Dr. Vaidya: Reinvigorating Indian medicine with Ayurveda

Dr. Vaidya’s is a new age Ayurvedic products company that aims to take 150 years of family legacy and a 5,000-year-old science to modern consumers. Using new-age packaging, branding,...
Startups reinvigorating Indian medicine with Ayurveda

Dr. Vaidya’s is a new age Ayurvedic products company that aims to take 150 years of family legacy and a 5,000-year-old science to modern consumers. Using new-age packaging, branding, product formats and communication, the brand aims to re-establish a connection between Ayurveda and modern consumers. The brand owns more than 100 FDA approved proprietary formulations and has launched very unique innovative products like Chakaash (Goodness of Chyawanprash in a Toffee), LIVitup (Ayurvedic Hangover Shield), etc. Today, it is one of India’s largest digital Ayurveda brands and the first Ayurvedic brand to be featured in the Forbes 30 U 30 List.




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Arjun Vaidyaand is the CEO of Dr. Vaidya’s: New Age Ayurveda. Prior to their entrepreneurial stint and graduated from Brown University, USA with a BA in International Relations and Economics. then he 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, he quit his job to take on his 150-year-old family legacy of Ayurvedic formulations that their grandfather left behind.  Outside of work, He 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.

On the co-founder, the story is very interesting because the ‘co-founder’ and current COO of this business is his wife, Trisha. One year into running the business, He realized that his head was in too many places and he wasn’t able to give any department or aspect of the business 100%. He needed help and he had no shame in going out and asking for it. They needed someone who would have as much commitment to the cause as he did and thus, the family made sense. Against much advice from friends and family, the moment we got engaged, Trisha joined the business. And, he must say the journey has been amazing. Here is a clear allocation of responsibility and so far it has added huge value to the business.

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Currently, their team is 40 members strong now. This includes their factory team in Silvassa and their head office team in Mumbai. Their company culture is all about ‘getting things done’ and adding the most value to their customers. Even at 10PM, there is no shame in the CEO of the company answering the phone and talking to a customer. The team itself is a great blend of experience (with team members from their grandfather’s time as well as youthful exuberance.

Ayurveda has not changed much but the world around it has changed substantially. India has changed and so has the modern Indian consumer.

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‘Vaidya’, his last name is the Sanskrit word for Ayurvedic physician and he comes from a family with more than 150 years of Ayurveda. Growing up in Mumbai though, that did not mean much to him. He grew up in the India of the 90s and early 2000s whereas consumers, they were obsessed with imported products. They were gifted Japanese electronic sharpeners and Chinese remote-controlled cars – anything Indian was perceived as the second tier. Even though his grandfather was one of India’s most renowned Ayurvedic physicians, rarely did he understand the importance of that science. He wouldn’t say that Ayurveda had lost its value, instead, he would say that among modern consumers it has lost a certain amount of appeal of popularity. Ayurveda was looked at as something that grandmother and grandfathers told them to use.

At the same time, Yoga was undergoing a renaissance. The West completely rebranded that ancient Indian creation. With yoga pants, yoga gyms and yoga mats, today Yoga became cool, sexy fun and aspirational to modern consumers. It became something you could relate to. Slowly, yoga had become a global phenomenon and just like that, become a USD 36b industry in the US. During that period, (the 90s and 2000s) the West underwent an organic revolution. Western consumers became tired of chemicals in daily consumption as they started understanding the negative effects of consuming what was artificial. Consumers began to grow more and more educated about what they were ingesting and going to Whole Foods wasn’t novel any longer – it became a way of life.

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He lived in the US in the 2000s (from 2009-2013) and saw all of that first hand. Then, he returned to India to post his education and started a career in private equity. He worked for the consumer sector investing arm of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group (L Capital Asia) and tracked how the Indian consumer evolved. While the assignment was challenging, fulfilling and gave him a very comfortable lifestyle, he was seeing something change. The consumer obsession with imported products that he grew up with was changing, as Indians began to grow proud of their country and heritage. Indians have now started to become happy to consume quintessentially Indian products. Urban India has also become much more conscious of health and fitness. The revolution that they saw ~15 years ago towards healthy living and healthy eating had started to hit Indian shores.

