From AI Cooking Assistant To Smart Microwave; Here Is What Upliance.AI Has In Store For Novice Cooks

From AI Cooking Assistant To Smart Microwave; Here Is What Upliance.AI Has In Store For Novice Cooks

"It's been quite a journey, but we're proud to be leading the way in this exciting space. And we're just getting started," said co-founder and CEO of Upliance, Mahek Mody.

Pratiksha ThayilUpdated: Saturday, August 12, 2023, 01:36 PM IST
From AI Cooking Assistant To Smart Microwave; Here Is What Upliance.AI Has In Store For Novice Cooks |

We Indians are known for our love for anything food. From cringy experimentations to mind blowing mix of traditional global flavours you can find everything here. But with the advancing technology the food industry has also grown. We have now reached a point where artificial intelligence is also part of the kitchen. Add to this the advent of ChatGPT and we have opened another universe for those who love cooking.

Imagine a machine that not only tells you the exact amount of ingredients required, cuts the ingredients and cooks it for you? Well this makes life easier right, but this isn’t just an imagination this machine was launched in the market by Upliance.AI.

Upliance, founded by Mahek Mody and Mohit Sharma entered the cooking industry with India's first AI cooking assistant delishUp that can do everything from weighing ingredients to cooking dishes all in one machine. While this in itself is interesting enough the company is still working on bringing more innovations. Let's find out what the co-founder and CEO Mahek Mody has to say about their journey and future plans.

Tell us more about the brand Up?

Sitting at the intersection of smart connected devices and everyday living, Upliance.AI is a young startup that is bringing the magic of technology and connected living to Indian homes. Our vision for the future of home and cooking is not about robots taking over, but rather about empowering individuals to do more at home without being limited by mundane house chores. We want to create a future where technology seamlessly integrates with our daily lives, enhancing our homes and experiences.

Our flagship product, the delishUp⤴️, India’s first AI cooking assistant, is designed to revolutionise cooking at home. We recognise that many individuals rely on YouTube videos and social media for cooking inspiration, so we wanted to offer a solution that combines guidance and convenience. With the delishUp⤴️, users can choose from a vast collection of 300+ guided recipes displayed on the touchscreen. The real magic happens with our smart cooking jar powered by Up⤴️AI, which can chop, stir, sauté, and cook your food perfectly every time. It takes away the hard work and stress of cooking, allowing you to focus on enjoying the process.

Why did you decide to enter the smart kitchen industry and what differentiates your brand from other market players?

With deeper internet penetration across the country, there is a space for us to transform the way Indian kitchens work. We wanted to do what mobile phones, laptops, and smart TVs did for a generation — changed the way we work, communicate, discover and enjoy entertainment.

For both Mohit and I, who come from hardware backgrounds, entering the smart kitchen industry was a no-brainer. We had a shared vision of revolutionising home appliances and therefore embarked on a mission of creating the brand, Upliance.AI, that understands the needs of young Indian homes and offers a new way of smart living.

People are spending a whopping $26 billion per year on these purchases. However, most of the products available are still stuck in the past, designed for the 1970s with outdated technology from the 2000s. It just didn't make sense to us. We wanted to build consumer appliances that are specifically designed for the new India, appliances that are smart, innovative, and tailored to the evolving tastes and preferences of the Indian buyer.

Our personal experiences also played a significant role in shaping our journey. Like many millennials, we faced a common dilemma when it came to cooking at home. We wanted variety but felt limited by our cooking skills and repetitive recipes. This inspired us to create delishUp⤴️, a kitchen assistant that empowers people to cook their favourite dishes with ease.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities you encountered when entering the market?

Entering the market came with its own set of challenges and opportunities that shaped our journey.

From seamless payments through UPI to the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, the Indian market has demonstrated a strong inclination towards embracing these innovations.

However, there was a missing piece in the puzzle – a home appliance that could truly align with these expectations. That's where we stepped in. Recognising the opportunity, we developed a dedicated home appliance that perfectly complements the digital lifestyle of Indian consumers.

The widespread use of smartphones among young Indians provided us with a tremendous opportunity. We observed that home chefs were already utilising their smartphones to explore and create delicious dishes. Building upon this existing trend, we took the initiative to elevate the smartphone cooking experience to a whole new level. By developing a dedicated appliance, we aimed to provide a seamless and enhanced cooking experience that goes beyond what a smartphone alone can offer.

One of the biggest challenges we faced early on was building both a team and a product simultaneously while bootstrapping. We designed our beta program on a shoestring budget, showcasing our vision with what we called "Upliances." That got the attention of some impressive investors like Nithin Kamath and Tim Draper, who saw the potential and decided to back us.

