For time immemorial, popcorn has been mostly (and strictly) associated with visits to the cinema halls around town. Eventually, it somehow morphed into an unspoken agreement between the parties heading out to the theatres, that intervals call for a bucket or two of salted popcorns and one of the many fizzy drinks to go with it, at the least.
Times changed, PVRs came into existence and the menus at the movie theatres also went on to become more extensive. But the good ol' popcorn remained a hot favourite with the movie-goers, with its sprinkling of salt and nostalgia to keep us company through the many hours we spent laughing and crying at the silver screen.
So when the time came for Chirag Gupta to give wings to his entrepreneurial dreams, he decided to reintroduce how Indians enjoyed their most trusted movie companion - popcorn. Chirag, along with his friend and co-founder Ankur Gupta came up with the plan to bring gourmet popcorns to Indians, and that's how premium popcorn brand 4700 BC came into being in 2013.
Ever since, the duo has changed how Indians have interacted with popcorn. The gourmet makeover that 4700 BC gave the humble popcorn became an instant hit, and there was no looking back after that.
Back in 2012 when Chirag had been already working with Deloitte Consulting in the US for five years, he decided that it was time to go back home and start something of his own, because working for someone else was not an option he was ready to consider. Chirag shares that, “at that point, my thought was that now I have enough money, so let's go back to India and try something of our own.”
Once he got back to the country, Chirag got in touch with his childhood friend Ankur and shared his plans with him. Fortunately for both of them, they were equally thrilled by the prospect of building something of their own and taking it to new heights.
Once the discussions reached fruition, they decided to explore the growing food industry in India. Soon plans were laid out for gourmet popcorn (and a few other ideas), and “the next thing we knew, we hired a chef who started developing out recipes.
Soon the duo learnt about the intricacies of the business, which was already popular in the US, and realised that they would have to import everything from machinery to raw materials from the US. Once the setup bit was sorted, things began to fall in place for their company. But Chirag tells us that the major high came from “getting a store in DLF Saket, which was a premium location in Delhi. We got the first store running there and the response was superb.”
The Next Step
The first year went well for the company, but soon they realised that they need to get better at their own game to retain their consumers. That's the only challenge they faced since no one else in India was doing something similar, so no one was really aware of the nuances of this line of business.
Talking about challenges Chirag says that, “it is important in every entrepreneur's life because until you see the pain and challenges, you don't think about taking the business to its next level.”
4700 BC Today
Today, 4700 BC popcorns are available in 18 different flavours as opposed to the three basics flavours they offered in the beginning. What's more, 4700 BC is available across all PVR cinemas and the company sells approximately 12 lakh units every month! The company's turnover was at Rs. 10 crores in 2017-18 and it only continues to get better and bigger with every passing day.
Learn more about 4700 BC from its co-founder as he shares industry insights and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs to make it big in their venture.