Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses have managed to survive and even made profits. This week SMBStory reached out to Casagrand, a real estate company which is bagging projects worth Rs 6,500 amidst the pandemic and has big plans for the upcoming months.
Another company to look out for is Shree Malani Foams, a PU foam mattress manufacturing company that grabbed headlines for becoming Swedish furniture giant IKEA’s one of the first suppliers.
Read their stories below-
An entrepreneur at heart, rubberised coir supplier Bhagwandas Malani chose to start his own mattress manufacturing unit in 1988. After noticing a lack of organised players in the growing mattress market, Bhagwandas decided to fill the gap and started Shree Malani Group and Centuary Mattresses.
In 2008, the group launched Shree Malani Foams and began manufacturing foams under its Cenflex brand. At the time, premium categories of foam were almost non-existent in the market with a handful of major players such as Sheela Foam. This proved to be a lucrative business opportunity for Telangana-based Shree Malani Foams.
“The premium category had not been promoted by many Indian manufacturers of PU foams. We took up the daunting task of creating the category ourselves and decided to position Cenflex in the premium category,” says Managing Director of Shree Malani Foams Siddharth Malani, in an interaction with SMBStory.
Shree Malani Foams says it was also one of the first to introduce branded foam and pioneered in making technical grade foam for applications in automobile, lamination, clothing, lingerie, and packaging industries..
In 2018, the company formed a partnership with Swedish furniture giant IKEA in the mattress business, and claims to be its first Indian PU mattress supplier. Shree Malani Foams began making roll pack mattresses and sending them to IKEA for sale in its retail stores in India and abroad.
In 2019-20, Shree Malani Foams clocked Rs 210 crore revenue, and has become a leading PU foams manufacturer in the country, claims Siddharth.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is reducing buyer interest and number of property visits, Chennai-based real estate business Casagrand has launched a new project. Casagrand Utopia at Manapakkam in Chennai is a kids-themed housing project with 673 apartments.
It features amenities for children such as VR games, 3D rock climbing, learning centres, mini hockey rinks, water slides, smart tuition kiosks, and more.
Ever since Casagrand was started in 2004 with Rs 5 crore investment, its priority was to meet project deadlines on time. But during COVID-19 times, it is easier said than done for all real estate developers.
According to a survey by real estate classified platform 99acres.com, 60 percent of prospective homebuyers are still keen to buy within the next 12 months.
In an exclusive interview with SMBStory, Founder and Managing Director of Casagrand, Arun MN explains the logic behind a move that seems counterintuitive.
“People have started realising the importance of owning a home during the pandemic. In fact, the situation has created a beneficial environment for home buyers to invest. This is due to the attractiveness of lowest home loan interest rates, amazing deals, and secured investments in a low-risk sector. Real estate is unexpectedly bouncing back to normalcy,” he says.
Casagrand projects worth Rs 6,500 crore are in the pipeline for the next fiscal year. In 2018-19, the business clocked a turnover of Rs 1,800 crore.
Other top stories of the week-
A report by Unilever states that by the year 2050, planet Earth will have 10 billion people. It estimates that this population will need 70 percent more food than is currently being produced. And thus, changing the world’s food system is no longer a choice but the only way forward.
In addition, since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a steady rise in the demand for superfoods — foods that are dense in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
People are becoming increasingly conscious of what is going inside their bodies and are leaning on superfoods to make healthier choices. One example of a superfood is Spirulina, referred to as blue-green algae that have multiple health benefits, and is a combination of several nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. While it is already well-known in the European and American markets, it isn’t much popular in the Indian subcontinent.
In 2015, Aakas Sadasivam, an aeronautical engineer from Kumaraguru College of Technology at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, was taken by the startup fever. Looking for ideas to venture into, he came across reports of malnutrition, a concern in India and Africa. In his research, Aakas found out that Spirulina can help solve malnutrition.
In 2016, he started growing and harvesting Spirulina from a ‘pilot pond’ in a small area in Chennai. For one year, he grew and harvested Spirulina on his own, learning the techniques for making the powder, which is the end product. He harvested about 10 kg of Spirulina every month, processed it, and sold the powder to local food and pharma companies.
In October 2016, Finnish entrepreneur Mika Rautio wanted to join him. Both Aakas and Mika invested $100,000 to start the company, which was formally registered in January 2017 and named Prolgae Spirulina Supplies Pvt Ltd.
At present, Prolgae Spirulina supplies to France, Italy, Spain, and Canada through 15 B2B clients. The company claims to produce 500 kg of Spirulina every month, and has so far exported 10,000 kg of Spirulina. The brand has also managed to clock a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore annually.
At the age of 24, Aman Puri had envisioned to transform the world of sports, wellness, and healthcare at a large scale. Being internationally accredited in skating, cricket, marathons, national-level shooting, international level mountain biking, cross-country duathlons, triathlons, etc, he understood the complex and varied requirements of an athlete’s body. As an endurance athlete, he was aware of the need for the Indian sports fraternity to take high-quality nutrition.
He felt that it was his responsibility to promote the idea that sports and fitness must be an inclusive part of everyone’s life. In 2017, he founded Steadfast Nutrition in Noida, a premium sports and wellness nutrition brand, for athletes by athletes.
Steadfast Nutrition is a premium sports and wellness nutrition division of Steadfast MediShield Pvt Ltd. The brand aims to revolutionise the world of sports nutrition in India by introducing high-quality supplements and serving people in the age group between five and 95.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Aman says, “Professionals in sports have various healthcare needs to make their bodies strong and fit. However, in our country, there was no such brand that catered to this segment. Thus, many sportspersons in India rely on imported healthcare nutrition supplements. I came up with the idea to introduce Steadfast Nutrition after finding this gap in the industry.”
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