Young Prodigy Wins Big on Shark Tank India with Machine Design Skills from YouTube
A 20-year-old who learned machine design from YouTube wins an all-panel deal on Shark Tank India
13 February 2023
Mahantam is an early-stage startup that produces automatic tea glass washing machines with a capacity to wash 15 glasses in 30 seconds.
Dhaval, the 20-year-old co-founder, developed the machine by learning machine design on YouTube.
Dhaval and Jayesh, brothers, secured the second all-shark deal of the season by offering 20% equity for ₹30 lakh.
Season 2 of Shark Tank India has showcased innovative products with inspiring stories of creation, from motorized wheelchairs to portable pregnancy monitoring devices. The latest company to appear on the show, Mahantam, makes an automatic tea glass-washing machine for roadside stalls.
Mahantam, founded by brothers Dhaval and Jayesh Nai (20 and 22 respectively), is an early-age startup that has sold 3 machines and received inquiries from multiple vendors. The story of how Dhaval learned machine design from YouTube and created the first machine impressed all the sharks.
“After seeing your story, in every village, a child will say, I too want to invent and start a booming business,” said Anupam Mittal, founder of Shaadi.com.
Dhaval and Jayesh, who hail from the small village of Banaskantha in Gujarat, have taken different paths to entrepreneurship. Jayesh was always interested in starting a business, while Dhaval was inspired to build a machine for washing tea glasses at roadside stalls while pursuing his diploma.
Dhaval was a frequent customer at the nearby tea stall at his college, until he witnessed a goat drinking from the same tub used to clean the glasses. “One day I noticed the goat raised by the uncle (tea stall vendor) drink water from the same tub that had the glasses. I told uncle the goat was drinking water - he said to ignore it. I stopped drinking tea there,” shared Dhaval.
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Dhaval was inspired to bring change after he stopped drinking tea from a stall. Stuck at home during the Covid lockdown, he learned machine design on YouTube and honed his skills working at a hardware shop for free, using available scrap. Despite multiple failed prototypes, he continued to improve his design. However, he was eventually asked to discontinue his operations by the hardware store owner.
Dhaval, facing a lack of money and resources, sought guidance from his college professor and received ₹10,000 to work on the design. Although the machine was functional, it was not market-ready. However, after a friend uploaded a video of the machine on YouTube, Dhaval received interest and inquiries. Despite money constraints, he presented his prototype to other professors and gathered ₹1 lakh to further develop the product. He even gave away the first machine for free.
“From that ₹1 lakh we made five machines, and because I wanted to sell these, my brother joined me. We’ve already sold three machines - one in Karnataka, one in Tamil Nadu, and one in Maharashtra,” shared Dhaval.
Dhaval received a grant from DreamDeal.com, an initiative started by Mittal to support aspiring entrepreneurs. Participants made a short Instagram reel and pitched their business ideas, with selected winners receiving up to ₹1 lakh without giving up equity.
“Last year, I felt people had to work hard to even reach Shark Tank India. I thought about my own journey. All of us got a chance. There are so many people who have ideas but face only hurdles. If you can’t even make a business plan, how will you reach a VC (venture capitalist), raise money, or come on Shark Tank? So, I floated DreamDeal.com,” shared Mittal.
Dhaval used the grant money to upgrade the design and present the final version on the show. The machine, which can wash 15 tea glasses in 30 seconds using high-pressure water and has a capacity of 38 litres (able to wash 250 glasses according to the founders), is sold for ₹28,000 per unit to tea vendors. Dhaval also shared on the show that the machine's size can be adjusted for smaller tea stalls or compact areas.
Dhaval's dedication and determination impressed the judges, who are also investors, and they started a round of questions. Dhaval answered most of their questions, including the startup's vision, use of funds invested, and target market. The target market is vendors with a setup for heating tea and lighting a bulb. Mittal offered ₹30 lakh for a 20% equity stake, valuing the company at ₹1.5 crore and praised Dhaval's "innocence and diligence." Aman Gupta, co-founder of boAt, also joined Mittal's offer. The entire panel including Vineeta Singh, Namita Thapar, and Peyush Bansal also joined Mittal.
“With Anupam’s support, you reached here. With our support, there’s no limit to which your business can grow,” claimed Gupta.
This is the season’s second all-shark offer - which the founders accepted.