Raw Pressery currently delivers cold-pressed juices to homes in six Indian cities, but it aspires to grow into one of the country’s leading health food makers. The company just raised a $4.5 million Series B from returning investor Sequoia Capital, Saama Capital, and DSG Consumer Partners, bringing its total venture funding so far to $6.3 million.
A lifelong athlete and health nut, Raw Pressery founder Anuj Rakyan first became interested in cold-pressed juices after breaking his back about ten years ago. He couldn’t walk during his rehabilitation and began to research nutrition in order to stay healthy.
“I learned a lot about what it means to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s something we take for granted when we’re young. I learned how beneficial juices are when I started making myself,” says Rakyan, who recovered fully.
He founded Raw Pressery last year to sell juices through a subscription model. The company will launch an e-commerce operation and distribution to brick-and-mortar stores before expanding into the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Raw Pressery’s advantage is that it currently claims to be the only company in India to offer HPP (high pressure processing) technology, which allows it to package fresh juices without adding preservatives, additives, or pasteurization.
But this doesn’t mean that it is immune to competition. As Rakyan notes, big beverage companies are getting in on the cold-pressed action.
Coca-Cola bought a minority stake in juice company Suja last year to compete with Pepsi subsidiary Naked Juice, while Starbucks’ brand of smoothies and cold-pressed juice, which it sells in its stores, is called Evolution Fresh.
Rakyan, however, does not see big beverage companies as competitors. Instead, he says they are “strategic partners, potentially, or an exit possibility. The advantage of being small is being able to be very flexible and have a high crediblity in the consumer mindspace. The disadvantage of being too big is that people don’t beleve that a company that large can make something natural, healthy, and pure.”
After cornering India’s juice market, Rakyan says he wants to grow Raw Pressery into its largest “clean label” lifestyle brand. The company plans to build its product lineup by adding soups, smoothies, and other pre-packaged food without additives, which Rakyan claims are difficult to find on the country’s supermarket shelves.
“When I say clean label, I mean being able to have products that do not have any preservatives, added sugar, or harmful chemicals,” he says. “There is high consumer demand because right now there are no companies catering to this demand.”