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Why this IIT Madras alum and DISNEY exec decided to build a women’s wellness brand

By Sindhu Kashyaap
May 20, 2022, Updated on : Wed May 25 2022 11:00:27 GMT+0000
Why this IIT Madras alum and DISNEY exec decided to build a women’s wellness brand
Bengaluru-based savage is a women’s wellness startup that creates holistic evidence-based guided programmes.
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Ekta Tibrewal and Akshay Rajwade knew women's health and wellness was a large untapped market. Their journey together started in 2018 when they were working at a fitness company. Wanting to build the future of wellness for the millennial Indian woman, the duo started Savage, a woman’s wellness startup in 2021 out of Bengaluru.


Speaking of why there was a need for to build savage, Ekta tells HerStory, “Reflecting on my personal battle with amenorrhea, body dysmorphia and anxiety over the years, I realised that women’s health is broken. And it wasn’t just me who felt this way, it was also hundreds of women we spoke with to build our thesis and so many of them shared how they’ve been desperately looking for solutions to very regular things we as women experience like period cramps, PMS, mood swings and so much more.”


Prior to starting savage, the duo had built and scaled the digital fitness of the company they were working at from scratch, in the middle of the pandemic.

“It was during our time there that we realised that more and more women were using digital products versus men. So these insights combined led us to find the purpose - to build a future of wellness for women that is fair, holistic, evidence-based and meet them where they are in their lives,” says Ekta.
savage

Akshay Rajwade, Co-founder savage

What does it do?

Digital health and fitness solutions are going to be key in improving fitness and health penetration, the co-founders say


Ekta says the solutions by savage are holistic, evidence-based, guided programmes that are designed by leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists and women’s health experts.


The startup has onboarded Yasmin Karachiwala, who is a celebrity fitness trainer and BASI certified Pilates instructor; Pooja Makhija, a certified nutritionist who specialises in metabolic disorders such as diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Hypertension & Heart disease and Lydia O’Donnell, Nike's Pacific head running coach & fitness expert.


These programmes are further personalised for every woman, the co-founder adds.


“We adapt our solutions to every woman's menstruation cycle and physiology, across different life stages, hormonal imbalances and lifestyle health conditions to help millions of women live up to their best potential every single day,” says Ekta.


The team has launched three key programmes that it says are used by hundreds of women.


“As a new age, femtech company, we believe the adoption of digital health and fitness products will be led by women owing to the massive convenience and accessibility they unlock,” says Ekta. However, she believes a large number of health and fitness products continue to consider women as monoliths and create generic products and solutions that don’t work with women’s unique physiology and hormone health.

The savage team

Today, savage is a 27 member team, where 80 percent of the team is working out of office in Bengaluru. The team largely comprises engineers (front end, back end, web), data scientists, clinical nutritionists, physiotherapists, women’s health experts, community managers, and marketing and growth managers.


Akshay an IIT Madras and Stanford alum has worked for the likes of Google, Flipkart, nearby, Cult etc. Ekta, on the other hand, has worked for Disney STAR, and led its foray into social community building for their English cluster channels STAR World and STAR Movies.


The savage team involves members from companies like Zomato, Cure.fit, Citi Bank, Vevo, TiVo, BYJU'S, Simplilearn and more. The average age of members across the team is 29-30 years. 

Pricing

Savage’s The four weeks ‘Power through PCOS’ programme is priced at Rs 2,999, the ‘4In4 Challenge’ which is an invite-only programme is priced at Rs 5,999 and the recently launched four weeks ‘Happy Hormones’ nutrition programme is priced at Rs 2,499.


Ekta adds the team is growing steadily at a 50 percent month-on-month basis and will be at a million dollar ARR by the end of 2022. The NPS (net promoter score—the likelihood of users recommending the company to friends) is strong at 85 (60 is world-class).


"The unit economics for this model is extremely attractive and we are contribution margin positive even at the current stage of our business. The model leverages support and motivation via community and extensively uses technology to scale science and expertise. This helps us keep our costs low while providing a much superior customer experience,” explains Ekta.

Market and future

In June 2021, savage raised $2 million in the seed funding round from venture capital firms such as 3One4 Capital, RTP Global, 2 AM Capital and angel investor Utsav Somani’s iSeed. The startup is also backed by marquee angels such as Kunal Shah of Cred, Amod Malviya of Udaan and Anupam Mittal of People Group. 


The women’s wellness and healthcare market has been growing rapidly. According to MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach $17.8 billion by 2024 from $9.6 billion at present, witnessing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.2 percent.


Some of the startups in the space include Proactive for Her, Hera, Health Fab, Ava, That Sassy Thing, Healofy and others.


Savage has more health programmes in the pipeline.


“We will be launching three more programmes this year having a total offering of six by the end of 2022. We aim to cover programmes for most key life stages of a woman’s life by the end of 2023,” Ekta says.


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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