Recently, we interacted with Mahek Mody, Co-founder, Up⤴️️, and sought his views on the idea behind his startup, and how they are infusing fresh ideas and concepts for culinary enthusiasts and foodies.
Here are the interview highlights:
- What is Up ⤴️️ and how did you come up with the idea behind it?
Up⤴️ is a smart home appliance company. We sit at the intersection of smart connected devices and everyday living. Up⤴️️️ is currently developing appliances and devices with the goal of providing young homeowners a new way of smart living. Both Mohit and I, stepped out from the popular Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) and EV sectors to find the next big thing and home appliances seemed to be an obvious answer.
India is one of the largest markets for home appliances with an Indian buyer spending roughly $26 billion annually on these purchases. We are today what tech-forward countries like Korea and Japan were in the 1950s and we are due to an overhaul. In 2023 there is ubiquitous internet at homes and connected appliances could transform your day. Like mobile phones, laptops, smart TVs did for a generation — changed the way we work, communicate, discover and enjoy entertainment. Our home appliances and consumer durables could be doing the same thing.
Connected appliances should exist and they should run like magic. The technology to build and run connected appliances exists today. They just need to be designed and built. That’s the premise that kickstarted the journey for us. The devices we want to build today will define the homes of tomorrow. At Up⤴️️️ we have a clear vision towards building consumer “upliances” of the future. The digital core of the delishUp⤴️, our smart cooking assistant, is already learning the behaviour and preferences of our users to customise and personalise them for their needs.
- As a brand that is looking at making homes more connected, why did you start your foray into the space with a kitchen product?
Starting with a Kitchen upliance was the obvious choice for us. Food is an integral part of our day, yet one of the most hated questions in households is “What should we eat today?”.
Despite the convenience & variety of outside food, home food continues to be cherished. Food in India is diverse, its significance in our culture is deeply rooted in emotions. People have a habit of finding a routine that helps them survive the day and sticking with it, like eating the same boring food. But also, being unhappy with the tedious routines that they’ve built.
The pandemic was a watershed event that made everyone truly appreciate the blessing of a ‘Home’. With greater time spent, homes were truly becoming an extension of their personality and this also paved the way for adoption of technology for their homes.
The failure of traditional kitchen appliances to accommodate this new and evolved lifestyle, led us to enter the smart kitchen industry. When we think of a smart kitchen, it is one where you have answers to everything about food and cooking. Your kitchen should cater to all of your needs, be it recommending new and interesting recipes to prepare or giving you the ability to cook without the hassle of figuring out “how”. This is the core philosophy behind the delishUp⤴️️. Consumer demand for kitchen appliances has long been about ‘automating’ what we are already doing in kitchens, the delishUp⤴️️ is taking this beyond by actively expanding what you can do in your kitchen and what you want to do. It comes with step-by-step instructions and guided recipes, how-to videos, and cooking presets that are perfect for Indian home cooking.
In 2023, we are not only simplifying the kitchen, we are making it smart. We are not solving cooking, we are solving the most vexing question in most Indian homes – What should we eat today?
- There are many kitchen appliances that help people cook. How does the delishUp⤴️️ differ from those and how does it enhance the user experience?
delishUp⤴️️️ is India’s first smart cooking assistant designed for people who can’t cook. Someone with no skills can make a Mushroom Risotto or a Chicken Biryani and get it perfect the first time.
The kitchen appliance space is crowded with gadgets that are designed to save you some time or some effort, and nearly all of them are built and marketed for people who cook regularly or enjoy it. Though a large majority of the audience is novices and beginners, there has never been a hack or superpower to make homemade food appealing and easier for them.
Often consumers have to buy individual products for each cooking function or a single function device like a chopper, a food processor that can only grind and sometimes knead, another appliance to fry. We have seen some great appliances that make cooking easy but none that are a one stop solution to eating great food everyday.
One of the biggest challenges facing young Indian households today is the gap between their desire to eat diverse, delicious meals and their inability to cook them easily at home. With 150+ guided recipes that come with step by step instructions and how to videos, on it’s touchscreen, the delishUp⤴️ enables one to cook a wide range of meals, including soups, noodles, rice, desserts, meats and vegetables no matter their skills. Daily routine cooking tasks like chopping and stirring, cutting, grinding, kneading, sautéing or steaming is done by this smart cooking assistant.
The delishUp⤴️️️ is powered by our proprietary AI technology, Up⤴️️️AI. It is key in what makes us stand out from other appliances in the market. Up⤴️️️AI continuously monitors and adapts to the food being cooked, whether its Indian, Continental or Oriental cuisine. The AI has been trained through more than 5000 cooking sessions by chefs, expert home cooks and food scientists. and constantly improves with every cooking session. It ensures your vegetables are chopped to the right size by precisely controlling the blades. It estimates the temperature of your food every second and adapts and adjusts heat accordingly, to cook food perfectly.
The consumers of today appreciate ease of use and products that offer them an experience. Even if one buys all the standalone kitchen appliances available in the market,it isn’t guaranteed that they can cook nutritious and diverse meals with it. The problem most people have with cooking is either that they don’t know recipes or they lack the skills to make it.
Another factor that sets us apart from other products is our never-ending relevance. Usually kitchen products need to be changed out for newer models or features. The delishUp⤴️️ can connect to your home wi-fi network and its Over-the-air (OTA) upgrades provide real time access to new features, enhancements or even the new recipes being built by Team Up⤴️️. The delishUp⤴️️️ only gets better with time.
- Who would you say your target audience are for the brand and the delishUp⤴️️ in particular? Where can one avail this product?
Whether it’s a busy working couple who have just moved into a new home, a young family seeking healthier meal options, or a large household looking to try out new cuisines, the delishUp⤴️️ caters to a wide range of these individuals, democratising cooking and making preparing healthier, nutritious meals a hassle-free process.
The delishUp⤴️️ is designed for amateur cooks to start cooking without the stress and hassle of figuring out the “how” and to empower people to cook food they love, at home regardless of their skills.
Given that we are a completely D2C brand, people can buy our products on the website www.upliance.ai. A 4-day experience option is also available at INR499 in Bengaluru, in other cities we currently offer virtual demos, and will be starting a trial and in-person demo experience soon. The delishUp⤴️️️ is available for purchase at INR21,999 on Up⤴️️️’s website.
- Where do you see the brand going in 5 years and how does the delishUp⤴️️ feature in those goals?
Over the next 5 years, our goal is to establish Up⤴️️️ as the go-to home upliances brand for young India. We are currently focusing on making the delishUp⤴️️️ a household name and have it in over 150,000 homes across the country by FY24. We want to introduce up to 1000 more recipes on the delishUp⤴️️️. You will see a Pro and a Lite version of the delishUp⤴️️️ in the market very soon.
In the long run, we will create more products like delishUp⤴️️️, like innovative versions of the Microwave (codenamed: WarmUp⤴️️️) and Refrigerator (codenamed: ChillUp⤴️️️). We also intend to expand into the South East Asian Markets in the near future.
The larger goal we have at Up⤴️️️, is to shape and defines homes through connected appliances we build today. We aspire to cater to young homes that envision a new way of life, homes that strive for more, do more and achieve more.We will continue to build upliances, across categories, which transform and level up young homes in India and the world.