Wellness Franchise Opportunities

Beauty and WellnessNov, 25 2015

Plans to expand in major overseas markets with localize content: CureJoy Founder

Headquartered in California, USA, wellness start-up CureJoy has its entire operations and development managed from Bengaluru in India since October 2013. WI Bureau spoke to its Founder & CEO, Dikshant Dave to learn more about the venture.

By Niharika Verma

The present conventional health system does not have answers to many prevailing health conditions and this leaves consumers with no other option, but to swallow pain killers and repress symptoms, which in turn leads to way larger issues in the long run.

There are our ancient and evolved disciplines like Yoga, Naturopathy and Ayurveda, which offer much better solutions to the ongoing lifestyle issues like diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma etc.

Taking this as a starting point, start-up duo Shrinivasa Sharma and Dikshant Dave conceptualized CureJoy, an online destination for natural health and wellness, where people can find fresh and credible content, answers to some of the common health questions and health advice from Experts.

“We began with certain experiments to see if people do really find something amiss in the current healthcare system, and if they are open to natural or alternative means. The experiments gave us deep insights about the existence of such unsatisfied groups of people, resulting in the formation of CureJoy, a content publishing and aggregation platform,” shared Dikshant Dave, Founder & CEO, CureJoy.

To learn more about the business DNA, strategies opted and funding details, WI Bureau, spoke to Dave in detail.

Elaborate on the DNA of your business?
CureJoy was incorporated in October 2013 and is headquartered in California, USA with its entire operations and development managed from Bengaluru.
    CureJoy is a buzzing community and an online destination for natural health and wellness, where people can find fresh and credible content, answers to some of the common health questions and health advice from Experts. Most of the content is based on the present day needs of quick consumption anywhere – anytime. For Natural and Alternative Health Experts, it is a platform to reach out to the relevant users, who are looking for genuine help and advice from them.

Is it a bootstrapped venture or you raised funds from the market?
We officially incorporated at the end of 2013 and were able to raise a seed round early 2014. Post that, we raised another round in early 2015. However, before starting officially, my co-founder Srini and I’ve spent close to 6 months researching the market, testing, studying and validating certain hypotheses we have had.

Elaborate on the funding details and your fund utilization plans.
We’ve recently secured $1.15M funding in Pre-Series A round, led by Accel Partners, India. Serial entrepreneurs Subrata Mitra, Larry Braitman, Founder of Flycast & Adify, Venk Krishnan, Founder and CEO of Nuware Technologies and others participated in the pre series A round of funding. 
The company will use these funds to further expand their services in India and other countries and strengthen its team to compliment their capabilities. We also plan to launch certain specialized sub-verticals like Beauty, Nutrition, etc.

Do the investors offer you other resources required to set up a venture? Do they hold any percentage of stakes in your venture?
Accel Partners are our lead investors and we have been fortunate to have access to its talented, far-sighted and super supportive team.
   While the companies are lead by its founders and the core team, external stakeholders also do play a significant role in shaping the company by providing networking, industry access, human capital assistance, etc.

With growing rage of eWellness in India, do you think start-ups like you may bring a major change in the whole ecosystem of the health and wellness industry?
When we started couple of years back, our primary belief was that, the existing healthcare system is going to change drastically and that has only strengthened. In fact, we’ve started witnessing the changes in the industry. People are willing to explore alternative medical disciplines and other non-conventional therapies. Today’s generation has again started focusing on the preventative means of health rather than the symptomatic cure. We at CureJoy are trying to educate the end users with the options that they have with respect to their healthcare. Provide them the credible information and access to experts in the domain. We hope that people embrace an integrative approach where we take up a method/therapy that is best suited for the problem at hand, be it Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, Naturopathy, etc.

Wellness industry is highly unorganized. Do you think online retail will help the category bring a justified procedure on place?
I think the biggest need of Indian Wellness Industry, or even global space, is credibility. It has become unorganized do to the lack of right regulations and checks. All this has hampered the overall brand perception when it comes to Natural Health and Wellness. Online retail or any player in this domain primarily needs to keep authenticity and credibility as the top most focus of their business. That’s the real problem and winning companies will try and solve them.

