Download Our New Mogul App Worldwide

Download Our New Mogul App. Reach Your Goals & Realize Your Full Potential.

Download Now

MogulsInterview:TipsonHowtoStartaBusinessWithNoMoneyAccordingtoYUNOCo-FounderShenkeriChandramohan

TabithaBritt
TabithaBritt CEO & Founder of DO YOU ENDO
1mo New York, NY, United States Story
Moguls Interview: Tips on How to Start a Business With No Money According to YUNO Co-Founder Shenkeri Chandramohan

Putting yourself out there is difficult, especially when "putting yourself out there" means transforming an idea into a business. In hopes of making your entrepreneurial journey a little less stressful, I interviewed Shenkeri "Nika" Chandramohan—the co-founder of YUNO—on how to launch a startup when you're low on money and high on ambition. 

Mogul: What advice do you have for someone who's too scared to take the leap and start their own thing?

Nika: "This is an excellent question and one that I am personally very fond of. The idea of fear is best explained by one of my favorite philosophers; Soren Kierkegaard – 'The most painful state of being is thinking about the future.' The moment when your heart pounds to accept that offer, to speak up or to start something new – tiny flashes of memories, small flashes of what's lost and what's gained pops up, little flashes of if's and nostalgia creates that hesitation – because we fear the unknown."

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "My personal experience is when I took the leap of faith in New York – Before meeting my co-founder I aimed to move to Japan. My proficiency in the language and the fact that Japan being one of the largest food research companies, I was thrilled to be part of that community. I was offered an opportunity to be a researcher understanding and analyzing the functional properties of matsutake mushrooms. However, for the first time in a long time, I was at cross-roads when my co-founder offered an opportunity to explore America. It was one of my most conflicting nights – however, I’m truly grateful for taking that leap. Bringing forth a product that speaks volumes and creating opportunities for research in the future. However, what makes it more accessible? What makes that fear turn a leaf to confidence? For me, it's the question, what if? Every time, when I'm about to be scared or about to give up solely because I fear the next moment after leaping. I ask myself, What If? Analyzing both outcomes and prioritizing what is my aim here. My advice is to always reflect upon yourself, a small question to yourself will allow you to prioritize to strategically tackle your fear. Always know the antonym of fear is confidence."

Mogul: Launching a business takes time, commitment, and money. How young entrepreneurs find creative ways to fund their startup? 

Nika: "Initially, when we started, we bootstrapped our own funds. As a startup, the benchmark for traditional funding is high – where pre-seed companies are now required to prove traction. For my co-founder and me, it was self-funding a service model to generate revenue from Day 1 proving the concept." 

Mogul: So how do young entrepreneurs fund their startups?

Nika: "When you start, creating partnerships is critical; when you're in a startup, it's your support system, friends, family, advisors, corporate partners, organizations that give you first chances. Work on building a network and share your idea while protecting your integrity – design it with advice, and value feedback. Secondly, competitions and small-scale crowdfunding to grow your confidence as well as build an audience around your idea. Finally, my favorite lesson was to look at your startup as a business and not a competition. Nearly 75 percent of startups aren't funded by traditional funding – this is a surprising number we rarely hear about. As a founder, building the right network that's open to allowing you not only to grow but also the opportunity to grow from your mistakes is essential – using your own unique skills."

Mogul: Could you tell our readers a little bit about your journey to entrepreneurship? 

Nika: "While passion is essential – passion paired with expertise is critical. It isn't time that makes the measure of a person, but rather results. To establish my proficiency, past the traditional education, I forged my path with an 82-country, five-year tour across the world to study phytochemistry - nutrition - sourcing from the source to identify the pulse of mental health among different communities. Continuing my research in each new country by learning about the ingredients right at their natural origins. This put me face to face with some of the world's most unique ingredients and the unique combinations of mixtures from garam masala and it twin from North Africa Ras El Hanout and utilizing lemon balm and pandan to create a conversational dessert and to growing an affinity towards Yerba Mate and its origins – especially the slightly burnt woody bitter taste it brings when drinking from the gourd." 

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "Growing up, my childhood was somewhat different than many, I was exposed to various wildlife – especially herbs, spices, plants, and unique fungi. Growing up in Malaysia, cuisines are diverse, and the intrinsic value of food is medicine is part of our curriculum. My particular situation was due to my comprehensive memory coupled with dyslexia I had to overcome anxieties and depression. Producing neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin becomes a challenge – I need to find a solution to this before it’s too late. As medication was too harsh for me, I will say my teacher, and well-wisher educated me on how to use ingredients around me to help me overcome daily obstacles. For example, I love public speaking – however, my anxieties sometimes put me in a panicked situation right before getting on the stage or during intense exams. My heart thumps, I feel nauseous, and I start fidgeting – throwing me off completely. Hence, used to meal prep a week and throughout my competition from specific boosts to the right meals. This is one of my occurrences. But it can't just be me, right? Soon enough, I realized mental health is prevalent among my friends, adults, and even strangers. During exam seasons, suicides aren't surprising, and every time this happens, I can imagine what it must have felt like till that last 30 seconds. I wanted to understand how our body and mind functions, the ingredients that play a huge role, from our microbiome – to the very crux of how we can make mental health/ psychological wellness affordable – sustainable – available for when one will need a safety net."

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "Narrowing my focus toward understanding ingredients and mental health from different perspectives – I traveled to various countries as a journalist – to study, research and understand the role of natural ingredients in diverse geography and it influences on psychology of citizens in each country. Understanding the root of their microbiome – allergens and socio-economic of each region. While traveling, I saw the opportunity to use my research in creating then a service-based company. Through understanding the regional ingredients and exploring to the sourcing and transition of ingredients coupled with understanding the mental health status of each country. We were able to identify two key points – typical stressor points that paint a similarity pattern distinctive to the countries and determining what is the typical mental health problems faced by certain communities we were able to identify the nutrition and neurotransmitter pathways that are involved."

