Ayurveda wellness at your fingertips! From pulse diagnosis to computing & correlating vital signs to Ayurvedic biomarkers to calculating individual holistic wellness index to lifestyle recommendations on any smartphone with app AyuRythm. Why did three people from diverse backgrounds come together to create an Ayurveda-based app? How are their offerings unique? What challenges do they face in this space? How are they overcoming them? Read on.
Meet the Founding Team
- Abhilesh Gupta, Chief Executive Officer
- Ramanath Padmanabhan, Chief Product Officer
- Sandeep Acharya, Chief Operating Officer
Abhilesh, an aeronautical engineer, is a sales and marketing leader with years of experience in the apparel/manufacturing industry and is an avid user of health gadgets. Ramanath is a business strategist and a product management expert. An IIMB, IITB alumnus, he has been an executive at Intel and GE Medical Systems. Sandeep is a data analytics specialist with exposure to the medical device and finance industries. He is a computer engineer with a Finance MBA.
Read their journey.
Building an Ayurveda Based Wellness App
Our story goes back many years – the three of us have been friends and neighbors for 15+ years. We share common sporting interests such as running, cricket and golf. During these pursuits, we noticed that while a lot of people hated calorie-counting and bodybuilding, they still aspired to look good and stay well.
We discussed, deliberated and decided to address this gap with a solution that was not only sustainable but was also always available to the users. And by the end of 2017, we zeroed in on Ayurveda for these reasons:
- Well-developed holistic wellness methods based on simple dos and don’ts
- No extensive logging of food and calorie intake required
The existing method was manual and therefore was neither scalable nor adoptable.
To us, the idea became clear – an end-to-end experience for the common user:
- Digitize the entire process of wellness index measurements
- Integrate with a recommendation engine
- Publish compelling wellness advisory content
Thus was born AyuRythm, a digital platform for personalized holistic wellness based on Ayurvedic health assessment principles.
Launched on August 15th 2020, AyuRythm has been downloaded by 60,000+ users across 115 countries. The app is available both in English and Hindi.
How It Works
AyuRythm’s patent-pending technology and approval from leading Ayurvedic doctors make our solution a one-stop for all wellness needs. It assesses the user’s ideal and current body type based on a one-time response to 30 questions. And a daily 30-second pulse diagnostic test using finger photoplethysmography via the smartphone camera.
The user’s holistic wellness index is calculated by computing 7 vital signs – heart rate, rhythm, systolic BP, diastolic BP, pulse pressure, arterial stiffness, and pulse morphology – from the signal and correlating them to Ayurvedic biomarkers.
Based on the results, the application makes personalized recommendations for yoga, pranayama, food, herbs. Users have a choice to purchase products and services from the integrated marketplace to further their wellness goals. The app also offers exclusive Training Programs with Wellness Experts!
Not just that, the AyuRythm library comes loaded with 1800+ Home Remedies.
The Ayurveda Market
The Ayurveda industry along with the allied industries like yoga is on the cusp of high growth and change. It is projected to be about $15 Billion by 2022 and growing at 16% CAGR approximately, as per the PWC report – the product market is $11 Billion and the services market is around $4 Billion. Post pandemic, these estimates are bound to overshoot.
- Ayurveda Believers: About 5 million users in the 25+ age group, who typically believe in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic wellness is their first choice. They are already into the Ayurvedic lifestyle and buy Ayurvedic products and services.
- Ayurveda Active: About 25-30 million consumers, who are looking for natural solutions that are backed by evidence of effectiveness. This consumer segment is not only willing to spend but is also looking for Ayurvedic or natural experience. This segment seeks authentic information for making purchase decisions.
Current Channels to Acquire Customers
- Cross-promotion activities with product partners – Dr. Vaidya’s, Herbal Hills and more in the pipeline
- Publish content on the Jio HealthHub platform for brand building and organic traffic
- Performance marketing: PlayStore optimization, Google ads, SEO, Social Media
- One-of-a-kind Reward System
We monetize through commissions from product, service and content marketplace, in a simplified and modern manner.
- Maintain low expenditure while finding product-market fit. To achieve this, we constantly talk to consumers and prioritize & fix product challenges through iterations.
- Keep consumer acquisition costs low. We grow our organic userbase by cross-promotional activities, where our B2B2C and telco/device manufacturing partners promote our app to their customers and in turn, we promote their products through our in-app affiliated marketplace.
- The Ayurveda ecosystem is fragmented. There are many boutique players with non-standardized offerings, which makes it cumbersome to arrive at a solution without the right hand-holding. We continue to wade our way through this issue.
- Simplify the Ayurveda language for the common user. Basic terms like Kapha (Body Structure), Pitta (Digestion), Vata (Neural System), Prakriti (Inherent Constitution), Vikriti (Current Constitution) are unfamiliar to many users.
- Take quick judgment calls, but verify them with data
When we saw many disruptions in the supply chain, we decided to pursue the digital content & services route than the product marketplace route.
- Embrace change, adapt to it
Our initial idea was to build a B2B2C model to establish credibility before going to consumers. However, during COVID-19, though businesses were struggling, we found that there was considerable interest from consumers. So we pivoted to a B2C model, offering digital services.
- Be open to feedback and constructive criticism
During the early days, we sensed skepticism towards digital pulse diagnosis (Nadi Pariksha) using a smartphone. We not only heard the criticism but also engaged with the ecosystem at every step and had our tool validated.
- Wellness is a priority
People are willing to spend time and money on mindfulness, mental wellness and fitness. Corporates are subsidizing such activities for their employees. Due to COVID-19, this trend has only accelerated – the common man is aware and seeking wellness solutions.
- More validation is needed when working with pre-existing offerings
Since holistic wellness systems like Ayurveda are not exposed to digital technology in a big way, we had to validate our digital solutions through systems & methods, even though the data is not well defined.
As Cultural Entrepreneurs
For us, as cultural entrepreneurs, the cause is equally important as the business. Many AyuRythm users relate to our mission of digitally taking India’s age-old wisdom of Ayurveda worldwide, and support us enthusiastically.
The symbolism of a cultural product is sometimes more important than its form & functionality. Oftentimes, Intellectual Properties (IP) result from such symbolisms.
On Winning the NICE Aarohana Business Plan Competition
Winning is always delightful and exhilarating. This win is special as the overall experience at the BPC has been gratifying.
The work behind the scrims involved a lot of discussions, thought processes, deliberations, squabbles along with several rehearsals. The win validates that hard work!
The mentors at NICE contributed immensely – we now have a 9 slides business plan, where we explain the company, founders, market size, problems, industry, the method, solution, certification, unit metrics, business model, revenue streams, GTM strategy, competition, our IP, rewards, accolades & laurels, our journey, collaborations, projections & deployment, roadmap and our funding ask! We can now deliver all this in 450 seconds flat!
The mantra was to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more!
This conversation, originally published in NICE Resource Center, was authored by Chitra Aiyer.
Chitra is interested in all things Indian and enjoys reading and writing. She has been a technical writer, a freelance writer, blogger, professional photographer, content creator, and an architect. She has worked in startups and has also been part of various citizen-led initiatives, both in the online and offline world. She trained in architecture and professional writing. She is an alumna of Mysore University and San Jose State University.
Images from AyuRythm