“I choose to do something from the farm to the e-table in this mission of Wellgo Life Farms”– A ‘coconutty’ talk with Siby Mathew, Founder, Wellgo Life Farms
Falling in love with the problem and then questing out an entrepreneurial journey is not always the harbour to sail new businesses and create entrepreneurs. There are no Google maps to find the depot to initiate your business; as an entrepreneur, you can find the intersection anywhere and this was on the dot that weaved the entrepreneurial journey of Siby Mathew. “It was some years back, in one of my trips to Hong Kong, I found that in a supermarket, organic potatoes, tomatoes, and cabbages were sold at double premium pricing and were stacked separately from the regular ones. The fact that people need to pay double or more price for chemical free (fertilizer and pesticide especially) set my heart on a journey of learning about organic farming and why the consumer has to pay premium pricing for organic products. The question that haunted me was whether access to GOOD FOOD is a right to human life? What I learned in the process was that the organic market is large and as an entrepreneur, it is nearly impossible to change the complete ecosystem, but it was possible to select one fruit or vegetable and build a sustainable farm to e-table model. I found organic coconut as an interesting farm product with immense potential. This journey pondering on the potential and market of organic coconut is the most rewarding 3 years of my life.”
The CEO Magazine’s Editor Pooja Kundoo spoke to Siby Mathew, Founder, and Managing Director at Wellgo Life Farms in line with Wellgo’s affairs
You were told that coconut manufacturing is an ‘old-timers’ industry because the younger generation has its heart set on the digital age. And here you are today, as the founder of a niche organic brand. How you did it?
Stumbling blocks like this never ruled out my entrepreneurial stint. My professional experience accounts for 15 years and majorly in the food and beverage industry and with giants like Nestle and Tata. I wanted to initiate a revival – not only in the coconut industry but in the ‘organic’ space in India because deep down I had this picture that this small step would not only offer hope to Indian farmers and end consumers but it would sprout as a global game changer. Our community has been a bridging block between technology & ancient organic practices to revolutionize the untapped organic industry in terms of scale and quality. Wellgo Life Farms is an organic initiative that creates a social impact at the grass root level in order to build a sustainable ecosystem. With the growing demand, in both national and international markets, Wellgo Life Farms explores the opportunity for exports, promoting value-added derivatives of coconuts & online sales.
Why Wellgo is all about ‘coconuts’?
Nature has given us one of the healthiest products on earth and I am passionate about ‘all things coconut’. Having found our core product (Coconut), we have realized the marvelous creations of Mother Nature. Organic Coconut Virgin Oil being “Mother of all oils” helps to eliminate minor and few major medical conditions and helps to build a better immune system. Our Flagship Product is Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (OVCO). OVCO as such is a fairly a new product in the market with outstanding health benefits. In a world where consumers are increasingly moving towards healthier options, OVCO proves itself to be an amazing product.
What do you want to accomplish in future?
While India is the world’s second largest coconut producer in the world, we do not have coconut based value-added product segment in food, cosmetic, wellness & external application categories neither we have a global brand for the same. My Dream is to create a global brand which produces Organic Virgin Coconut oil and value-added products derived out of coconut both for direct consumption and as well as in the health and beauty industry. I also want to diversify into related products, as coconut is also called a KalpaVriskha each and every part of coconut can be made into useful products. I have a long-term goal of making Wellgo Farms a Global Brand and I know that it is not so easy. My journey will take 10 years to shape up both company level and it is also my personal journey. My immediate goal is to focus on the digital branding and marketing side which will lay the foundation for my brand.Our plan is to reach 1% of the global E-commerce audience in next 3 years by investing in branding & technology.
What is the hardest thing about being a CEO?
As a CEO, there will be new challenges and new bottlenecks to handle every day, it is difficult but never give up. It’s attitude which matters!
A word that describes you the best…
Every person has got their own unique set of qualities and likewise, I want to explore my qualities to the fullest, never be ashamed by failure; to be positive always and help others. I am a dreamer and I want to create a global brand which is sustainable and a life changer for millions of farmers& consumers in the world.
What’s your favourite aspect of being a CEO?
What is one piece of advice you think would help entrepreneurs most?
Well, there are actually three;
- Patience – The most “Important aspect of life”.
- Preparedness – How prepared you are for the battle.
- People focused – Nothing else matters if you have the people; you have it all.
That’s great advice, Siby. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business
Wellgo Life Farms Mileposts
- Test Market in India crossed 50,000+ Litres in Sales
- Identification of 18 Customer Categories Indian Market
- Commencement of work on Integrated Coconut Processing Unit in India
- Establishment of US Office in Maryland, USA
- Establishment of AUS Office in Melbourne, Australia
- Crossed 3200+ acres of Certified Organic Coconut Farms
- Set up an R&D Laboratory focussing on the Product and Category Formulations
- New Product Developments and Strategic Partnerships in OVCO based derivatives
- Patents applied for formulations on new categories / new products.
- Working with B2B Strategic Partners across Top 5 Coconut Producing Countries on a Global Farm to E-Table Sustainable Model
- Certification received: USDA ORGANIC, EUROPEAN UNION (EU), NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTION (NPOP) and SCOPE CERTIFIED
The Founder’s Periscope
Founder & CEO, Wellgo Life Farms
“Every time you buy organic, you’re persuading more farmers to grow organic.”
With responsibility for overall company’s performance and deliverables, Strategic management, and global partnerships, Siby thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the company’s reach. His greatest strengths are his Vision to transform lives and drive change and people development. Notable is his five years with Nestle that changed his entire perception of food industry worldwide. His extensive experience with Tata DocomoBrand, Social Impact Funded Dairy Projects, and Renewable Energy projects pushed him a little further to take up organic seriously. In 2012 Siby took a major life decision to do it the “old-fashioned way” – he traded in his corporate life and successful career for something foundational – “to build an organic company that will make the world a better place for generations to come.” The day he walked into the Coconut Development Board in Kochi, India, and later came to understand the power of Nature, it was the beginning of what would become Siby’s life passion; to educate people about life-sustaining organic products that benefit both the body and the mind. Wellgo was born, and with it, the mission to bring “Wellness, Goodness to Life” to every person on the planet.