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Shubham Bansal

1/2 of the duo bringing pesticide-free produce to customers' doorstep – within 12 hours of harvesting.

Company: Leap Club

Role: Co-founder

What drew you to the food tech industry specifically?

Divish (my co-founder) and I actually lived in an organic farming community for 2 years in southern India. We were surrounded by tons of small farmers and producers growing everything – fruits, vegetables, coffee, pickles, sauces. We got to meet and see the people producing all of our food and experienced this amazing ease of access to really fresh produce. We didn’t have to think about it. It was so easy to live a healthier life and eat food that was good for us.

We knew we wanted to take on the task of replicating and scaling that experience. So, Leap Club is a curated platform wherein we ensure that every piece of produce people get from is pesticide-free, preservative-free, healthy, and incredibly fresh – brought to them within 12 hours of harvesting or baking. It’s also integrated into WhatsApp, an app our users are extremely familiar and comfortable with, to make it an even better experience.

What’s the best piece of user feedback you’ve gotten so far?

I & Divish have talked to ~600 families directly on calls and through WhatsApp. One consistent piece of feedback we get is that people feel like they’re ordering through a friend. I think being a number that people text differentiates us – it feels much more person-to-person and trustworthy. They also appreciate how responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable it feels.

Is there a specific source of inspiration that keeps you pushing through tougher moments?

I think whenever we sort of have natural moments of self doubt, we think about the larger vision we have for this platform – making it really easy for people to make choices that are good for them and for the planet. Ultimately, we intend to layer different services on top of the current ones so people know exactly the health, social and environmental impact of the products that they're choosing.

How do you feel you've grown in building this company?

I think there’s a huge list. I think Divish and I have become a lot more patient; we’ve realized that our vision won’t come to life overnight – it’s a long-term game that we work towards.

We’ve also become much more decisive and focused on just getting iterations of product details made and launched, rather than having hours of discussion. We realized we needed to make decisions (and mistakes!) and then just push on. Decisions that would take us a day in the early days now take us about an hour.

How did you meet Divish & how do you complement one another?

We met at university in India and have been close friends for over 8 years now.

I think I'm slightly more aggressive in how fast I’d like us to grow and he looks at it more rationally. But I think it’s a really healthy balance for us because we always end up landing on goals that are ambitious but achievable. In terms of skill sets, he comes from a supply chain background. He previously helped build a platform to provide market access to thousands of farmers. So he has a strong grasp on operations and the ins-and-outs of consumer-facing products. Meanwhile, I come from a machine learning background so I’m able to work closely with our developer on our product.

What has it been like to transition from close friends to co-founders?

When we were at the farming community together, we were living in the same house, working together too and it felt a bit like a husband and wife dynamic haha. Work arguments naturally become personal arguments in that setup. But, ultimately, disagreements never got too bad – we both always trusted that the other was coming from a place of care about the venture. We both believe deeply that Leap Club can create change by making it easier for people to make choices that are good for them and the planet.

What’s a song or album that’s gotten you through 2020?

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. Also, Vienna by Billy Joel.

Favorite emoji or gif?

The tongue out face haha. When something goes wrong, “😛”. Also, the poker face “😐”.