Govind Vijayakumaran Nair & Karan Satish Misal - 2020 Taught Us To Think Smart So That We Didn't Have To Endure Hard Work On The Floor (Business Partners)

Govind Vijayakumaran Nair & Karan Satish Misal

The ability to see failures as proof of making progress. The deafness to public and private criticism. The blind belief that you will make it. Combine the three together and you have everything you need to give your company and start-up the best fighting chance to succeed, you.


1. Tell us more about your company and your journey. 

Hopfenbauer Farms began as Hydrobaccus3700 LLP, which was the initial step taken towards exploratory hydroponic cultivation of Hops.

In the next 365 days, we achieved a successful Proof of Concept, collaborated and made beer from the produce, had a soft launch at Malaka Spice, Pune, collaborated again and had a launch during The Tapped Beer Festival, Mumbai edition, 2019 and finally, after having proven our mettle and calibre, we secured our first Purchase Order. 

On securing Purchase Orders and beginning negotiations for Bulk Purchase Orders, Hydrobaccus3700 LLP got an upgrade and Hopfenbauer Farms Private Limited was born.

2020 was a horrible year for everyone. Though the pandemic had a limited effect on our operations, but it gave us time to innovate and venture further into our realm. 

The Pandemic allowed us to focus on our processes and by continued research and development, we managed to increase the number of plants that can be cultivated in an acre by 4 times. 2020 taught us to think smart so that we didn't have to endure hard work on the floor. And what a rush that was.

Towards the tail end of 2020, we started to pitch for raising capital to scale up and turn Hops, from an Imported product in India to a Made in India and Exported product.


2. How did you come up with this idea and go about executing it?

The idea came when I was getting intoxicated with my friends at home after having endured 26 rejections from 26 Investors, over a span of 6 months.

The conversations revolved around the basic ' don't worry you'll get through this' to what was happening in everyone's professional life. One such discussion was regarding the Indian beer industry where it was shared by a friend that Hops, the key ingredient in brewing is completely imported. 

It was at this point that my other friend nudged me and suggested, 'see if you grow hops hydroponically, it might be a product that might interest investors more'. In the next 2 hours, I did enough research on my phone to confirm that it can be grown hydroponically. 

But India, given its humid and tropical climate was the worst destination for growing Hops, but I decided better to try and fail than to live thinking what if.

Leased a greenhouse in Pune, brought the Hops roots from the US, started growing with 6 plants, found my co-founder who decided to Invest. 6 Plants became 800 in the next 6 months and over the next year 600 plants became 4000.


3. What has been your biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that?

Hydrobaccus3700 LLP was bootstrapped. So the luxury of setting up our own greenhouse was non-existent. So we had to lease and finding greenhouses with our required specifications was like finding a needle in a haystack.

When we finally managed to find the greenhouse, it was outdated and structurally compromised in certain parts. But because we had limitations, this greenhouse was the only option that was viable.

What followed is repeated ups and downs in trying to grow hops in an environment that were barely suitable for growing. And we still succeeded. Against all odds, we grew Hops. And we did so by the sheer determination of every person involved. 

From.the caretakers of the farm, to our Hydroponic expert and grower. Everyone refused to stop, everyone was determined to move forward come what may. And we did it.


4. What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur?

The ability to see failures as proof of making progress. The deafness to public and private criticism. The blind belief that you will make it. Combine the three together and you have everything you need to give your company and start-up the best fighting chance to succeed, you.


5. What are some of the most important factors for running a successful business?

A strong mind. In today's world, where you can turn something like seaweed into biodegradable plastic, an opportunity of improving life and profiting from it is all around. And everyone will recognize an opportunity in some aspect of daily life.

What decides the difference between the startups that make it and those that don't is simple, the strength of the founder conviction and his will to succeed.


6. What are your tips for the first time and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Celebrate your failures. Stick to your guns. Be the first one in and last one out.


7. How can one overcome a hurdle of lack of funds when starting up?

Funds have always been a pivotal aspect of Start-Ups. To get funds, you have to convince the audience to part with their money. So best start at home. If you can convince your parents, family, friends, friend's parents, your convict in our idea solidifies.

The network with your existing pool of fund sources, connect with their friends and their known pool of people.

Or

You approach an Investment Banker or many, come to an agreement for securing services, then sit back, wait and let the Investment Banker do his/her job of securing you an investment


- Govind Vijayakumaran Nair (Founder, CEO, CTO), Karan Satish Misal (Co-Founder, CFO)

Govind Vijayakumaran Nair is a Lawyer by profession and a Farmer by choice. After having completed his BBA LLB from Symbiosis Law School Pune, Govind spent 1.5 years practising as an Advocate in the Kerala High Court, pursuant to which he resigned and pursued farming using Hydroponic sciences.

Karan Satish Misal pursued his BBA from Symbiosis School of Management pursuant to which he pursued his Masters in Management from La Troube University, Australia. Karan has established his niche in handling large financial transactions across multiple industries.


Interviewed By Pratibha Sahani

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