Jai Malik
Jai Malik
Jul 18 · 3 min read

Bohana is a popped water lily seed snack brand that has reinvented an ancient puffed snack to fuel our unique selves with nothing but protein-packed, plant-based love.

The Problem

The most common ingredient in U.S. snacks is corn. But, believe it or not, corn is a grain with no nutrient density and is Genetically Modified (GMO) 95 percent of the time. Furthermore, like all grains, corn has a high glycemic index — and its kernels are indigestible.

Solution

In a society where healthy and better-for-you brands begin to outperform traditional, unhealthy brands, Bohana believes it’s time for corn to meet its match. The company, led by founders Nadine Habayeb and Priyal Bhartiya, has reinvented Popped Water Lily Seeds — a corn substitute that has been consumed in India for thousands of years —for modern snackers in the U.S. The popped water lily seeds are a great substitute because they have 67 percent less fat, 20 percent less calories and 50 percent more protein compared to popcorn, the most common corn-based snack.

Business Model

In the first phase of their launch, Bohana chose to focus on a direct-to-consumer approach, selling through Amazon and their own e-commerce platform. Since the company was pioneering a new product category, they wanted to understand who their customer was and be able to collect data on consumption and occasion habits. After they gained confidence on customer acceptance, they began to open up into retail. Phase 2 of their launch started in October 2018 with UNFI Next in Northeastern warehouses. The company’s products are now available in over 150 independent natural grocers in the Northeast, direct-to-consumer through online channels, and in relevant food service locations such as offices and holistic wellness spaces. With healthy margins across all channels, Bohana seeks to build sufficient velocity to expand to other regions in the future.

Traction

The company participated in the Nutrition Greenhouse PepsiCo accelerator for six months. The company also has robust traction across many channels. Their social media presence is estimable with over 15,000 engaged followers. In the independent grocery channel, over 150 natural and independent stores carry Bohana products, and conventional retailers such as Roche Bros, Fairways Markets and Big Y are offering the popped water lily seeds as well. Finally, in the food service segment, yoga and wellness studios like Mdrn Sanctuary, Alchemy Juice Bar, and Nibble Office Snack Shop are currently selling Bohana snacks.

Team Background

The company was founded by Nadine Habayeb and Priyal Bhartiya, both self-described “spiritual junkies” who were curious to learn about some of the world’s most ancient practices and traditional superfoods. On this journey, Priyal went back to her Indian roots and re-discovered her childhood snack growing up in India — Popped Water Lily seeds. She then introduced these seeds to Nadine, who became instantly hooked. Together, they eventually decided to bring them to the US.

Before Bohana came to life, Priyal worked in her agriculture-based family business in India, focusing on supply chain and operations and specializing in bringing agricultural products to mass retail. Nadine worked in the luxury fashion industry specializing in marketing and communications. Both have the technical sourcing and operational knowledge of procuring the seed efficiently and marketing it to an audience in a unique way, while staying true to who they are and what they believe in.

What They Need Help With

The team is now currently raising their first seed round and would love to be connected to strategic partners who can help Bohana grow. If interested, please get in touch with Nadine at nadine@bohanalife.com.

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Covering early-stage ventures in New England before they’re funded.

Jai Malik

Written by

Jai Malik

Product manager, entrepreneur, and budding investor.

The Buzz

The Buzz

Covering early-stage ventures in New England before they’re funded.

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