Childhood friends-turned-entrepreneurs scoop up praise for their Turkish ice cream startup but refuse deal on Shark Tank India
- Twisting Scoops is an ice cream chain selling
Turkish ice creammade from goat milk.
- Founded in 2016 by childhood friends Kunwarpreet Singh Juneja and Manmeet Singh Batra, the brand’s monthly average sales lie between ₹2.5-₹2.75 crore.
- Since its inception, the startup has been bootstrapped, and the duo walked away after refusing a deal from the sharks.
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Founded in 2016, Twisting Scoop, as the name suggests, offers “entertainment” with food - the servers make an elaborate play with the ice cream cones, twisting them around in myriad formations, before eventually serving them to the customer. As per the founders, it’s Asia’s first and largest Turkish ice cream brand chain.
As per the founders, Twisting Scoops started in Chandigarh but today has stores across India. The co-founders are currently handling a team of 240 people - and have even partnered with Air India Cargo to ensure that stock is delivered from their Delhi plant (a factory in Kirti Nagar) to all outlets within 72 hours.
Impressed by their journey, vision and business ethics, Aman Gupta, co-founder of boAt, exclaimed that he could learn from them.
“What do you want from us? You have everything. We offer (to entrepreneurs) guidance and advice on branding or technology… (but) let me tell you honestly, I’m learning from you. I have nothing to teach you,” said Gupta.
From childhood friends to co-founders
Juneja, 24 and Batra, 23, are school friends who were studying textile design when they visited Istanbul, Turkey for a holiday. That’s when they experienced Turkish ice cream and decided to bring the concept to India - Juneja was 18 at the time and Batra was 17. And this was their first venture.
“This was the first. We went with the spirit that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” shared Juneja.
Today their stores are divided into three formats - kiosks, stores and carts. Carts are only available at airports where rentals are very high. They serve over 45 flavours of ice creams and the starting price of one ice cream is ₹79 (plus GST).
The duo also said they went to Turkey to seek relevant experience and training, before training their team in India. And though they earlier had franchises, since the end of 2021 they’re only running company-owned stores to ensure quality.
Advertisement“We faced problems (with the franchises) as they wouldn’t spend enough on the staff and maintenance of outlets. Sometimes they’d try to use third-party ice creams. So we spent most of our time correcting them,” shared Juneja, explaining their decision to stop franchises.
The sharks were visibly impressed by the founders’ attention to detail and “strong fundamentals”. Amit Jain, the co-founder of CarDekho.com, remarked that “When you build from scratch, you tend to learn a lot.”
Apart from ice creams, the brand also sells other Turkish delicacies like baklava, middle-eastern and Turkish coffee, kunafa, and falafel. The monthly average sales is between ₹2.5-₹2.75 crore, with a monthly profit of ₹45-₹50 lakh, shared the founders.
Pioneers in India
The sharks raised concerns about the concept getting copied by competitors but the founders claimed that they were the “pioneers in India” - and the competition, though present in small cities, lacked authenticity. Their competitors were not providing authentic Turkish ice cream.
AdvertisementImpressed by their pitch and product, Gupta stated that while he wanted to be associated with the team, he would only join if another shark made an offer. Anupam Mittal, the founder of Shaadi.com, said that he didn’t believe the founders needed funding and could succeed on their own.
“You’re good businessmen who’ve made a mark. You’d surely succeed. And your strength lies in the fact that you successfully finish what you start. It’s very heartwarming. But I don’t understand how you will use the investment, and what help I can provide you. I also didn’t like the products a lot,” remarked Mittal while backing out.
While Jain believed that their product and brand would benefit from appearing on the show, he backed out because he didn’t believe the founders should dilute their equity by raising funds. Namita Thapar, executive director at Emcure Pharmaceuticals, agreed with Jain.
“Genuinely, I don’t think you’re in need of money and you shouldn’t dilute your equity. We will always be there for you as mentors but let’s not be investors today,” said Thapar.
Lastly, Peyush Bansal, co-founder of Lenskart, asked the founders what they’d never do in the business before sharing his decision.
Advertisement“Right from the start, our family cautioned us that before borrowing money, plan how you’d serve and satisfy them (investors) - and only then take a cheque. After taking money, we don’t want to do wrong by anyone. We don’t want to cheat or go astray or be involved in any wrongdoings,” replied Juneja.
Impressed by their value system, Bansal offered ₹50 lakh for 10% equity, along with ₹50 lakh in debt. Gupta joined in on the offer. This valued the company at ₹5 crore.
On hearing the offer, both Jain and Mittal advised the founders to not take it up. Ultimately, the founders didn’t accept the offer and walked away without a deal.
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