Dr. Vaidya’s is a new age Ayurvedic products business founded by a family with 150 years of Ayurvedic heritage. Over the last 150 years, Vaidya family members have passed down formulations from generation to generation and treated thousands of patients in the process. Today, the company owns 100+ FDA approved formulations for Ayurvedic proprietary medicine all manufactured in-house in their ISO 9001:2015 approved, GMP certified factory in Silvassa (250 km from Mumbai) that has also recently been US FDA Approved.
About the founders
Arjun Vaidya is the CEO at Dr. Vaidya’s: New Age Ayurveda. Prior to his entrepreneurial stint, Arjun graduated from Brown University, USA with a BA in International Relations and Economics. He then worked in private equity at a consumer sector focused fund, L Capital Asia (the private equity arm of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group). In October 2016, Arjun quit his job to take on his 150-year-old family legacy of Ayurvedic formulations that his grandfather left behind. Dr. Vaidya’s aims to take the traditional science of Ayurveda to the 21st century by using innovative packaging, branding and new formats of products. The brand has launched unique products like HERBOfit (Goodness of Chyawanprash in a Capsule), LIVitup (Hangover Shield and Ayurvedic Liver Protector) & Chakaash (Goodness of Chyawanprash in a toffee). Outside of work, Arjun is an advisor to football focused NGO, Just for Kicks, is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a Mentor at the Atal Innovation Mission. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Arjun Vaidya:.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old science that has huge application and relevance today. Unfortunately, like many traditional things, our science has not evolved to appeal to modern consumers. The perception of Ayurveda is old style, poorly packaged and something that does not connect. This is what we set out to change at Dr. Vaidya’s. We have created an Ayurvedic products brand that serves as a “gateway”. It makes our age-old science appealing and accessible to modern consumers. The problem is huge and the potential with our science is even bigger both in India and globally. We are currently only scratching the surface in terms of what can be achieved.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: Initially we started with just 2 products i.e. Herbofit and LIVitup. These were products that completely embodied our message of “New Age Ayurveda”. Herbofit reimagines the bitter, sticky Chyawanprash in a new age, convenient multi vitaminzed format of a capsule. On the other hand, LIVitup is an Ayurvedic hangover shield that ensures that one can party but still wake up hangover free. Both these products talked to a new consumer and repackaged Ayurveda into a new format. Using disruptive marketing and branding, the products gained strong traction between October 2016-November 2017. Finally, our brand repackaged our entire range and today boasts more than 70 different SKUs all repackaged to appeal to a modern consumer.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: Our USP is:
• 150 years of legacy
• All proprietary i.e. unique formulations
• Strong in house manufacturing
• Clear appeal to the 21st century consumer base
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: Currently family funded but in the process of raising series A round.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learnings that you have?
Ans: Our ideal customer is one that wants to consume Ayurvedic products but is not able to connect with the science. This is a big gap that we are trying to bridge. Creating innovative products like Chakaash – Goodness of Chyawanprash in a toffee truly bridges this gap.
From excel sheets, the assumption was that this is a low value, high volume business. Thus, the scope is offline and not online. We learnt very quickly though that there is a huge white space online if things are done innovatively. Today, >70% of Dr. Vaidya’s business actually comes from online and we can truly say that we are a Pan India brand.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Ans: Believing that business is done on excel sheets and email because that was what I used to do in my investing days. Business is done with hustle and I learnt this very quickly.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? Explain your thought process.
Ans: Our brand is mass premium. We are a new age Ayurvedic products brand appealing to the new age Indian consumer. The idea is to get access to high quality products to as many consumers as we can reach.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: I was our first customer. I suffered from hyperacidity after coming back from the US and used our products to get over this issue. Now, for every product our first customer is always at home or in the office.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: drvaidyas.com is a huge success story according to me. While most consumer brands focus on third party marketplaces, our focus was always to build our own platform too. This is a harder, more expensive and time consuming game but in the end yields a lot of value. I remember in November 2017, we used to barely get 1-2 orders per day. Today, I can safely say that our website is the point place for people to learn more about Ayurveda. We solve more than 1000 consumer queries/day via calls, Whatsapp, message, chat, email etc. and also fulfill >250 orders on a daily basis. This is truly an example of us thinking out of the box when it came to our brand and, today we own this entire customer journey.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: To be THE Ayurvedic products company that takes our science to modern consumers both in India and around the world.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
Ans: The business started in October 2016 with 4 full time employees. Today, we have more than 35 members in our team. Currently, the business is at a USD 1m run rate and growing strongly at 25% month on month.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: The market is very exciting and has got a renewed interest and buzz associated with it. It is like Ayurveda is going through a renaissance and Dr. Vaidya’s is energized to be an important part of this new phase. We are different because we clearly understand the problems modern consumers face and are uniquely positioned to solve these Ayurvedically.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
Ans: Sure. They are:
• Trisha Rajani – COO – Ex Goldman Sachs and Nykaa
• Irfan Syed – Digital Marketing Manager – 8 years of digital experience in India and the UK
• Palash Bhawsar – Tech Lead – More than 4 years of e-commerce focused experience
• Varshik Hemani – R & D and Production Lead – 6 years of experience in pharmacovigilance and product development
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: There are hundreds of Ayurvedic manufacturers around this country. We see our product as differentiated and understand our consumer deeply. Having said that, our aspiration or goal is to be a brand like Himalaya with presence in >80 countries.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: To grow at the way we are growing and delight as many customers as we can. We have already engaged with 500k+ customers and the next goal is to take this to 1m.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: Hustle, hustle and hustle. There is no shortcut to this at all.
Thanks Arjun. Best wishes!