2021 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: High Time Foods, Babson College (Olin)

High Time Foods

Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business

Industry: Alternative Meat

Founding Student Name(s): Aakash Shah

Brief Description of Solution: Plant-based meat company that is differentiating with its line of shelf stable and zero preservatives product. Launching out of Boston, their first product is a plant-based chicken mix that when added to oil and water functions exactly as minced chicken.

Funding Dollars: $120,000 – Won the Arthur Blank Center B.E.T.A Challenge Award and was given a cash award of $20,000. The B.E.T.A Challenge is Babson’s annual startup pitch event. Raised another $100,000 from Angel investors in India.

What led you to launch this venture? I launched my first startup in food in 2017 and launched a chain of cloud kitchens in India. I was able to see first-hand how meat is treated and in how many ways it can go wrong. It really seemed unnecessary that to satisfy our protein and taste needs, we need to impact the future of our planet and resort to killing animals. That is when I read further about alternative protein and decided to embark on this journey.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? My biggest accomplishment was when we did a successful blind taste testing with my college mates. They were invited for dinner and the participants included an Argentinian, a Japanese and a Peruvian. They were different dishes using samples from my venture. Everyone was really complimenting the food and spoke about how the “chicken” was so tender and really tasty. That’s when I knew that this has potential.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? Coming to Babson College has been life-changing. All of the courses at Babson are taught here with the context of entrepreneurship. But what makes Babson the best school for entrepreneurship in the world is the constant encouragement that you receive from everyone when you are staring up. The resources that you are provided with for starting up is beyond compare and Babson is the perfect launchpad for starting your venture.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? My dad has been my biggest idol! It is because of him that I decided to work on High Time Foods. He started his company at age 21 and that decision brought a landmark change in my family’s trajectory. His biggest reason for starting up was survival and he encourages me to start up so that I can create employment. It is because of him that I can take on this risk of starting my own company in a young industry.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Managerial Economics by Professor Lidija Polutnik has been the most valuable class for me in building my startup. Having come from an engineering background, I had never taken a formal economics class. This class taught me much more than just economics. The entire class is revolved around how to use concepts of economics and win in a competitive scenario. This was especially useful to me as it helped me decide which strategy to pick while starting up.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Our Finance Professor, Jerome Taillard, made a significant contribution to my plans of starting up. He has always been extremely encouraging of me to start a business and told me that the perfect time to start a business is right now.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? My long-term goal would be to eventually vertically integrate and extrude proteins from raw protein sources. I would want to tap into India’s vast source of agriculture strength and supply plant based proteins to the world.

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