How are you going to strategize your marketing policy in order to gain competitive edge in this category?
The space we are operating in is very niche and we have specifically carved out a unique position for ourselves here. We have taken the non-conventional healthcare and wellness onto the newer social media platforms and built an audience around it. Traditionally, this information and communities have existed in small pockets or silos in the form of a celebrity expert websites like Deepak Chopra or Andrew Weil. An unbiased and neutral opinion on the knowledge and expert information has been missing from this domain. There is no single or even top few destinations when it comes to this domain. We are striving to build that layer and become the trusted and credible source when it comes to Natural Health and Wellness.

There is EverydayHealth.com which is a listed company and has similar target focus like us. Many media houses are starting to focus on Natural Health, Buzzfeed and Yahoo, have been at this for few years now. Other than that, there are some boutique businesses trying to focus on specific regions.

Elaborate on your revenue model? Are you in-terms of revenue sharing with any online or wellness Retail Company?
We are primarily an information destination. At this point, we do some bit of unbiased advertising. Presently, we do not have any revenue sharing tie-ups. In future, we may start providing a closer access to the experts, who may be paid or free depending upon the expert.

What is the biggest challenge of establishing presence in eWellness space? How do you overcome these challenges?
Startups are a hard thing. There are multiple factors that can affect your growth or even survival. We had our share of ups and downs as well. The initial parts of identifying the End user needs and the gauging the overall market were not easy. We had a series of experiments and analysis to navigate through all the noise and clutter to finally arrive at the shape of product we want to offer. While, we did cross that stage, the battle for a startup is a continuous one and that is by design. We continuously try to beat the status quo and go beyond or challenge the norm. We have been fairly successful so far and I am hoping to continue that for future as well.

Please through some light on your geographical presence?
CureJoy was incorporated in October 2013 and is headquartered in California, USA with its entire operations and development managed from Bangalore. We will soon be expanding geographically into countries like UK, Canada, Spain, Germany and Australia. We may also be localizing our content to multiple languages. Apart from this we are also moving into adjacent verticals such as Food, Beauty, Parenting etc.

Are you in the process of scaling your venture? Which are the areas you are focusing on for technical upgradation?
We are a technology driven company at heart. We rely on a lot of cutting edge technology to curate and deliver the content to end users. Going forward we will continue to invest significantly on technology, especially the Personalizaton aspects of content and reach. We already have a sizeable Data Science team looking into the metrics and content relevancy aspect of our products.
    Other than this, we are looking at geographic expansion into European countries like Spain, UK, Germany and Italy. Along with that we are also going to be launching niche sub categories like Beauty, Nutrition, Fitness, etc. 

What are your future plans?
As mentioned earlier, we plan to expand into other countries like UK, Canada, Spain, Germany and Australia. We may also be localizing our content to multiple languages.
   Apart from this we are also moving into adjacent verticals such as Food, Beauty, Parenting etc. We have seen a high demand for some of these categories and we think we can best cater to this growing demand by providing a dedicated destination and communities for those categories. Of course, Mobile remains our key area of Focus and growth for coming quarters.

What are your views over gradually picking up eCommerce in Wellness space? Does it bring lucrative opportunities for health and wellness professionals? How, please elaborate.
Ecommerce is touching every aspect of our lives today and will continue to do so. We will see newer categories coming in as users start getting comfortable with the virtual transactions and touch-feel issues. However as I mentioned earlier, that for the wellness domain, the credibility is going to be the significant issue and the best commerce companies will address them in the most effective manner possible.
    On the services side, we are seeing a big change as well. We are seeing that not only the appointments have moved to digital, but even the entire consulting sessions are conducted online. This is also beginning to change the way these professionals operate. It has providing lot more options for these experts in reaching out and of course the end users are benefiting the most.

Any tips to aspiring tech start-ups in health& wellness space?
This space is huge and literally a revolution is needed in every aspect of it but that doesn’t mean that all the problems will be solved by a single company. For newer companies, they should identify the problem they are looking to solve, give it their best shot and come up with a solution that can be applied at scale.

Related: Purplle.com to bring best salon experience in Delhi soon, says Brand CEO

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