Sheffield Alumni Duo Bottling Success

Damini Mahajan and Arjun R. KrishnaDamini Mahajan and Arjun R. Krishna, both Sheffield Alumni, have recently been awarded funding by the Indian Government to take their new health drink to the mass market.

The Indian Government’s Department of Biotechnology recognised the importance and innovation of the product that delivers all natural (as opposed to artificially added) vitamins and minerals, and gave the pair 5 million INR (roughly £50,000) to take the product to the next stage, back home in India.

One of the judges remarked at how the pair had created a beverage that was both healthy and tasty (a key challenge in health food drinks), and that they had no reservations about supporting the young entrepreneurial pair and their start up, Naturlich Global Beverages (P) Ltd.

Damini and Arjun met during their time at Sheffield where they both studied the MSc (Eng) Biological and Bioprocess Engineering course in 2013. It was while working on this course that their idea was born. Damini and Arjun are no strangers to creating new drinks, and previously represented the University in the AbInBev Best Beer Competition. As part of a team of students they helped create the ‘114 - Sheffield Students’ Beer which was named the best in the UK during the heats of the 2013 AbInBev competition, narrowly losing out to the Belgian entry in the grand final.

When Damini and Arjun returned home after their success in the competition they took what they had learned and started using that in the development of their new health drink. Damini explains:

“We are making the beverage from cereals, by fermentation, much like beer. It has a refreshing fruity flavour, minus alcohol. We use a multiple strain fermentation formula and vitamins and minerals are the by-products of this process, produced naturally. We later remove microbes from the drink.”

With all these successes Damini and Arjun are now in the running for the prestigious ‘Inspirational education UK Alumni Awards’, presented by the British Council. This award offers them the chance to bring their ideas to a global level, and boost their entrepreneurial start-up.

Now, as the two await the funding from the Indian Government to ramp up their production they are not resting on their laurels. They are already well under way developing another health concept. This new product, called Smoosh, aims to incorporate two meal portions of fruit in each drink, following in line with the World Health Organisation’s dietary recommendations. Smoosh will soon be launched in Hyderabad (India), and they eagerly await the market’s response to their new product. The team is also now looking to raise funds to further scale up production, and to allow them to expand into other metro areas.

We at the University are proud to hear of another pair of our alumni combining what they have learned at Sheffield with an entrepreneurial spirit and wish them the best of luck.

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