Ayurveda has so much potential…Like Yoga, Ayurveda needs to become a global phenomenon as well! – Arjun Vaidya, Founder at Dr. Vaidya’s.
Mr. Arjun Vaidya developed Dr. Vaidya’s, a biggest online Ayurveda brand in India. He is India’s first Ayurvedic to be featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia List and Business World 40 under 40 List. He is an active angel investor, venture capitalist, and mentor to brands in India’s start-up ecosystem. Arjun repackaged the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda for modern consumers and created India’s largest online Ayurveda brand Dr. Vaidya’s Arjun is an inspiring leader in the private equity, D2C, FMCG, and start-up ecosystem. He understands the value of creating a robust start-up ecosystem for billions of people and is ready to serve, solve and speculate to keep it growing. Outside work, he is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a Mentor at AIM, and a part of Brown University’s Young Alumni Advisory Council. He also runs a podcast.
Mr. Arjun Vaidya shares his entrepreneurial journey, his mission and success mantra with Business Upside India. Here is an edited excerpt of the interview.
Edited Excerpt of the Interview
Business Upside [BU]: What Inspired you to become a D2C Founder & Investor?
Arjun Vaidya [AV]: My family has been practicing Ayurveda for 150 years through six generations, hence the meaning of my last name, “Vaidya,” which translates to “Ayurvedic (traditional Indian herbal medicine) doctor.” I was brought up with Ayurvedic principles. My grandfather treated me with Ayurvedic medicine when I was a youngster, curing me of my asthma and adolescent bronchitis. It resonated with me, and I started to feel that it was my responsibility to use science and my legacy to benefit society. My urge to accomplish something “new-age” was seeded in my thoughts based on my family’s legacy.
I left my job at L Capital Asia (the private equity arm of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group) in 2016 to return and take on the family legacy after my grandfather passed away. Initially, the business was offline, and my wife and I took it online. It took time, but we soon achieved many milestones and became one of India’s first successful D2C exits. Passion for my family legacy fuelled my desire to become a D2C Founder, and then I realized the potential of D2C brands in the country and eventually became a D2C investor.
[BU]: How do you Mentor Brands in India’s Start-up Ecosystem?
[AV]: I chose to assist others because I felt it was my responsibility to support the D2C community, the ecommerce community. I didn’t have such help while I was building. I started helping entrepreneurs and listening to their worries and inquiries. It finally motivated me to create a podcast on the issue called Direct to a Billion Consumers. It has now become one of D2C’s most well-respected and listened-to podcasts. As the show gained popularity, I started providing funds to deserving founders. Within a year and a half, my investments reached 70 companies.
It encouraged me to think about investing professionally, and I got connected with Verlinvest. Verlinvest invests in the consumer sector through an evergreen structure located in Belgium. They back a number of well-known brands in India. After getting to know this fantastic group of people, I eventually took up a role in leading their new venture business in India, now called V3 Ventures.
[BU]: Share your Journey of Taking of Ayurveda and your Family Legacy Over the Last 150 Years.
[AV]: I was brought up according to Ayurvedic principles, as I already stated. My grandpa treated me with Ayurveda when I was young, healing me of my asthma and adolescent bronchitis. I kept thinking about this and started to feel that it was my responsibility to leave a scientific legacy and improve society. Due to my family background, I yearned to engage in “new-age” activities.
I left my job to dedicate myself to Ayurveda. We initially began offline, which, unfortunately, did not work out well for us. I had to look for an alternative path to achievement. Eventually, my wife suggested that I move this company online. Our website went live in November 2017 as she joined the business. We had no prior knowledge, so we had to learn everything about e-commerce from the start.
We brought this from zero to fifty daily orders in less than a year. It was a BIG DEAL at that time. We understood the potential and success of the business. We started expanding the business in 2019 and raised capital from the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group. Orders immediately grew from 50 to 5000 each day. More than 80 new SKUs were released, 16,000+ pin codes were fulfilled, 2 million customers were reached, and many more milestones were achieved. We successfully took Ayurveda online and, after all of this, created one of the first exits in the space.
[BU]: How Reliable do you Think Ayurveda is Right Now?
[AV]: Most people view Ayurveda as merely another herbal medication system to heal ailments. Ayurveda is far more than that, in my opinion. In fact, I now think that Ayurveda is Life. Its energy motivated me.
Ayurveda aims to keep a person’s health while controlling or curing disorders (of the mind, body, or both) that appear in a person.
With today’s fast-paced lifestyles, consumers have understood the need for wellness and health. I would say Ayurveda is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. We only need to understand the packaging in a new age format, which we practiced while building our company!
[BU]: Being an Ayurvedic Entrepreneur, what do you Think are the Opportunities we had with Ayurveda?
[AV]: Ayurveda has so much potential. We are still scratching the surface and still have a lot of research left to do in terms of clinical validation, but steps are already being taken in the right direction with the Ministry of AYUSH support, the next frontier in global markets. Like Yoga, Ayurveda needs to become a global phenomenon as well!
[BU]: What Challenges did you Confront while Starting your Entrepreneurial Journey, and how did you Overcome them?
[AV]: D2C businesses are very simple to launch because they require little upfront capital and few assets. However, starting out is only the beginning; everything depends on building consumer trust in the brand. Most of your initial sale occurs through your close friends and family. Thus it would be incorrect to believe that sales will increase steadily over time. It’s not a guarantee that after you reach the landmark of 10 orders, you’ll reach the first 1000 orders.
For many other businesspeople and me, the motivation behind our actions is inspiration. Because there will be many difficult periods in which we must be ready, my main goal was to continue my grandfather’s heritage. I put forth a lot of effort every day to live up to his expectations since I can still feel his presence even on my poor days.
[BU]: What do you Envision with your Ayurvedic Venture?
[AV]: I was fortunate to build an exciting business with Dr. Vaidya’s and pursue my passion. Now, in my second avatar, I am as excited to enable the next generation of consumer founders in India with V3 Ventures. We started recently and have already made exciting investments in companies like Kuku FM and Eka Care. Going forward, we will focus on investing USD 1-5m across the consumer landscape, i.e., brands, tech, platforms, and enablers.
[BU]: What Qualities Must a Prospective Businessman Possess to Succeed as an Entrepreneur?
[AV]: First of all, know that it’s not that easy. You may read and observe several success tales about business in the media. But what really follows is a tonne of toil, effort, and many restless nights.
A lot of failures are typically a part of a success narrative. People seldom ever talk about their challenging business situations. I’ll condense my recommendations into three simple steps.
- If you want to start your own business, be ready to fail and bounce back. Above all, be ready to face defeat.
- You can’t handle it by yourself. A team’s capacity for efficient and effective collaboration is unparalleled. Build a capable team that will be there for you at all times.
- The critical thing to remember is that you cannot work on your businesses part-time. It’s necessary to go all in or all out, and you must invest all you have into it if you want it to succeed.
[BU]: As a Young Entrepreneur, what would you Advise our Nation’s Youth?
[AV]: I would like to say a few things:
- Get up and get started because there is never a better moment than right now.
- It is one of the most exciting moments for the Indian start-up environment, so get to work.
- Make it happen; don’t stop; just keep going.
[BU]: What does “Success” mean to you?
[AV]: There is no one definition of success. Everyone has their own perception of what success is. Success, in my opinion, is contentment. Whatever you do, you must be happy with who you are and the quality of your job.
One mantra that I live by is, ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.’ It’s about having an innovative mindset and not settling for anything less than the best. You have to develop in order to go forward.
Linked URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arjunvaidya/
Company URL: http://www.drvaidyas.com/