Shriya Naheta had just returned to her home in Mumbai after graduating from the University of Southern California in 2016, when entrepreneurship came calling. Then aged 22, Shriya was accompanying her older sister – who runs a restaurant – while visiting farms and aggregators for sourcing fresh produces, when an idea for a startup came up: an e-store for organic produces. The initial focus was on exotic produces; but Zama soon went on to become a one-stop shop for organic produces with vegetables and grains as well by working with the farmers and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) directly.
Although Shriya has no previous job experience, entrepreneurship was in her blood, with her parents and sister doing the same. She started up with Rs.2 lakhs from her family, and her father helped her with setting up the Accounting department and hiring her initial team.
Shriya spent a year travelling and exploring the variety of produces she could sell and launched Zama Organics as an online store in early 2017. Shriya adds that her main goals are to build a sustainable ecosystem for farmers and provide absolute transparency to both her producers and her consumers.
Following wholesale and retail models, the e-store has established itself and is looking for external funding now. “We have the proof of concept and a clear vision now. We have had 3-5x annual growth so far; we want to expand to more cities and locations after raising funding,” Shriya tells MAKERS India.
Zama is a team of 43, all based in Mumbai now. Most of the blue collar workers, who are immigrant labourers, are provided accommodation by Zama, and this has helped the startup continue to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown too. Watch the video to find out more on Shriya’s journey with Zama Organics.
(Interviewed and Produced by Athira Nair)