28th Oct 2021   |   Glow & Lovely Careers   |     |  
3 min read

Daalchini: The success story of a woman who decided to combine technology and home food

Career Guidance

Some people have a mind block that specific jobs are better suited for girls and others not so much. Many even discourage girls from taking up technology, science, and even mathematics. Prerna is a classic example of how women can be good at any career they choose. In fact, with hard work, the right career choice, and guidance, a girl can achieve whatever she wants. 

Prerna Kalra’s story is one such example….

A successful career in finance and technology

Prerna started her career in the field of finance and technology. She joined Paytm, where she was among the first five employees of the company. There she went on to become the former Head of Products, Paytm-Wallet, and filed a patent within Paytm.

A visit abroad and a business idea is born.

It was Prerna’s visit to China that gave her inspiration for starting Daalchini. In China, Prerna saw vending machines with all types of fresh food – from fruits to momos. All one had to do was put some money in the vending machine, and they would get fresh food!

Prerna realized that these types of vending machines were not present in India. And her business idea, Daalchini Technologies, was born!

Daalchini Technologies provides affordable, healthy snacks and home-style meals through vending machines and smart shops.

Through Daalchini, one can get frozen/chilled meals, meal kits, snacks, bakery items, immunity boosters, healthy/energy drinks, yogurt, and more. It has also partnered with cloud kitchens and home chefs for fresh meals.

Combining technology, business, food…and hard work

While preparing fresh food is easy. Keeping it fresh for the whole day is challenging. This is where Prerna and her co-founder, Vidyabhushan, got in their technical expertise. Prerna’s previous work experience in finance and technology also proved to be helpful.

A typical day for those working at Daalchini starts at 3 am. Yes, 3 am! While the rest of the world is still asleep, the people in Daalchini are busy. They prepare fresh food daily. The recipes and ingredients are already ready. Finally when the food is cooked, it is chilled, packed and prepared for distribution.

Yes, it is hard work. But hard work is one of the reasons why Daalchini has been a success story in such a short time. 

Daalchini started around 2017- 2018 with just two vending machines. And today, it has

  • 400 machines across India
  • Daalchini products are sold in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Chandigarh, Mohali, and many other parts of India

And…..

By the end of March 2022, Daalchini is expecting an annual turnover of 144 crores.

Winning awards, accepting challenges, and succeeding

It was not easy for Prerna to leave her job at Paytm. But she decided to take the risk. And her gamble paid off. Today, Daalchini vending machines and products are available in many parts of India, and the company is expanding even more.

Prerna herself has received many awards, acknowledging her contribution, such as

  • TimessheUnltd Women Entrepreneur Award 2019
  • Retail Startup of the Year 2021 Award by Entrepreneur India
  • The startup was selected for Atal Innovation Mission by NITI Aayog in August 2019
  • Top 100 startups in India by SutraHR in Jan 2020

During the Pandemic, people were not stepping out much. But rather than considering this as a challenge, Prerna and her team saw this as an opportunity. They added more food options and modified their way of working to suit the pandemic needs. Better hygiene, more home-cooked meals, better delivery were some of the things that Prerna and her team focused on. They also started vending machines in hospitals – to provide fresh meal options where they were most required.

Prerna saw opportunities where people saw challenges. And that is one of the main reasons why Daalchini and Prerna are both success stories today. Prerna’s story inspires all that girls can achieve – once they set their hearts to it.


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