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Ayurveda has a good brand recall in India

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AyuRythm is one amongst the other five startup companies who were selected for HCG-Anthill’s Lumos programme. Its objective is to bring Ayurveda to mainstream and design wellness solutions that offer post operative care, disease management and more. Ramanath Padmanabhan, Co-Founder and Director AyuRythm talks in detail with Usha Sharma

Tell us about your company and it focus area in healthcare?

Our tag line is ‘Personalised Holistic Wellness’ which is also integrative (which means western medicine combined with traditional medicine for better patient outcomes). Our initial focus will be on holistic wellness solutions using Ayurvedic principles targeting early adopters (believers), active wellness seekers as well as beginners who want to initiate Ayurveda as a way of life. In future, we see our wellness solution to be integrated into mainstream post operative care, disease management and preventive wellness solutions.

Tell us about your key innovations/products/ services and its USP?

Consumers have moved beyond physical fitness and are looking for holistic wellness solutions. Any wellness solution involves assess, analyse and recommend work flow. Such personal wellness tools for physical wellness are well developed (apple watch, fitbit and other solutions). However, no such tool exists for holistic wellness. In fact, assessment tools for ayurvedic holistic wellness using pulse and image diagnostic methods to make such analysis repeatable and scalable is one of our key innovations. We combine pulse and image diagnostics with prakruthi questionnaire to assess aperson’s constitution and recommend better lifestyle. Our solution recommends step by step simple lifestyle methods to achieve holistic wellness goals.

Additionally, today, consumers are looking for naturally healthy products and food supplements, rejuvenation and alternate relaxation therapy experiences. Hence, it is our goal to become a one stop solution for such consumers by connecting with a larger ecosystem personalised to their taste. For beginners interested in ayurvedic holistic lifestyle, we want to be the first place for them to look for authentic and scientifically validated information. Lastly, we see our solution working with all types of personal devices from entry level smartphones to high end smartphones and smart watches. Hence, our solution is accessible and used by all.

What are the biggest opportunities and obstacles you see for your innovation in the Indian healthcare scenario?

Ayurveda has a good brand recall in India. Latest market report by PwC says that 78 per cent of Indian household uses at least one ayurveda product. Current Indian market is at $12 billion, growing at 16 per cent CAGR. The market is fragmented largely barring large FMCG players like Patanjali, Dabur or Unilever. There is propensity of consumers to spend top dollars for spa, wellness and naturopathy treatment services. In terms of consumers, holistic wellness is an often searched key word on Google. People are looking online for tools which can measure their current state vs ideal state using scientifically validated methods and give them step by step recommendations. This is a need gap and a huge opportunity that AyuRythm sees and I want to carve a niche for itself in. In healthcare, talent is a huge issue. Getting talent who understand ayurveda and technology is an additional challenge. Clinical validation comes next. In general early stage funding in healthcare is quite hard and it is even more harder to get funded on technologies that require clinical validation. However we have been fortunate to receive a lot of interest from investors from India and abroad. Research grants are possible, but this is largely done by the state and union government. However, it is not possible for accredited startups to directly apply for research grants. Working with academic institution is an option but academic research may be aligned to startups interest to scale fast. Last, but not the least, many investors do not understand healthcare space and there is dearth of funding at early stages.

Your company is part of HCG-Anthill Lumos programme, tell us about your expectations and how this programme will help you to achieve your objective?

To us HCG-Anthill Lumos programme is a match made in heaven. Lumos is one-of-a-kind programme which totally focusses on healthcare space and brings in business, market, technology, clinical and regulatory support under one roof. Graduating from this programme will help us to scale with speed. HCG’s clinical research capability and good clinical research management practices are well recognised in the industry and trusted by over 2000 customers world wide including world’s premier research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies. In addition, HCG has a dedicated Ayurveda department and has a vision to integrate traditional medicine with western medicine for better patient outcomes. Working with HCG to validate and fine tune our technology will help us to scale with speed in future. In addition, HCG services more than 70,000 new patients annually which will be a market opportunity for us once validation is successful.

Anthill has connects with larger world wide ecosystems consisting of VC/angel investors who have deep interests in the healthcare space. Anthill has also business connects with FMCG, pharma and holistic wellness ecosystem which would help us convert our product into better business opportunity quickly.

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