Two 21-Year-Old Friends, Despite Being Turned Down By Shark Tank, Have Gained Support From Sunny Leone For Their Healthy Bar And Chocolate Brand. They Are Projected To Make Rs 1.5 Crore In Revenue By Fy25.

Two 21-year-old friends, despite being turned down by Shark Tank, have gained support from Sunny Leone for their healthy bar and chocolate brand. They are projected to make Rs 1.5 crore in revenue by FY25.
This Startup Was Rejected By All Sharks In Shark Tank India, But Funded By  Sunny Leone | Companies News, Times Now

Gurgaon-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand specializing in energy bars and chocolates. Their products are free from added sugar, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners, sourced to the highest quality standards for optimal taste and quality.

The entrepreneurial duo recently shared their brand's journey with bharatiyastartups. In India's burgeoning entrepreneurial landscape, where college students are actively engaging, Dhruv Verma and Sahil Manrala stand out as 21-year-old health and fitness enthusiasts and long-time friends who have grown up together in the same neighborhood. Both raised by single mothers, they share a deep understanding and camaraderie, often spending their days together studying, working, and hitting the gym.

Sahil's culinary education background has been instrumental in formulating Rize's product offerings, while Dhruv's business expertise in real estate and urban projects complements their partnership. "Being raised by single mothers has strengthened our bond and understanding of each other, making us great friends," Dhruv remarked.

What led to the emergence of Rize?
Rize Bar | LinkedIn

The idea for Rize came about when two childhood friends, avid gym-goers, and budding entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to create something meaningful. Co-founder Dhruv's realization that there was a gap in the Indian market for an energy bar infused with caffeine sparked the inception of Rize. Drawing inspiration from the energy-boosting properties of coffee, Dhruv envisioned a healthier alternative.

During their college years, the duo delved into research on the nutritional aspects of various ingredients, often taking breaks from studies to explore this passion. Despite financial constraints, they invested nearly Rs 2,000 to experiment with making bars at home, utilizing their kitchen as a makeshift laboratory.

Reflecting on their journey, Dhruv shared, "We couldn't afford the high costs of professional manufacturers initially, so we started crafting the bars ourselves in our kitchens. We analyzed existing market products, brainstormed healthier ingredient options, and experimented with different formulas."

Determined to turn their vision into reality, the co-founders chose to prioritize their business over typical college distractions. However, their path was fraught with challenges, from navigating manufacturing complexities to gaining traction in a competitive market.

After perfecting their energy bars at home, they faced the hurdle of convincing manufacturers to produce small batches due to limited funds. Through persistent efforts, they secured production by borrowing around Rs. 10 lakh from their parents, marking a significant milestone in their entrepreneurial journey.

They explained, "As young entrepreneurs, many tend to underestimate us. However, we were resolute in proving them wrong. Recognizing the importance of capturing people's attention for marketing our products, we conducted offline campaigns in colleges, setting up stalls to increase awareness."

Rize, conceptualized in April 2023, officially launched on January 31, 2024. The brand strategically utilized influencer marketing to connect with its target audience.

Here's a breakdown of Rize's product range:
RIZE Energy Bar Caramel Crunch - Pack of 6 - No Added Sugar, 6g Protein,  2.5 Hours Energy with Caffeine & Taurine Boost, Vitamin Rich, Gluten-Free,  High Fiber, Zero Cholesterol, No Added

1. **Rize Energy Bar:** This flagship product is a unique blend of caffeine and taurine, priced at Rs 80. It serves as a healthy snack infused with caffeine for instant energy, appealing to health enthusiasts, gym enthusiasts, and travelers. The energy bar comes in four delightful flavors: berry blast with white chocolate, caramel crunch, tiramisu, and choco brownie.

2. **Rize Dream Bites:** These are melatonin-infused chocolates, enriched with ingredients like honey, chamomile, valerian root, and glycine to promote sleep and muscle relaxation. Each packet contains eight chocolates, with each chocolate containing 5 ml of melatonin.

3. **Bliss Bites:** A sugar-free offering crafted with a blend of ten natural herbs, specifically designed to target pain areas for recovery. Bliss Bites are tailored for women, aiding in menstrual pain relief. Both Dream Bites and Bliss Bites are available in two flavors: milk chocolate and white chocolate.


One of the co-founders, Sahil, explains, "Our products range from 115 to 152 calories and are completely sugar-free. We use natural sweeteners, oats, muesli, and real fruits in our formulations, which have garnered seven certifications."

The carbohydrates included in Rize Bar's products are designed to avoid bloating and indigestion. The bars contain natural preservatives, including rosemary, to maintain freshness. Each bar has a shelf life of six months, while chocolates last for eighteen months.

Manufacturing takes place in Delhi, utilizing both in-house facilities and outsourced resources. Currently, the company processes 40 orders daily, with sales coming from its official website and Amazon. Operating from their Gurgaon office, the founders are supported by a team of five employees.

The Journey of Funding

The special campus episode of "Shark Tank India 3" featured the brand Rize, seeking Rs 45 lakh for a 6% equity stake. Although the company didn't secure funding on the show, its national television exposure significantly boosted visibility and sales.

Reflecting on the experience, Dhruv Verma recalled, "Despite some skepticism from one of the sharks, we're determined to keep pushing ourselves towards greater success."

After facing rejections from over 40 venture capitalists and numerous investors, Rize caught the attention of actor and model Sunny Leone and her husband, Daniel Weber, who decided to invest in the brand. Leone also serves as the company's brand ambassador.

While the initial funding of Rs 2 lakh came from their own savings and parental support, Sahil Manral and Dhruv Verma received a substantial boost with a Rs 30 lakh investment from Sunny Leone and Daniel Weber.

With a gross margin of 60%, the 3-month-old company has focused primarily on organic growth, spending only Rs 30,000 on marketing. Looking ahead, Rize aims to replace unhealthy snacks with healthier alternatives in Indian households. They project sales of Rs 1.25 crore in the upcoming year and plan to increase marketing efforts, enhance advertising and content, and expand into the retail sector.

Their vision includes building a community, with Dhruv explaining, "Our primary goal is to achieve Rs 40 lakh in online sales and gradually expand into offline markets, starting with Gurgaon and the entire Delhi NCR region. We also aim to list our products on quick commerce platforms."

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