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‘Popcorn & Co’ owner shushes Peyush Bansal; Anupam Mittal says ‘seat ki izzat hoti hai’

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‘Popcorn & Co’ owner shushes Peyush Bansal; Anupam Mittal says ‘seat ki izzat hoti hai’March 23, 2024New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The new episode of ‘Shark Tank India 3’ witnessed a flurry of excitement as the gourmet popcorn brand, ‘Popcorn and Company’ sealed a lucrative deal worth Rs 75 lakh with shark Namita Thapar.
However, tensions ran high when the pitcher silenced shark Peyush Bansal, sparking a reaction that left Anupam Mittal visibly frustrated.The founder of ‘Popcorn & Co’ Vikas Suri started his pitch, saying, “Popcorns sold in 99 per cent of the multiplexes use our machines, our seeds, and our spices. ‘Munna Bhai is incomplete without Circuit’. Similarly, the experience of watching a film is incomplete without eating popcorn. We can’t enjoy a film without popcorn. When ‘Sholay’ was released 50 years ago, salty popcorn was sold in small packets. And even now, when films like ‘Jawan’ and ‘Pathaan’ were released, popcorn was sold in cinemas.”“For instance, caramel, cheesy sriracha, and butter salted popcorn. However, nowadays, people don’t just watch films in the theatre. They also watch films on OTT at home. So l decided to deliver the experience of popcorn to people at home. And that’s how The Popcorn Company was born. Popcorn & Co. deliver both ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook popcorn,” he said.He asked for Rs 75 lakh for 7.5 per cent equity.Namita (Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd) said: “I go to the theatres along with my family regularly. All of us want popcorn. My children always prefer the caramel-flavoured one. I like the butter salted popcorn and so does my husband. You rightly said we want the same experience at home. You have a great business and a great product.”“When did you begin your journey,” asked Namita.Replying to her, Vikas said: “Ma’am, actually my journey began in 2019. I used to live in the US. After returning to India in 1996, I launched a company called ‘Kitchenrama’, which designed hotels, restaurants, catering companies, and food courts. I also provided them with equipment.”“Earlier, while working in the US, I used to work for a similar company called ‘Gold Medal’. I used to export popcorn to the whole world while working there. That’s how the whole association started,” shared Vikas.The founder also owns another venture — ‘Kitchenrama’, which imports and distributes machines, popcorn kernels and spice mixes to other businesses.Vikas then treated the Sharks with the popcorns.Anupam (Founder and CEO of Shaadi.com) said: “Boss, the Strawberry Popcorn is a class apart. Generally, I think a few food items including coffee and popcorn shouldn’t be flavoured. But this has a solid taste. It’s more suitable for couples on the Valentine’s Day.”Vikas replied: “We make stupendous sales on Valentine’s Day.”Namita then offered two conditions to the founder — Firstly, no new company-owned or franchise QSR kiosks will be opened in the future, secondly, seasonings will be the primary focus.Aman Gupta (Co-Founder and CMO of boAt) said: “My suggestion is to know your competition better and also your numbers. It’s not my USP and it’s an expensive category for me. So I’m out.”Peyush (Co-founder and CEO of Lenskart.com), went on to say, “Isn’t there a kiosk chain in the popcorn business? I’m surprised because the real margin is in the retail market. Its manufacturing cost is less than Rs 20. It’s a business with a 90 per cent margin: I’m saying hypothetically. If your sales are worth Rs 6 lakh, your gross profit should be Rs 5 lakh.”“Suppose I pay Rs 1 lakh of Rs 5 lakh in salaries. In reality, I could be making a 30 per cent profit from a kiosk. The cost of setting it up… That’s not hard,” said Peyush.That’s when the founder Vikas said to Peyush: “Shhhhhh…..”, leaving everyone in shock.Vineeta Singh (Co-Founder and CEO of SUGAR Cosmetics) said: “No! No! No! Aapne chup kara dia unko (You just shushed him).”Anupam said: “Did he say that?”Vineeta asked Vikas: “Were you a teacher or in the army before?”Anupam lost his cool and said: “Sir, why are you here? You are Vikas Suri. The one who knows everything. We have been here for three years. Do you know this? Do you know about our work? You shushed a Shark abruptly here.”Peyush said: “It’s okay. He is older than me.”Anupam said: “Umar ki baat nahi hai, seat ki izzat hoti hai (It’s not about age. Position matters).”Vikas apologised, saying, “I’m sorry if I hurt you, but I didn’t really say that.”Anupam then said: “You know what we do. We invest money and give advice because we are experienced. We open a few doors. We help your business grow in the quick commerce segment. Simultaneously we learn too. After meeting you, I feel that you lack learning agility and humility. How will we build a business together?”“Suri, your business structure is messy, besides all the personal issues I pointed out, That’s one big reason I’m out,” added Anupam.The owner finally sealed a conditional deal with Shark Namita at Rs 75 lakh for 15 per cent equity plus 3 per cent royalty until Rs 75 lakh is recouped.‘Shark Tank India 3’ airs on Sony LIV.–IANSsp/prw

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