Given the change in lifestyle and the macroeconomic scenario of change in government, India is experiencing somewhat of an Ayurveda renaissance. Even though Ayurvedic products have become increasingly popular, the potential for science is still largely untapped. Urban consumers have very limited knowledge on science as compared to Indian citizens above the ages of 60. People above 60 would most likely know that Bhringraj is an important component of Ayurvedic hair oils but someone in their 20s will most likely have no clue.

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When his grandfather passed away in 2013, their family Ayurveda legacy needed to be carried forward. By mid-2015, He felt somewhat of a duty to take forward what was fundamentally in his blood (and his last name). What really moved him, was a meeting with an Ayurvedic doctor. He went to see specialist just to have a conversation and understand where the science was. The doctor was quite renowned in his area but seeing the conditions he worked in woke me up. This science that has so much legacy and tradition are fundamentally undervalued. Why does an Ayurvedic doctor with years of experience still work in a shabby clinic? These questions began a quest to search for more…

What he saw is that natural foods and cosmetics have got large scale adoption in India (and of course around the world). Ayurvedic medicine (the core of my family’s knowledge) still has some a lot of to make till it can be seen as a genuine alternative to allopathy and, this will only come with consumer education. Modern consumers need to be explained about the science in a form that is appealing and accessible to them. For some reason, a large number of Ayurvedic product brands are stuck in the past and without ‘talking’ to the new consumers it will be quite difficult to make Ayurveda a way of life.

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This is what led to the creation of Dr. Vaidya’s! At Dr. Vaidya’s, the vision has always been very clear. They believe that although Ayurvedic products are extremely effective, they are perceived as boring, old school and poorly packaged. These products do not have much of a connect with modern consumers. Thus, their aim is to take 150 years of family legacy and 5,000 years of science to 21st-century consumers. They use easy to understand packaging, brand and unique product formats to make Ayurveda appealing and accessible. Their brand has launched one-of-a-kind products like Chakaash – Goodness of Chyawanprash in a toffee, LIVitup – Ayurvedic Hangover Shield, Sung-Ho – Ayurvedic inhalant etc. that truly understand and simplify the needs of modern consumers. (You can check out our entire range on drvaidyas.com)



Currently, the business is online focussed. They realized that with limited resources, they had to be the best at what they do. Thus, contrary to popular belief they went the digital-first way instead of focussing on offline. They also needed to add genuine value to the customers and so, took what his great grandfather had instituted to the 21st century. He believed that no patient should be charged for a consultation i.e. to speak to an Ayurvedic doctor. Thus, they took this principle online and today have more than 1,000 customers a day reaching out to them for knowledge, issues and feedback on Ayurveda. They are also medium agnostic and thus, consumers can reach out to us via call, video call, Whatsapp, text message, FB, Instagram or email and they will have an Ayurvedic doctor reach chat with them on their most comfortable medium. Their customer is anyone across this country who wants access to good quality Ayurvedic care and products at the touch of a button. Thus, they have understood the need for convenience and accessibility and provide Ayurvedic care and consults across media i.e. FB, Instagram, Whatsapp, email, text, video call, etc.

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With this clear strategy, they have been able to excel and are currently one of India’s largest Ayurvedic products brands online doing more than 750 orders a day across their own website as well as 3P marketplaces like Amazon, Nykaa, Seniority, Snapdeal, Netmeds, 1mg, Medlife, etc.

Now that their online business has reached some scale, they will also be focussing on offline this year.

Come to experience Ayurveda – it has 5,000 years of legacy and some extremely effective formulations that can cure everything from a hangover to arthritis. All we need is an open mind and Ayurveda will do the rest!

They have just raised their Series a round of capital from RPSG (RP Sanjiv Goenka Group) in June of ~USD 5m or INR 35 Cr.

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Message from Dr. Vaidya’s…

Keep giving them feedback because their aim is to keep getting better and serving you better! They wany to make Ayurveda accessible to you and they’d be happy to improve their experience in whatever way they can!

 

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