Neeraj’s corporate career started after he completed his MBA from MDI, Gurgaon in 1998. He worked with Union Carbide and later Wipro before joining Coke in 2001. He had an amazing run with Coke- the kind that becomes a part of Corporate Folklore (the jury is still out on whether there is an entity that may be described as Corporate Folklore) with the high point being his time in Bangalore when he seemed to have settled the much-touted Cola battle conclusively. In 2008, he headed to Wharton to do a second MBA and is now in the thick of the action as CEO of Hector Beverages Private Limited, India.
In an interview with knowAhead, Neeraj talks about his experience with Tzinga
What was the reason for doing a second MBA?
The 2nd mba seemed a perfect time to redefine the trajectory of my professional life. Taking time out to sharpen certain skills, and observing the global landscape helped in coming up with a sound business plan, rather than a mere bright idea
What obstacles or hardships you faced in starting up TZinga?
Many. A lot of people- former colleagues, suppliers et al look down upon entrepreneurs. it is only after you achieve certain scale that you start getting all stakeholders to respond efficiently.
Also, this is a cap-ex intensive business and capital was a concern when we set out. however, we have been fortunate to work with two great funds, whose contributions go well beyond just money
How did you build up your team for Tzinga?
As co-founders we had great relationships with a number of strong professionals that we had worked with earlier, that helped a lot, that said, its again an area where things get progressively easy as you build scale
How did you manage to offer Tzinga energy drink at price of almost 1/5th of what others players are offering?
The biggest reason is the packaging- so you can cite the cliche, “innovation is the key”. Added to that is our no-frills culture and no earmarking of expensive ad campaigns.
Doing things our way, offering an energy drink at 25 does not seem so strange but yes, its no surprise that outsiders would find it so.
As an entrepreneur what excites you the most in journey in Tzinga?
Coming across consumers who are drinking it! and all the phenomenal feedback.
Any message for the budding Entrepreneurs?
Getting an “idea” isn’t a big deal. Go out and DO it.