Growing over 30 times in less than 15 months, Mumbai-based HealthyWorld.in which was fetching about Rs.3- 4 Lakh monthly from online trade is on the process to reach Rs 1 Crore top line monthly by Mar’16. WI Bureau finds out, what made it grow fast.
Mumbai-based HW Wellness Solutions Pvt Ltd has initiated to transform the ailing health of Indian consumers by developing a wellness solution platform - HealthyWorld.in. Brainchild of Puru Gupta and Sreejith Moolayil, HealthyWorld.in provides products and services that are healthier alternatives to the current lifestyle of a consumer.
The start-up duo have also started their one private label called ‘True Elements’, which has more than 30 health products, available on HealthyWorld.in and other eCommerce channels like Amazon, Paytm, Healthkart, Shopclues, Askmebazaar, eBay and Bigbasket.
The online healthcare products store has bagged $200K (about Rs 1.23 crore) from a group of investors, including a digital media serial entrepreneur, surgeon and an NRI in seed funding for marketing and offline integration.
The company was founded in May 2011; HealthyWorld.in claims to sell over 4,000 products spanning lifestyle issues, nutrients and healthy diet options. It has tied-up with 200 dieticians and nutritionists.
In an exclusive conversation with WI Bureau, Puru Gupta, Founder, HealthWorld.in disclosed the business insight of his venture.
DNA of HealthyWorld.in
Sreejith, Co-Founder of Healthy World, and I wanted to work on consumer health, and due to personal tragedies at home, we were motivated to get diagnosis and preventive healthcare at the forefront of consumer mind spaces. With this social mission of making wellness mainstream, we started Healthy World. We launched in Delhi and began with distribution with the intent of owning the entire supply chain of health products, but realized very soon that our strength was in building customer relationships. This led to launch of our E-commerce platform HealthyWorld.in. We started searching for brands that were genuinely unique and had a key health benefit, and built a supply chain. As we moved forward, we realized the need of an honest & genuine health brand, which led to the launch of True Elements in April 2015.
Well funded venture
We had raised $150k in January 2015 from key individual investors. Currently, we are in the process of raising next round of $3 million and are in conversation discussions with investors who had shown interest before. If there is anyone who wants to be associated with Health, and believes that apart from growth in this space, they are confident that what we are doing is genuinely going to make a difference, we would love to be associated with them.
When we’ve raised seed fund, we were fetching around Rs. 3-4 Lakh monthly from eCommerce. And now we are on our way to reach Rs 1 Crore top line by Mar’16, growing over 30 times in less than 15 months. We are also in the process of raising Series A in the next few months. A large part of this fund will be used for building the brand, and scaling up our operations across the country.
Yes - technically, they would not be investors if they did not hold a stake right? While we get intermittent feedback from Deepak and Dr. Sipani, we were fortunate to have a mentor, Krishna, who is a multi-talented expert in almost everything, but mostly scaling up ventures, and getting them up to speed. We always bounced off our ideas with him - he has been instrumental in channelizing our energies into key focus areas, even during low points when we almost gave up - and kept asking us to build operational efficiencies. Subsequently, he became an investor in HW as well - the biggest testimony to our effort.
eWellness to bring major change
Yes, we think that preventive health care is still not a part of the Indian culture yet, though it's very popular in the west. We are trying our best to, not only identify potential health hazards due to poor lifestyle, but also provide solutions so that people can lead a healthy lifestyle. When we started a year back, there were a lot of players in the “problem identification” space. Over the past few months, there is a focus on “providing solutions” as well - which is going to be critical for any start-ups in this space.
Organising the unorganised
While it might sound simplistic, but even online retail is moving forward with specialized players driving key focus areas for themselves. You have logistics specialists, tech specialists and then, marketing specialists - going forward, the respective offline and online elements would get integrated to bring in efficiency in their respective areas, as well as improve the efficacy of their models by driving omni-channel presence. The key driver would eventually be to capture a higher consumer mind space.
In the health consumer space, the current functional food brands are our competitors. Private labels of Health e-commerce companies are also, in a way, our competition.
We drive True Elements across almost all online retail stores as well as offline stores in Mumbai and Pune- it is run like any other Brand.
While foods and Pharma are gradually merging, there is still a fine line of difference in the manner in which these two are consumed. Functional foods, the category where we operate, falls in the middle of these two - so while some of us might term it as ‘best of both worlds’, we also grapple with the ‘worst of both worlds’ as well. On a serious note, the efficacy of the functional foods and quality control are the biggest challenges. In case of Healthy World, we have a panel that approves these solutions, and have an in-house team that is dedicated to driving quality in our products.
We service to our customers PAN India. Currently, our offices are present in Mumbai and Pune, and we cover retail markets in these geographies as well.
We run on a cost-plus pricing model, but are also conscious of market drivers. Based on the pricing and quality, we position our products either in the mass market space or the premium segment. Given our focus on quality, however, there is a premium put on our products. We strongly believe that customers, who are confident of the efficacy, and quality of the product, would be ready to pay the true price of products, instead of going for cheaper, but lower-quality, alternatives. Having said that, as we backward integrate our supply chain, our costs would also go down, which we continue to pass to our customers.
Scaling the venture
Yes, as mentioned, we are moving towards our first milestone of Rs1 Cr top line, and this is net revenues, not gross merchandise volume (GMV), just to clarify. In terms of GMV, we might be almost 1.5 times of this. For upgrading our technology, we are focusing on the mobile and analytics space, and believe that this would be instrumental in driving growth in the next 18 months for us.
We are in the process of building tech-based validation platform for customers, which should be out in the next couple of months. Due to the nature of the effort, I won’t be able to share more details, but am confident that it would be one of the biggest value additions to the customers, and disrupt the industry in more than a few ways.
Views over eCommerce in Wellness
As I said earlier, there is a need of specialists in this domain. Simply stacking up products and selling them online might no longer be a killer strategy. For that, you are probably, 5-7 late now! However, for specialists there is still scope for building efficiency, freshness and scalability.
There is scope for domain experts for sure, as they would play a critical role in defining boundaries and qualifying, what we call, ‘efficacy’.
Tips to aspiring wellness start-ups
If you have a dream, you have to get up to figure out how to chase it - don’t sleep again waiting for a sequel of the dream to tell you how to go about it. Don’t be scared of failing, as, that’s how most of us have learned right from our childhood, when we fall down or get hurt, then we decide NOT to do those things. It's funny that we get conscious of failures when we grow up.