Why D2C startup Fitspire is taking the vegan lifestyle to India's Tier II+ cities

Founded in January 2020, Delhi-based vegan startup Fitspire caters to over 15,000 pin codes in more than 27 Indian cities. It recently expanded to Meerut, Chandigarh, Lucknow, and Gwalior.
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"When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” – Ayurveda proverb

In the age of healthy living, this age-old saying has become the mantra for many individuals. As people moved toward a nutritious food regime, veganism garnered many followers. 

To take the vegan lifestyle to more Indians and beyond Tier I cities, husband and wife—Vipen and Nidhi Jain—along with their ex-colleague from Standard Chartered Bank, Hinah Sawhney, launched Fitspire in January 2020.

“As per our experiences, we noticed India becoming extremely nutrient deficient day by day, and there's no specific solution with proper guidance on how to overcome this issue. Moreover, some available healthcare supplements are either out of customers’ reach or impacting their pockets,” Vipen Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Fitspire, tells YourStory

The Delhi-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) startup sells over 80 vegan products and combos—tested for international safety values and under FSSAI standards—manufactured in-house at its two factories in Ponta Sahib and Greater Noida. 

It targets all gender groups between five and 65 years and caters to segments, including sports, child, skin, nutrition, immunity, vitality, healthy snacking, multi-vitamins, proteins, etc.

According to Vipen, Fitspire products use ingredients extracted naturally from berberine, berries, curry leaves, amla, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, green coffee, and green tea, and taken from traditional Indian kitchens, including turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, superior fruits and vegetables, etc.

The USP

Fitspire’s health wellness section offers curcumin immunity booster, natural immunity booster, multi-vitamins for men and women, vegan keto fat burner, etc.  

For sports wellness, it offers energy nutrition bars, 100 percent gold whey protein, vegan plant protein, and vegan BCAA. For kids’ wellness, it sells products like vegan peanut butter and multi-vitamin drink, and for personal wellness, vegan fit men vitality, etc.

“Our formulations, manufactured in GMP (good manufacturing practice) and ISO-certified facilities, are 100 percent vegan, non-genetically modified, free of parabens, soy, gluten, and added colours,” he adds.

Initially, the D2C vegan startup targeted Tier I cities. And with rising popularity, it expanded to cater to over 15,000 pin codes in more than 27 Indian cities. 

At present, Fitspire receives 31 percent of orders from South India, followed by North (29 percent), West (25 percent), and the remaining from the East. 

Operating both in the D2C and offline model, Fitspire is available on major ecommerce marketplaces, including Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Healthkart, JioMart, Mesh, etc. 

Moreover, it has exclusive offline partnerships with Apollo Pharmacy, Spencers, and Delhi Metro. Fitspire is also available at WHS and Relay's domestic and international airport stores.

Fitspire competes with brands, including Optimum Nutrition, MuscleBlaze, Kapiva, Oziva, HealthKart, Fast&Up, BigMuscles Nutrition, etc. 

Funding and monetisation

Bootstrapped with an initial investment of Rs 50 lakh, the D2C vegan startup is valued at Rs 30 crore now.

To date, Fitspire has raised a total funding of $1 million in three rounds between August 2020 and April 2022 from investors, including Ivor Brangnaza (Director, Next 5 Oman), Rajesh Sud (MD, Bharti Financial Group), Bollywood Singer Sukhbir Singh, and other investors. 

In this financial year, the startup expects to raise $3 million in funding and increase its team size and productivity. Vipen says, “We aim to be valued at Rs 100 crore in the next 12 months and Rs 300 crore in the coming four years.”

With a team of 100 employees, Fitspire operates five offices in Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. 

The way ahead

According to Allied Market Research, the global vegan supplements market was valued at $6,309.1 million in 2019, projected to reach $13,598.7 million by 2028, at a CAGR of 6.9 percent between 2021-2028. 

The startup claims to have served over three million customers—women (45 percent) and men (55 percent)—who are pursuing a fit and healthy lifestyle. 

Selling through the omnichannel model, Fitspire has also started offering its products in Tier II and III cities like Meerut, Chandigarh, Lucknow, and Gwalior.

“We plan to expand Fitspire as most Indians are getting aware of the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. We aim to inspire the nation towards fitness, fill the nutritional gap of the nation, and contribute towards a fit and healthy India,” Vipen adds.

(This story was updated to remove the name of two investors who are no longer associated with the company.)

Edited by Suman Singh