Assam firm links up with NRL iDEATION to innovate 'mood foods'

Pankhi Sarma

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Guwahati: At a time when mental fatigue and burnout plague individuals worldwide, THOLUA Pratisthan Pvt Ltd (TPPL India), a biotechnology startup from Guwahati, enters into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) iDEATION grant scheme to develop 'Mood Foods'—bioactive quick pops to help fight brain fog.

"This partnership heralds a promising collaboration aimed at revolutionizing the way we combat brain fog and reclaim mental clarity," Trailukya Dutta, the founder of THOLUA, said. "The prevalence of conditions like brain fog and burnout has become a global concern, affecting productivity and quality of life."

The project, known as 'Mood Food', aims to alleviate brain fog among consumers through the production of Black Garlic-based quick pops. "The grant will help the startup infuse funds for the production and marketing of the aged black garlic-based mood food under the brand Tummum," Dutta added.

The MoU will also open doors for TPPL India to access NRL's iDEATION Angel Fund and benefit from mentorship and networking opportunities provided by NRL as an incubatee, Dutta said, adding that the grant has no equity share in the organisation.

TPPL India specializes in the value chain of aged black garlic, and its Mood Food has garnered recognition, winning an award at Guwahati Biotech Park's Talent Search Competition in 2023.

Interacting with Business Northeast, Dutta emphasized the aim to alleviate psychosomatic stress from people's lives through food and pharmaceutical interventions. The startup's food division is renowned for its black garlic product, while its recent venture into Mood Food aims to cater to the cognitive well-being of consumers with micronutrient-rich options like Mood Food - Gooseberry, available in various flavors.

TPPL India's efforts have led to notable growth in sales figures, with international interest increasing. "The startup has impacted around 2,000 lives with better income opportunities, achieving a cumulative turnover of approximately Rs 1.2 crore over the last three financial years,"  Dutta said. According to the entrepreneur, TPPL India has sold approximately 3 metric tons of black garlic.

Dutta added that the brand is also seeking further investment to scale up its operations with an investment of around Rs 3.5 crore In the current financial year, he said, "This year we are aiming to close at Rs 46 lakhs. Looking ahead, we are aiming to expand our products in a few of the metro cities of India."

The 'NRL Ideation' scheme, aimed at providing monetary grants to startups in India, focuses on thematic segments. It also aims to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region by supporting innovative ideas. With a fund size of Rs 10 crore or more, NRL plans to invest in selected startups primarily from the Northeast region. Since its inception in 2017, the program has funded over 30 startups and created more than 900 direct and 5,000 indirect employment opportunities in the region, according to official sources.




Pankhi Sarma