An Interview with Puru Gupta, Co-Founder at HealthyWorld.in

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[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Healthy World is a wellness solutions company and has the mission of making the world a healthier place. This consumer health based start-up is headquartered in Mumbai and has a gamut of products and services to offer to its customers. Their aim is to become the wellness partner of every family, providing not only products but also an array of healthcare services. They believe in providing the right information to their customers and help them in selecting the right product based on his/her individual needs and wants.

We recently interviewed Puru Gupta, the co-founder of this exciting start-up. Let’s listen to what he has to say about Healthy World.

What was the motivation behind Healthy World and what is the company all about?  

HealthyWorld is a Functional foods company, aiming to be the most trusted brand of health foods. It drives focus on healthier food, first by educating customers to compare and validate what they are eating (healthyworld.in) and then, driving consumption of nutritious food products. (own brand True Elements).

We also have our in-house food brand – True Elements.  It is a 5-month old brand, with a portfolio of more than 30 products across Breakfast cereals, Tea, Snacks and Health Supplements. It is an indigenous functional food brand, culled from parts of the country, building a combination of traditional health foods and innovative modern consumption, driving healthy diet for the urban masses.

HealthyWorld.in helps customers to identify and validate functional foods (Foods which have health benefits associated with them & also reduce the risk of diseases)) and buy them directly on one platform.

Even though wellness is still elusive to many, it is largely proliferating as a ‘want’ than a ‘need’. However, changing dynamics, including increased awareness, rising disposable incomes, and new government guidelines, have created consumer interest in the Functional foods space.  Many diseases are still in a preventable stage – and one can mitigate the impact or reduce the side effects with proper diet & nutrition.

This trend, coupled with the need for health solutions with demonstrated efficacy, has created surged demand for nutritious food products. Also, lack of a national brand in this space presents a huge opportunity.

Due to personal tragedies at home, my co-founder and I were motivated to get preventive healthcare at the forefront of consumer mind spaces. With this social mission of making wellness mainstream, we started HealthyWorld. After multiple iterations of hits and misses, we focused on the online platform, healthyworld.in, and launched our own brand, True Elements. The biggest driver of this was the lack of direct access and awareness of functional foods, along with a limited presence of genuinely healthy products. This led to the launch of True Elements in April 2015.

Our readers would like to know about your core team and their roles?

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I (Puru Gupta) am the co-founder of the company where I handle finance, marketing and technology in the company.  I completed my MBA in marketing from FMS Delhi & Engineering from Pune University and have more than a decade of experience in FMCG & IT. I was handling Grooming category for P&G before I quit to do something different! As of now, I also work as CEO of the firm! 🙂

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Sreejith Moolayil is the COO and the co-founder of the company. He handles operations. He completed his MBA from SIMS & Symbiosis University and has 11 years of experience in HR, Corporate wellness & Law. He was an Ex-HR Head at Cognizant Pune.

 

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Eashan Gupta manages True Elements as the Brand Head. He is an alumnus of XLRI and SRCC.

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Shahnawaz Alam is the Tech Architect at Healthy World and handles technology. He has a vast experience in handling the E-commerce platforms and mobile apps. And he also happens to be the co-founder of our IT subsidiary firm, WMS Solutions.

What is the current Team Size?

Currently, we have around 25 team members in HealthyWorld, and our IT firm, put together.

How did you hire your initial team?

Both, Sreejith and I, selected the initial employees with only one prerequisite. ‘Passion.’ Since we are quite cost conscious, our offices were not the most attractive reasons to join us. However, two attributes were our biggest attractions in our prospective team members – passion to do something, and ready to fail. When these two came together with someone, we were biased to get him/her on-board. One core element that has ensured that our team is aligned to the goal is that they are part of the idea. We hardly have employees in our team, most of them are colleagues & partners, who believe in what the firm stands for almost with the same intensity as both of us.  

Which recruiting channels work best for you?
Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing/Agencies?

Given our focus on getting the right fitment, we have seen referrals and social job boards working well for us.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

Two attributes continue to be the drivers of our hiring plans – if there is someone who has had a start-up (or wanted to build one) and acknowledges the gaps which did not move in the right direction, but still has a passion to ‘prove’ him/herself – both of us have a plus point on him. Obviously, domain knowledge cannot be undermined, but whatever maybe the experience level, it is imperative for us to see a passion for learning in the person.

How much do you think is the competition in your vertical and how big is the industry?

The Indian nutraceuticals industry is expected to grow up to USD 6.1 billion by 2019-2020, with key drivers being rising awareness about health and fitness, and changing lifestyle.  Nutraceuticals business is divided into functional foods & beverages (68%) and dietary supplements (32%). The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for us, therefore, is $4 Billion.

Who are your competitors and what are your views on them?

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. As a validation platform, we are the first in the country which gives us a competitive edge over others.

What are your marketing strategies and what role do social platforms play in that?  

We market our products through our websites, mailers, as well as our social media channels.  We are present on seven social media channels which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Currently, we use our website and mailers for direct sales and our social media pages for interacting with people who can be potential customers. We are currently exploring the effectiveness of our social media channels as each platform is unique and has its own advantages. Having said that, we like Twitter and Instagram the most as we can directly reach out to our customers.

To put it simplistically, as a combination of our products and our current demographics, we map the respective social channel for the best results – Instagram for experience, twitter for news, blogs for education and LinkedIn and Facebook for recall.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

Paid marketing channels work better when the products to be marketed are commoditized – like FMCG, Electronics or Apparel. For a category like ours, influencers play a more critical role than paid marketing channels.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website?

We are in a space where, apart from selling, there is a lot of consultation and education required. A lot of our effort goes into that. The challenge is that once the customer knows what is good for him, he might not necessarily buy it from you – it gets down to the best price offered that takes away the sale. We learnt it the hard way, and kept education and selling as two different measures, driving each of them in different ways, without diluting our focus.  

What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

Our current growth path takes us to our first milestone of 1Cr top-line – and this is net revenues, not GMV, just to clarify. In terms of GMV, we might be almost 1.5 times of this!

Based on your experience what advice would you give to new Entrepreneurs/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 – that’s how most of us have learnt 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 🙂

Given so much chaos around us, let’s assume we all have limited time on this planet. Don’t waste it by just thinking about what to do – just go ahead and do it! Even if you fall down initially, it’s fun coming up! 🙂

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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