Mumbai-based Inmart Commerce’s ayurveda wellness and lifestyle consumer brand Aadar has raised an undisclosed sum in a seed round from venture capital firm Sprout Venture Partners and investors from angel investment platform LetsVenture.
JITO’s (Jain International Trade Organization) angel network also participated in the round. This is the second round of investment at Aadar, which last raised an angel round from investors such as former VLCC CEO Syed Safawi in early 2018, co-founder and CEO Aadil Shah told TechCircle.
The fresh infusion, Shah said, will be used to strengthen the product and on brand marketing and hiring.
“Aadar aims to bring in transparency around its products to gain consumer trust. We aim to remain direct-to-consumer and predominantly digital in our distribution strategy. We will use the funds to strengthen our footprint and product portfolio,” Shah said.
Aadar claims to operate in the ‘ayurveda-inspired’ preventive healthcare space and its offerings include herb-based products to curb lifestyle ailments such as protein deficiencies, blood sugar, indigestion, cholesterol and obesity. It also plans to add daily supplements, sexual wellness and menstrual wellness to its portfolio.
“We have been actively looking at the ayurveda space... There is a change in consumer behavior (towards) preventive or natural remedies rather than cure-focused allopathic solutions, which we see (as the) driving growth in this market,” Sahil Gupta, partner, Sprout Venture Partners, said.
The idea of Aadar came to Shah when he was misdiagnosed with an ailment in 2017. Having overcome his illness thanks to naturally-derived remedies of ayurveda, Shah decided to connect his technology prowess to ayurveda.
“I felt that there are therapies, remedies or products in our own backyard, which are ancient and true to whatever the need of the hour is. It’s just that people are either not realising their value or it is not brought out in a manner that the modern consumer is ready to accept… We did a lot of market surveys and found that people in the 30-45 age group value the traditional (remedies), but they’re not clear about what and whom to trust,” Shah told TechCircle.
Shah was joined by fellow IIT-Bombay alumnus and former investment banker Pratul Mangal to make up the founding team at Aadar. Shah had earlier set up an ed-tech venture Manch, which was acquired by Toppr in 2016.
Offline to online
Shah spoke to TechCircle about the pilots his brand has been undertaking to understand its target market and generate customers.
“We aim to crack traditional distribution using technology. Currently, we’re a digital brand that sells on ecommerce platforms and our website. Going forward, we’re looking at the trend of consumers buying in bulk, which is an early sign of consumers indirectly subscribing to our products. We’re trying to put in place a subscription model,” Shah said.
There is a critical need to crack the offline retail business, he said.
“Just imagine a QR code hanging at a kirana store, which can be scanned to place an order and the customer gets the product delivered at home. The kirana store seller, who does not even stock my product, also gets a commission,” Shah said.
The brand, he claims, has touched base with about 18,000-20,000 customers, and on an average, transacts about 1,800-2,000 orders a month.