FoodTech – Startup Of The Week: Vaartani

FoodTech – Startup Of The Week: Vaartani

22-Nov-2018 by Ozge Ulke

Our final startup of the week is Vaartani! Vaartani provides brands with meaningful insights from conversations and reviews on individual products in real-time. With its easy-to-use dashboard, brands can identify unmet hidden consumer needs and emerging trends within specific food categories.

Born in mid-2018, Vaartani has a strong team with domain expertise in the food industry and artificial intelligence. Founding team members are Sourabh Khan, Aadil Khan and Susana Catelan.

We met Sourabh Khan, CEO of Vaartani for our startup of the week to get some insights from their high-tech solution!

Q: So Sourabh, what is Vaartani exactly? what do you guys do?

Vaartani builds product specific insights from millions of conversations and reviews on packaged food products.

Top brands in the CPG industry including food companies are losing market shares to smaller brands and private labels in almost every category like baby food, cereals, soft drinks, etc. Overall, large brands lost up-to 6% of market share within packaged food in years between 2012-2016 (reference: Bain and Company).

The smaller brands are digital native. They are able to connect and gather consumer insights for their products. As an example, Chobani obtained real-time information from social media on what kinds of yogurt their consumers want and when they want to eat it. The company used that information to develop some innovative types of yogurt that target consumer needs at different times of the day. This enabled Chobani to overtake the General Mills’ Yoplait and become the leading yogurt brand in the US (reference: BCG).

For large brands, tracking product specific consumer feedback in real-time is a challenging task as they have hundreds of products (SKUs) in multiple categories. Vaartani solves this problem for large brands by providing product-specific consumer insights. Vaartani levels the field for large brands in order to compete with digital native brands.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your technology?

Sure, first we aggregate product specific consumer feedback from marketplaces where brands sell their products. Then, we run it through our patent-pending AI model that builds insights in real-time. It is trained on millions of conversations and reviews related to food products.

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

Having worked in the food industry, I experienced the problem first-hand. We tried many solutions in the market to track consumer feedback. When we tracked #brandname on twitter, we got many results, but most were not specific to a product and therefore we had to discard from our analysis. As an example, tracking #fresubin on twitter gave us feedback related to diabetes, dysphagia and many other topics and it was impossible to segregate for which product did the consumer gave the feedback.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your team?

Susana and I worked at a healthcare and nutrition company, Fresenius. She was leading the marketing team for enteral nutrition business, at the time we met in 2013.

Raphaëlle has led the product development of infant formula and maternal category at Nestle. She brings extensive scientific knowledge of nutrition. Bhanukishore is our AI expert. He worked at Cognizant as a Machine Learning Engineer developing deep learning models. Aadil leads the operation and finance. He is a serial entrepreneur with a successful exit in AI and education space.

Q: What were the milestones you have achieved so far and what’s next for Vaartani?

We’ve built a POC and tested on Amazon Open Dataset, we already achieved 98% accuracy to understand consumer questions and reviews related to food products. We are in discussions with top brands for launching pilot projects in pasta, ready-to-drink and probiotics categories.

Just a week to Demo Day, we are excited to showcase Vaartani and grow it further by collaborating with top food brands. We will be announcing an important news during our presentation. Make sure not to miss!

 

We are fully booked for our Demo Day at the moment. Yet, if you are excited to see innovative teams like Vaartani, sign up to our waiting list and we will be back with your invitation as soon as we have a free space!

Ozge Ulke