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "Along with the experience of working with various NGO's and startups in the realm of Business Development and Funding Coordinator for example with I Talk To Strangers, Model United Nations and AIESEC – I built small communities with a mission of researching and utilizing the right balance of ingredients to create necessary boosts. Instead of supplementing and stacking – and maybe overtaxing our bodies – why don't we focus on targeted boosts? Boosting the right neurotransmitters that affect our actions and reactions, and I soon realized the gut-brain axis plays an important role. I spent my time interviewing researchers, interning, and meeting different culinary enthusiast to understand the perspective of food. From the origin to how it's consumed and excreted. Researching and understanding the loop in our body and creating products focused on; ingredients – consumption – release to boost our physical + mental without creating long term effects through accumulation. 2017, I received an opportunity to speak in NYC for the annual Under 30 Changemakers Summit, which was a social impact organization started by a dear friend Tara. Her perspective on how social impact in future industries creates an avenue for sustainability rallied people from all across the world. Speaking about the future of food, and the mind allowed me to turn my experience, vision, and research create a conversation around the topic. Leading to meeting amazing partners and advisors."

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "By building upon expertise through passion, coupled with a strong partnership with a charismatic co-founder, who is equally passionate about collective growth with his principles on mission-based organizations gave us something consequential to stand behind and move forward. During this journey, there were tears and times when throwing the towel is easier. However, it's a strategic choice that we need to be conscious of making. When that happens – we realize struggling through school or building a vision – the chemical reaction creates a template of action and being able to evaluate and take action is what forges the future whether it is success or failure."

Mogul: What inspired you to create YUNO? Could you tell our readers a little bit about the company and your mission? 

Nika: "When we started YUNO, we built it on the premise of prioritizing in innovating functional food products utilizing the power of natural spices, herbs, and superfoods to be adaptable and affordable. By directing our research to the arena of efficient nutritional transfer and functional ingredients that are friendly to the brain and body, we aim to build a pathway for products and startups that focus on the holistic nature of our anatomy. One of my favorite reasons to start from the Gut-Brain Axis when addressing mental health was my dilemma. There were periods in my life where my anxieties paralyzed me from grabbing that opportunity, unnecessary guilt and sadness have made me feel hopeless, but I couldn't bear with the thought that there was no internal ties – a connection, a loop more than our nervous systems and our circulation. Understanding the gut and its multiple influences and following it to the brain, its multitude dimensions of impacts gave a strong reason to analyze the gut-brain axis."

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "We wanted to create a product that includes a brand that's also focused on the +mind impact. Psychological health is for all, and creating an education surrounding the topic helps create a solution-oriented mindset among a community. YUNO currently represents 6 functions with different personality and characteristics – it's quirky, and it's fun while focusing on utility for the mind + body. For example, in one instance we had some say 'Hey, can I have an Uplift' – instead of saying stress or agitation. By creating the choice and pathways for a conversation and a simple solution that you can carry around in your pocket – we open up doors of curiosity for others to also look at Psychological wellness in a different perspective."

Mogul: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Nika: "This upcoming September we will be launching our Kickstarter featuring all our six collections with exclusive packages for pre-orders and hosting a series of events within the Lower East Side of Manhattan celebrating and gathering partners with the launch of YUNO & The America YUNO throughout Autumn. If you’re a high-performing professional who wants to give back to their community or have a unique story to share about their path to their current success, reach out to us at nika@yuno.nyc. The America YUNO (TAY) is discovering the stories of sustainable success in America from different industries contributing to the economy and communities around them in their different terms. There were stories of triumphs, nostalgia, lessons learned, and victory savored – it highlighted a unique part in every story while drawing a pattern of similarities. Of hope and support- it showed the chance of creating a reference of hope and steps to climb over a particular obstacle in each industry. TAY is aimed to be an annual campaign which ends in an Auction, to create value and add value towards the mission of mental health and psychological wellness through research, bridging of knowledge, and innovation of products that's conscious towards the +mind action. TAY will be developing five portraits representative of the five industry totaling 500 faces while highlighting their stories, these 5 portraits are to be auctioned off with the proceeds being donated to truly local non-profit organizations creating a grassroots change for mental wellness awareness, education and 'Hope' for the future."

Photo provided by Shenkeri Chandramohan

Nika: "In support with #Envision2030 supporting SDG 3 – Good Health and Well Being, we are aiming to bring forth our action to prevent the mental health epidemic and encouraging a generation that focuses on psychological wellness along with physical wellness. Our current partners include The Farm which brought together one of the first YUNO communities; Thought for Food which current focus is to create solutions towards world hunger through their annual conference and Axios NYC who inspired us to be creative with amazing creative support among the tech industry."


0 replies

As a guest user, you can still reply to conversations. Just press the "Reply" button below, which will prompt you to sign in or sign up on Mogul before your Reply posts.


TabithaBritt
CEO & Founder of DO YOU ENDO

I'm a proud graduate of the Dub (The University of North Carolina Wilmington, UNCW) and the #WriterLife is all I know. I've written for Her Campus, CBS Local and Elite Daily (in addition to many other publications). I'm also a recent graduate of the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism MA [...]

Report this post
Report this post

Want your dream job or internship?

Join the women worldwide who discovered their next opportunity on Mogul.

Get My Dream Job Now

Moguls Interested in Career

Want your dream job or internship?

Join the women worldwide who discovered their next opportunity on Mogul.

Get My Dream Job Now

Trending Jobs

See All Jobs

Trending Marketplace

See All Marketplace