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What drives Mensa

Hello Reader,

Today is the eighth anniversary of the “Make in India”, a programme aimed at making the country atmanirbhar or self-sufficient. 

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in India, which stood at $45.2 billion in 2014 rose to their highest ever at $83.6 billion in the year 2021-22. According to the central government, the country is on track to attract $100 billion in FDI in the current financial year.

In other news, a tropical storm that’s expected to turn into a hurricane has forced NASA to postpone next week’s launch attempt of its new moon rocket.

Lastly, have you wondered why we laugh? According to one research, laughter is a tool that nature may have developed to help us survive

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • What drives Mensa
  • The highs and lows of Azafran
  • Of a time cafe and workation

Here’s your trivia for today: Two different actors have won Academy Awards for playing what comic-book character?


What drives Mensa

India has less than 30 brands worth over $100 million each in fashion, beauty, and home. This leaves a massive retail opportunity. And that’s what led Mensa on a mission to build a global tech-led house of brands from India. 

Ananth Narayanan, Founder of Mensa Brands, takes us through the building blocks of taking brands from India to the world. 

The opportunity:

  • India’s fashion, beauty, and home brands together form a $120+ billion market, and 80%+ of it is unbranded. 
  • Flipkart, Myntra, and Amazon have built an ecommerce distribution backbone that can be leveraged to build brands.
  • The success of a brand, according to Ananth, goes beyond setting the lowest possible price. Brands need to use a mix of channels to drive healthy growth.


The highs and lows of Azafran 

Azafran Innovacion was started in 2007 as a certified organic brand and has now positioned itself as one of the first Indian brands with a complete organic FMCG range. It had to rethink its business model after the pandemic struck. 

Key takeaways

  • By 2019, Azafran was present in 2,000 retail stores and was available in modern trade stores, including Aditya Birla’s More Retail, with categories spanning skincare, homecare, baby care, wellness, fragrances, etc. 
  • During the pandemic, the company was forced to exit from all 2,000 stores and let go of more than 750 people employed as beauty experts and sales executives.
  • Azafran clocked a revenue of Rs 7 crore in FY22 and aims to close this year at Rs 9.5 crore.

Women entrepreneur

Of a time cafe and workation

Vandita Purohit is a Pune-based serial entrepreneur who launched Mauji, which is said to be India’s first time café. Through her latest venture, Kalapentry, Vandita attempts to turn scrap furniture into sustainable bespoke pieces. She’s also looking to restart her travel startup which organises workations. 

The journey:

  • Mauji Time Café in Pune, which Vandita runs, allows people to have as many biscuits and beverages as they please and pay for the time spent at the café per minute.
  • Her other venture, Kalapentry renovates, refurbishes, and recycles old furniture to create a line of bespoke, sustainable furniture.
  • In 2018, Vandita launched TraWork, which specialised in work vacations at a time when they weren’t so popular.

News & updates

  • It’s a giraffe: Visitors at the Virginia Zoo had the experience of a lifetime after a giraffe unexpectedly gave birth in front of them. Imara, an endangered Masai giraffe, gave birth to her ninth calf earlier this month, according to a Facebook post from the zoo.
  • Hurricane Fiona: After devastating Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic this week, Hurricane Fiona has hit Nova Scotia, Canada. Parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick are experiencing torrential rain and winds of up to 148 km/h.
  • Hydrogen matters: The US is getting serious about becoming a hydrogen production powerhouse. The Department of Energy wants to produce 10 million metric tons of “clean” hydrogen by 2030, according to a draft National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap.

Two different actors have won Academy Awards for playing what comic-book character?

Answer: The Joker. Heath Ledger won a posthumous Academy Award for best supporting actor for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008). Joaquin Phoenix won the best actor for his take on the comic-book villain in Joker (2019).

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