I’m Deepak and I hail from a small town called Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. Right from my childhood, I’ve always wanted to start a venture that positively impacts society. But like most millennials, I too was a victim of engineering in spite of wanting to pursue something relating to business management. Post-engineering I steered myself into an Analytics firm where I got opportunities to work with Global Marketing Intelligence team and Analytics Centre of Excellence team of Fortune 500 Companies which gave me an insight on how businesses work end to end.
My heart and mind have always been into entrepreneurship, so I was all the while mulling over, exploring and dabbling different startup ideas. One fine day, I stumbled upon a US food startup making energy shots and protein bars from a plant called Moringa. The site claimed Moringa to be a superfood that it is loaded with 90+ nutrients, 40+ antioxidants and 8+ essential amino acids. It was touted to be one of the most nutrient-rich plants ever discovered. People were raving about it in the US and Europe. Mind blown by its properties, I tried finding more about this so-called raging superfood and I was pleasantly surprised to know that its origin is India and it was nothing but our very own drumstick tree that adorns most of our backyards.
Also, it happened to be widely cultivated in and around my native. I also learnt that every part of the tree such as seed, leaf, bark, root, flower and even the gum has medicinal properties and hence it is called the Miracle Tree. Ayurveda cites that Moringa has a cure for 300+ diseases. That’s when I got a spark and decided to start a venture with Moringa line of products and take the all empowering goodness of this humble tree from our backyard to the global arena. I initially started with sourcing raw moringa products for export-based markets. And then later on expanded to making value-added usable products out of it such as Moringa Nuts, Moringa Leaf Powder and Cold Pressed Moringa Oil.
When we ventured into cold pressing of the Moringa Oil, the whole new tangent of the cold pressing edible oils opened up. Oil, which we inevitably consume every other day, is one ingredient that can make or break our health. But unfortunately the oil market is flooded with chemically extracted oils (Hexane), hot-pressed oils and oils pressed out of rejected or sub-standard raw material, which is further adulterated with cheap mineral oil and palm oil, resulting in a highly toxic and unhealthy product without any nutritional value. This eventually leads to all kind of lifestyle diseases including unnecessary weight gain, hair loss, heart problems, diabetes, indigestion and cancer.
After becoming aware of the ill effects of the substandard oils available in the market, and having experienced firsthand the goodness of the wholesome cold pressed oil – the best way to retain the maximum nutrition, we started pressing edible oils for our own consumption. The setup and knowledge that went into cold pressing Moringa oil came in handy. Impressed by our oils, our friends and relatives were the first converts. This slowly spread word of mouth and we were asked for outside orders, which is when I realized the potential of a quality product and started introducing it to the market along with the Moringa products.
Now we have an array of cold pressed oils including, Coconut, Sesame, Groundnut, Castor, Neem, Sweet almond and avocado. And our oil repertoire only keeps growing.
All the raw materials are either from our own farm or ethically sourced from farmers in and around our area on a fair trade policy simultaneously bettering their livelihood.
Also, we are very proud that most of our workforce are women from the nearby villages – Our baby steps towards contributing to their empowerment.
During this journey, I realized two things. The immense potential of our innumerable backyard herbs that are abound with tremendous medicinal and cosmetic properties are mostly untapped.
Also, the huge disjuncture between absolute goodness of the cold pressed oils and lack of awareness of the existing adulterated and unhealthy oils.
My future plan is to provide a platform that bridges these gaps. We envision to set up Project Green for Herbs and Project Oil to reach across the globe with adulteration free, nutrition-rich cold pressed oils and essential oils.