Originally from Thailand, Panucha Chatasingha moved to Dubai when he was nine years old where he attended international school. At 13, he then moved to Sydney until he finally moved back to Thailand for university, studying a Bachelors in Engineering.
After working for a couple of years, he decided to move to Germany to study a Master in Management (MIM) at ESMT Berlin as the German capital is considered a start-up hub in Europe. Also, as he had already lived in Asia, Oceania, and Middle East, he wanted to tick Europe off the list.
Through his MIM at ESMT Berlin, Panucha was able to participate in the Social Impact Project (SIP), an aspect of the course that allows students to work with a social impact organisation, usually in Africa or South America, to use the skills learnt on their course in a real-world setting. Panucha chose to work with Antler, an early-stage global venture capital firm. Antler invests in early entrepreneurs and businesses to help them get going, and the project Panucha worked with through Antler was called TryCooked in Kenya, allowing Panucha to add another continent to his list: Africa.
TryCooked are a meal-kit company, providing customers with pre-prepared ingredients and
recipes, while also attempting to reduce food waste and increase income for those in Kenya.
“The SIP experience was incredible. It is still hard for me to fathom that this experience was
a part of university’s curriculum,” says Panucha. “If I told myself in the past that I would be going to Africa for a month to work for a multi-brand cloud kitchen start-up under the portfolio of a world-renowned venture capitalist firm, I would have thought that this an utter fantasy.”
Panucha and his team were split into two; three people remained in Berlin while two
headed to Nairobi. The main role of the Nairobi team was to learn about the business as
much as possible on sight and report findings to the team back in Berlin. Being on sight
meant that they were able to meet with the CEO and CMO of the company and have long
and insightful discussions about the company and the direction that they want to head in.
As a relatively new startup, TryCooked wanted Panucha and his team of peers to conduct
formal market research to explore potential opportunities to branch out to neighboring
countries including Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria.
They also asked them to advise on the most
optimal entry strategy for each market.
Speaking on his particular contribution to the project, Panucha explains, “Coming from
Business Analytics, I was very excited to handle the quantitative analysis aspects of the
project. The main element of the market research was to conduct a survey in order to gain
insights into customer preference for food as well as to ensure that there is enough demand. Knowing the requirements, I started to look at tools that the team can use to obtain this sort of data. Google Marketing platform had a survey service where a guaranteed number of respondents from a targeted population in each country. I took
charge of learning and understanding how to use the tool and brainstormed together with
the team on what questions to ask to gain the insights that we wanted.”
A major aspect of the SIP, is that it allows the students to utilise the skills and knowledge
they have learnt from their studies. Another part of Panucha and the team’s analysis involved unit economics; an analysis of the cost structure of the product to assess its feasibility of entering a new market. “The highlight for this analysis was being able to use knowledge I’d recently learnt during the risk modeling and predictive analytics courses at
ESMT and apply it in a real case to create value for an organization,” says Panucha.
“We created a financial model on excel that can forecast the units of product that need to be sold per day in order to be profitable, as well as a sensitivity analysis to assess which variable of costs has the biggest impact on profitability.”
With the feasibility analysis, TryCooked now have a rough estimate of the volume of product that they need to convert if they want to enter a new market, which was extremely insightful for them and their future.
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