DRF is excited to announce our investment in Eat Makhana, which is creating delicious and nutritious snacks made of popped water lily seeds, an especially big hit with children and anyone that suffers from food allergies.
Co-founder Mallika was working full time (at Goldman Sachs) while applying to grad school, and naturally fell into a pattern of stress eating. Throughout the grad school application process, she coped by eating chips, pretzels, and granola bars — fuelling her body with tonnes of processed and sugary snacks.
Feeling the effects, she decided to turn back to her roots and started making popped water lily seeds, just as her mother prepared for her as a child. She noticed how much better she felt when eating these healthy snacks and began sharing them with friends and family, including her co-founder Amruta. They joined forces and that’s how Eat Makhana was born.
Eat Makhana’s central mission is to create delicious and nutritious foods from popped water lily seeds, known as Makhana in Hindi. With Eat Makhana, co-founders Mallika and Amruta have re-imagined popcorn for kids and are building a brand that people can trust to be nutritious and safe. Eat Makhana currently comes in two sizes and two flavors: Original Himalayan Pink Salt and Tangy Chili Lime.
Each ounce contains only 110 calories, 3 grams of plant protein, and is made with only five or less ingredients. Makhana has 16% more protein and 20% fewer calories than corn and has no kernel, which is safer for infants. Given these properties, and its delicious taste, Whole Foods has identified Makhana amongst the top 10 trends to watch in 2019.
Why DRF Invested
- Team. We were immediately impressed by the team behind Eat Makhana. They showed incredible early traction, rapidly selling out across two dozen stores in the Bay Area, including Bi-Rite and Sigonas. Even online at www.eatmakhana.com a majority of their revenues are from repeat customers. While the seeds are native to northern state of Bihar in India, Eat Makhana’s snacks are handmade in small batches in San Mateo, California. Demonstrating their commitment to the company, oftentimes Mallika and Amruta can be found in the kitchen making Eat Makhana themselves!
- Strong customer focus. This team is truly obsessed with delighting their customers. We were impressed by the early experiments the duo had run to solicit customer feedback and they continue to work on perfecting their product, iterating over eight times on packaging and website design. The team also always has samples on hand, but they go fast!
- Long Term Vision with Impact. While Eat Makhana is a delicious snack for all, it also has the potential to change the lives of children and parents. One in thirteen children in the US suffer from one or more food allergies. Parents are understandably anxious to find brands that are nutritious and that offer products that their kids can safely enjoy. Look at the snacking aisle in your local grocery store and you’ll quickly realize that such brands are rare. Eat Makhana’s products are gluten, dairy, and grain free, are rich in phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, and are low on the glycemic index. Unlike corn, which is actually a grain, Makhana is a whole natural seed, which means it’s Paleo friendly.
Eat Makhana exemplifies much of what we love about Dorm Room Fund: we get to back incredible student founders making a meaningful impact in the lives of their customers. We’re thrilled to back this team and look forward to following along as they continue to delight snackers across the country.
Are you a student working on a venture or know someone who is? Apply here to get backed by Dorm Room Fund!