Another challenge we tackled was understanding the first principles of Indian cooking. There's plenty of material out there about the science of Western food, but Indian cuisine needed some serious decoding. We dove deep into the nuances of Indian flavours and techniques, even making over 50 kgs of Tadka to train our Up⤴️AI to get it right every time! Krish Ashok's book on Indian cooking was a fantastic starting point, and we now have one of the best technical understandings of cooking Indian food to match the tastes and textures we all love.

So, amidst the challenges and opportunities, we persevered. It's been quite a journey, but we're proud to be leading the way in this exciting space. And we're just getting started!

With AI bringing about change in many industries, what more do you think will change in the food industry?

Looking ahead, AI will bring significant changes to the food industry. Personalised cooking experiences will flourish as AI understands individual preferences and dietary needs, offering tailored recipe recommendations. Meal planning will be simplified through AI-driven analyses, and food safety will be enhanced by monitoring data and ensuring ingredient freshness. With Upliance.AI leading the charge, expect exciting innovations in personalised recipes, intuitive meal planning, and improved food safety. Together, we're revolutionising the food industry, making cooking a delightful and personalised experience.

You have recently integrated ChatGPT, how do you think this will boost your product?

Integrating ChatGPT into the delishUp⤴️has been a game-changer for our product, transforming the way we interact with technology in our kitchens. With ChatGPT, the delishUp⤴️ becomes your personalised sous chef, learning from your cooking habits and providing tailored recipe recommendations and cooking tips. The natural language conversation allows you to ask questions, make requests, and get recommendations as if you're chatting with a cooking expert.

The Recipe Generator (Beta) feature adds a fun twist, enabling you to create unique and adventurous recipes. You can generate unique recipes like Mushroom Sambar or even get inspired by your favourite movies to create movie-themed dishes. It's a fun way to explore your culinary creativity and surprise your taste buds with something new and exciting.

Do you have any plans to develop the product to cook for more people or will you be limiting it to the current number?

Absolutely! We have plans to expand the delishUp⤴️ to cater to a wider range of users. Our current jar size can serve up to 4 adults, with the ability to accommodate up to 6 servings depending on the recipe. Safety and accuracy are paramount, and our rigorous testing and training processes ensure precise cooking instructions and reliable outcomes.

With the Indian moms believing that food needs to be cooked a certain way, how open do you think they will be to accept a smart appliance?

At Upliance.AI, we don't aim to compete with Indian moms in the realm of cooking but rather become their trusted cooking partner. We understand their joy and pride in preparing meals for their families. With the delishUp⤴️, we enhance their cooking experience by providing a reliable and innovative tool that supports and assists them in the kitchen.

The delishUp⤴️ is designed as a companion that understands their cooking style and preferences. Our goal is to empower Indian moms to expand their culinary horizons and experiment with new recipes. We want Indian moms to feel excited about this cooking companion, knowing it can elevate their culinary skills and create memorable meals for their families.

Where do you see the brand going in the next five years?

In the next five years, we envision Upliance.AI becoming the leading brand for smart home appliances for young India. Our primary focus is on establishing the delishUp⤴️ as a household name, aiming to reach over 150,000 homes across the country by the end of this year. We're also committed to expanding the recipe library on the delishUp⤴️, with a target of introducing up to 1000 more recipes.

In addition to the delishUp⤴️, we have plans to introduce the Pro and Light versions of the appliance, offering even more features and options to cater to diverse user needs. Moreover, we're working on innovative versions of the Microwave and Refrigerator. These products will continue to enhance the home experience and cater to the evolving demands of our customers.

Expanding beyond the Indian market, we are also considering entering International markets, broadening our reach and impact. Financially, we have ambitious targets as well. We aim to achieve a revenue of INR 150 crores by FY25 and capture 20% of the $30 billion consumer appliance industry in India over the next eight years.

Do you have any plans to raise funds in the next one year?

Yes, we do have plans to raise funds in the coming year to support our growth and expansion. We are excited about the opportunities ahead and the potential to further develop our products and reach a wider audience.

Last year we closed our pre-seed round with a total of $1.5 million led by Zerodha-backed Rainmatter and Draper Associates. We are truly grateful for the backing we have received from them and other notable entities such as Rukam Capital, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs of India (SAE India), Gaurav Munjal & Roman Saini (co-founders of Unacademy), and Tarun Mehta & Swapnil Jain (co-founders of Ather Energy). Additionally, many of our consumers from the early stages have also turned into angel investors for us, cementing our trust and belief in our product and vision.

These investments not only provide us with the necessary capital but also serve as a validation of our vision and potential. As we move forward, we will continue exploring funding opportunities to fuel our growth and bring our innovative products to more households nationwide.


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