Founded in 2017, Daaki brings together nutrition consultants, coaches and athletes to ‘design the best-fit formulae for athletes from all genres’.
At a glance
Founder: Amit Dabas
Year it was founded: 2017
Where it is based: Bengaluru
Sector: Sports nutrition
Problem it solves: Nutrition supplementation for athletes
Funding raised: Private equity fund by Rohan Ajila (Business Partner, Capvent Advisors India)
If you can’t find it, make it. That’s the reason Amit Dabas, 34, set up sports nutrition brand Daaki. Highly aware of the importance of supplements to a fitness enthusiast, Amit realised that the supplements he had been using for months didn’t seem to be working.
“I got interested in supplementation in London where I bought my first protein tub. However, after three months, it didn’t lead to any kind of change in me. That’s what got my attention and I started reading and researching on a daily basis,” Amit says.
Soon, Amit realised that there was a huge gap. “Products don’t really function the way they are supposed to. I found that the claims on the labels were often misleading, which was compounded by the chaotic marketing on the web.”
By now, the tech graduate decided that he wanted to change the status quo. Amit soon moved back to India and began to research in earnest. A blog to review products and suggest new methods to stay fit had always been on his mind; now a sports nutrition brand took centre stage.
Amit recalls, “I approached some application labs in New Delhi but was turned down by most of them. Finally, with the help of my father (VK Dabas, currently the national swimming coach for para-athletes and earlier head of department for sports at Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior), I got my first test subjects.”
He continues, “I started to buy supplements from retail – blended them with my formulations and tested them on my subjects. It worked. The supplements started giving the desired results.”
Thus was the beginning of Daaki, a sports nutrition brand that manufactures nutrition supplements for athletes and individuals.
The initial hiccups
Amit says, “The Indian nutraceutical industry has under constant flak for the last five to seven years as a majority of Indian brands try to either imitate western nutrition trends or look at manufacturing cheap copies of some bestsellers.”
He believes that ethical business is a “challenge in the current ecosystem. Surviving, thriving and communicating in this scenario is an uphill task”.
So, how does Daaki approach this problem?
“Daaki is a totally fresh approach towards looking at athlete’s food. We speak a new design language, right from the product and branding. Our supplement design methods are an amalgamation of modern sports supplementation with traditional techniques,” Amit says.
Daaki claims to bring together nutrition consultants, coaches and athletes to “design the best-fit formulae for athletes from all genres”.
On the backend supplies, he adds: “We procure ingredients from all over the world ourselves to ensure quality (rather than relying on third-party vendors). We try our best to reach our consumers directly via online retail channels. Slowly, we are catching up with regional channel partners to help setting up the offline sales network.”
Daaki, which retails through online and offline channels, and products are priced between Rs 3,000 and Rs 8,000. The product variants include supplements for pre, post and intra work-out, meal supplements, and supplements for muscle gain.
The startup has a team of six members currently. Amit is a B-tech graduate with over five years of experience in the information technology sector. In his previous role, he worked with Wipro Technologies as a business analyst. But sports nutrition has been an all-encompassing passion – he has been researching it nutrition for over four years now.
Since the launch of its new product line in 2017, Daaki claims to have made Rs 20 lakh in revenue in the last quarter. It claims to have been growing 100 percent month-on-month and projects revenue of Rs 40 lakh in the current quarter.
The Drug Marketing and Manufacturing Association (DMMA) says nutraceuticals are a rising branch in the pharmaceuticals industry, and are estimated to clock a compounded annual growth rate of about 16 percent in the next five years.
DMMA added that, India’s nutraceutical industry is set to double in size to approximately $4 billion by 2020 as a rapid surge in the demand for dietary supplements from the upper and middle class drives the growth for the industry over the next five years.
There’s plenty of competition to deal with – the foreign brands in the market include Optimum Nutrition, MuscleTech, Muscle Pharm, Ultimate Nutrition, and MyProtein UK; while Indian brands such as MuscleBlaze, Big Muscles, Probust, Six Pack Nutrition, and ESN are popular.
But Amit reveals what sets Daaki apart from the others. “The products are versatile, functional, and extreme formulations with top quality ingredients designed for the pro-athlete. We have compromised on nothing when it comes to results.”
In the future
Daaki has been privately funded by Rohan Ajila, Business Partner at Capvent Advisors India. Majority of these funds were used for R&D and product development. It plans to raise its next round, which will be “aimed at expanding our sales and marketing operations pan-India”.
In the future, Daaki plans to reach out to athletes, organisations, and sports federations directly, and bring maximum value to the end consumer.
Daaki is also working to create its own “cult” and working on new formulations for future products.
“New and better flavours for existing products are also in the works. As we believe no product is created perfect. It is always an evolution,” Amit ends.