHub and last mile delivery providers such as GLS and Royal Mail Group. On the sourcing front, we have brokered partnerships with leading FMCG brands based in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh since we cater to a diverse customer base with eclectic preferences and choices.
Our European partnerships were key for rapid expansion, because after only 2 months operation in our three first market targets that are France, Belgium and Luxembourg, we have been able to grow incredibly and expand our services to almost all mainland European countries. We now operate in 11 countries including Germany, Spain (Malaga and Ibiza), Italy, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark.
Although it’s only been 2 months since launch, we are also being approached by leading European FMCG companies for equity partnership as they foresee tremendous growth potential in our venture.
How long have you been working on this project?
I actually haven’t been working on this project for a very long period of time, since the idea behind Mixe.store jumped into my head less than two months ago, just before the platform was actually launched online. An incredible timing of 45 days to market. Three very intense and hectic months indeed, but our business plan was so strong and convincing that lots of key decision makers were enthusiastic about Mixe.store - which helped us scale it fast.
What was the most difficult part of creating the platform?
Creating a company isn’t always easy. We actually faced two main problems while creating the company. The first problem we faced was about the company registration and to be honest bureaucracy in France isn’t always the easiest. The second problem we faced was to align the right suppliers with the right products. We needed to cut short the intermediaries to reduce our fixed costs and offer our customers the best products of course, but also at the best price, pan-Europe.
We managed to work around those problems by getting in touch with one of our closest institutional partners, Choose Paris Region. They bought our idea and they ensured that our Time to Market and Time to Value were reduced. They also helped us handle the legal aspects for Mixe CORP.
"Today our platform has the potential of becoming the first world-wide platform based in France for import/export grocery and kitchen needs."
What potential does your platform have today?
Today our platform has the potential of becoming the first world-wide platform based in France for import/export grocery and kitchen needs. We are planning to expand horizontally and reach out to new markets such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the US for South Asian products. But we are also planning to expand vertically by improving our product portfolio with Mediterranean and African products, and later French products. In parallel, we are planning to launch a B2B version of Mixe.store called Mixe.shop which will be available at a larger scale for restaurants, collectivities, etc.
"We have all been there, studying, cooking, eating and studying again. We want to provide South Asian students along with European students with an appetite for South Asian cuisine, the best products at the best price."
What do you remember about your MBA training? Is there anything that stands out for you? A meeting? A professor's advice?
Studying at HEC was definitely a life changing game. It has deeply changed my perception of business and my thought process. I believe I always have been an entrepreneur but I never took the risk of being one prior to my MBA. Post MBA I had gained the knowledge, the strength and the audacity to believe in my skills, my business project and finally launch my own company Mixe CORP.
What did your training bring you? Is it useful for entrepreneurship?
The entire course work has made me think more efficiently looking at a 360 degree overview of the entire business and how it works. The level of connections I made out of this MBA has been very helpful to become a solid entrepreneur.
Hurry up! Special discount for HEC Community here ?
We truly understand the students' needs of eating well along with their budgetary constraints. We have all been there, studying, cooking, eating and studying again. We want to provide South Asian students along with European students with an appetite for South Asian cuisine, the best products at the best price. And that can be found on Mixe.store. We also want to push it a little bit further and help students eat better and save better with a special discount for all HEC students, which will go up to 5% on their orders, because quality and healthy food should be available to everyone, student or not.
Can you give examples of ingredients that are easy to cook for them ?
We have a whole range of basic kitchen and epicerie products such as Lentils, Spices, Pickles, Cooking Sauces, Sweets, Snacks & Instant Meals etc.
South Asian cuisine and mostly Indian cuisine is quite easy to cook but can sometimes take a long time to prepare, and we do understand the need for easy ingredients to cook after a long day at school or at work. We at Mixe.store are providing a wide array of ready to eat/instant meals from the best imported brands such as Maggi, Passage To India and Street Kitchen. An easy and fast way to get the best of South Asian dishes ready in 5 minutes!
Don't wait to try, a special discount is offered to HEC community!