An elevator convo with Ashok Jaiswal and Tu Hien Le. See here for more from our Next Up series.
How does your business work?
So our business has two parts. One is the Yomee yogurt maker device, which is a nifty machine that allows users to make their own yogurt at home — think Nespresso, but for yogurt. We’re aiming to launch it later this year, and have already gotten an award-winning prototype and raised quite a bit of funds for it. We are working hard to keep the price of Yomee between $800 to $1,200, which will come with the device itself and a double-layer glass Yomee cup with a lid.
The second part of our business is the Yomee pods. Yomee can make three kinds of yogurt: greek, plain and stirred. You can set your preferred yogurt type on our Yomee smartphone app, and then choose from four yogurt flavors: plain, vanilla, strawberry and blueberry. All in all, you can make 12 varieties of yogurt from Yomee! Each of the Yomee pods would cost about $5 and give two servings of yogurt.
How did you get started?
Yomee started like most businesses start: from personal need. I (Ashok) grew up in India, where almost everyone makes yogurt at home because it’s just the right temperature to make yogurt year-round. I grew up eating homemade yogurt, but when I moved to Hong Kong, I couldn’t be bothered making yogurt at home until our daughter started eating solids. When we found out that she loves yogurt, we wanted to buy good ones for her, but almost all yogurts sold in Hong Kong are expensive. They’re also often imported and therefore not fresh, and can contain lots of sugar and other ingredients.
I owned another startup company previously, and one day my wife asked, “Can’t you make a device that makes yogurt automatically?” I thought that there must have been so many in the market already, but when I googled and checked on Amazon I found that there were no fully automatic yogurt makers in the market.
I decided to team up with my friend Tu Hien Le, and together we launched Yomee. We got accepted into www.food-x.com, a New York-based food accelerator. We also raised US $200,000 in the seed round and now we’re getting ready for a Kickstarter campaign.
Who are your customers?
Our customers would be like us: people who like to live healthy, eat healthy, and work out. People who care about what food goes in their bodies. People who are willing to go the extra mile to treat themselves to the healthiest breakfast possible. We imagine our customers to be anywhere between 20 to 45 years old, who go to work everyday, work out at least 2 times a week.
Can you give us a rundown of a day in your working life?
So our company is pretty spread out. Tu is based out of Orlando in Florida and often travels to New York and San Fransisco, I am based out of Hong Kong and often travel to China, Singapore, New Zealand as well as the United States. Most days for both Tu and I, we begin at 7:30am.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Startups change really quickly. We are just a 10-month-old startup and we already have done so much, like filing patents for our device and patents for our recipes, raising seed funds, building a team, building a device, inventing the world’s first yogurt pod. We imagine in 5 years that we will be a significant player in the US $85 billion global yogurt market.