Shark Tank India judges Peyush Bansal and Aman Gupta invest in Hoovu Fresh - Here’s all about this floral startup

Shark Tank India judges Peyush Bansal and Aman Gupta invest in Hoovu Fresh - Here’s all about this floral startup
Instagram/Rhea Karuturi
  • Hoovu Fresh featured on the premiere episode of Shark Tank India S2 and received an offer from Sharks Peyush Bansal (co-founder Lenskart) and Aman Gupta (co-founder boAt).
  • The Bengaluru-based startup received pre-Series A funding of ₹6.45 crore in 2022, led by early-stage venture capital firm Sauce.VC.
  • Only three years old, Hoovu Fresh was started in 2019 by sisters Yeshoda and Rhea Karuturi.
Shark Tank India - Season 2 started this week, and already the pitches (and the judges) are creating a storm on social media. And if there’s one business idea that stood out from the rest, it’s Hoovu Fresh - the floral startup supplying traditional puja flowers.

The Hoovu Fresh sister duo of Yeshoda and Rhea Karuturi courted interest from all the Sharks but ultimately walked away with an investment worth ₹1 crore from Sharks Peyush Bansal (co-founder Lenskart) and Aman Gupta (co-founder boAt).

The Bengaluru-based startup Hoovu Fresh by Rose Bazaar started as a subscription-based flower delivery model in 2019. As per the pitch on the show, in just three years, Hoovu Fresh has expanded to eight cities and completed over two million orders. It’s also associated with over 300 temples and 500 farmers, and is available via multiple delivery platforms, including BigBasket, Swiggy, and Zepto, among others.

But it all started with a desire by the cofounders, Rhea and Yeshoda, “to achieve something really simple: make flowers a way of life for millions of households across India.”

Revolutionising the traditional flower industry


Although the Karuturi sisters started Hoovu – Kannada word for flower – in 2019, their love for the floral industry is not recent. By their own admission, the two grew up in floriculture farms, “hearing about harvest cycles, auction prices and freight rates.”

In 1994– the same year when Yeshoda Karuturi was born–their father started Karuturi Global with a rose farm. Today, Karuturi is one of the world’s largest producers of cut roses, spread across Ethiopia, Kenya and India. And with the growth of the family business, the sisters have directly observed the changing landscape of the flower industry in India.

As they state on their website, “we saw how the industry changed dramatically - from unorganised, fragmented markets to the setting up of the International Flower Auction Bangalore, the first exports of cut roses from Bangalore and the awe-inspiring Kenyan farm, which was the world’s largest rose farm.”

However, while the supply chain in the cut-flower industry changed over the years to add value for both the producers and the end consumers, the supply chain in the ‘traditional flower’ industry remained the same - incredibly fragmented and unorganised, with high wastage.

As per Hoovu Fresh, traditional or ‘puja’ flowers are the flowers an average Indian consumer uses almost daily - mostly for prayers or simple, everyday activities.

“Most Indians interact with traditional flowers - jasmine, marigold, chrysanthemum, bud roses, etc - every single day. They use it in their morning prayer, to decorate their hair, to hang up in their auto, car, offices. Traditional flower usage is a ubiquitous need, just like the daily newspaper or milk,” states Hoovu Fresh.

Combining their knowledge of agriculture with the untapped potential of the industry, the duo came up with a way to reduce the turnaround time from harvest to reaching the customers. Hoovu Fresh claims to have reduced the turnaround time to 12-24 hours from 36-48 hours. Furthermore, Hoovu Fresh also states that it uses innovative packaging to extend the shelf life of the flowers to 15 days from the usual 2 days.

Apart from flowers, Hoovu Fresh’s product offerings include agarbathis, dhoop sticks and incense cones in five different flavours - Rose, Jasmine, Lavender, Sandalwood and Tulsi. They also partnered with the ISKCON temple in Bangalore for flower decorations.

Pre-series A funding locked

Yeshoda, 28 and Rhea, 25 aren’t just familiar with the flower industry, but also with the world of business, having worked with their father before starting Hoovu Fresh.

Yeshoda, who has a Master's in Accounting and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Washington University in St Louis, worked as the executive director for Karuturi Global after graduation. In her role, she focused on the company’s overseas operations. Currently, she acts as the CEO of Hoovu Fresh.

Rhea, who is the CTO at Hoovu Fresh, graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology and Society, with a concentration in Communication and Media. Prior to starting Hoovu Fresh with her sister, she worked with multiple publications like the Times of India, Deccan Herald, the Stanford Daily and the Bay City Beacon, among others.

The Karuturi sisters are currently chasing the sweet smell of success, but Hoovu Fresh has been in the news long before Shark Tank India came knocking.

Just a year after its inception, the sisters pitched Hoovu Fresh at the Techstars Bangalore Cohort in 2020. At the time, Hoovu Fresh already had 25 employees and was doing 15,000 deliveries a month. The duo also went on to win the National FICCI Flo Incubator award for the most innovative startup.

Two years later in December 2022, the startup received pre-Series A funding of ₹6.45 crore led by early-stage venture capital firm Sauce.VC.

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