These serial women entrepreneurs want to solve your skin and hair problems...with shots

By Amisha Agarwal
May 26, 2022, Updated on : Fri Jun 10 2022 02:14:53 GMT+0000
These serial women entrepreneurs want to solve your skin and hair problems...with shots
Founded in 2020, Hyderabad-based Laurik is a D2C nutraceutical startup that produces lauric-based shots for skin, hair, and overall health.
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After 14 years in marketing at various multi-national companies, Lavanya Sunkari realised that her true interest lies in the workings of the human body. To pursue this, Lavanya went on to do multiple courses at Harvard, Stanford, and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a non-profit organisation which certifies health coaches, finally becoming a certified nutrition expert.

While studying nutrition and the human body, Lavanya embarked upon her own fitness journey, experimenting with many types of diets, and getting hooked on veganism.

However, as a vegan, Lavanya could not palate soy milk, and was not enjoying almond milk as much either. She decided to take a sattvic approach to veganism, discovering coconut milk in the process.

One day, a conversation with a friend and serial entrepreneur Archana Chindam led to discussions about how natural products can enhance the fitness journey, and this set the ball rolling for a business venture - Laurik, launched in April 2020. Laurik was Lavanya's second venture. In 2016, she founded GlamEgo, a beauty subscription service.

Shots for skincare, haircare

Hyderabad-based Laurik is a D2C nutraceutical startup that provides a range of health shots tailored for haircare and skincare.

It produces ‘coconut shots’ which are enhanced with lauric acid, a medium-chain saturated fatty acid found in many vegetable fats and in coconut and palm kernel oils. The startup's manufacturing unit is in Bangalore.

“Generally in the nutraceutical segment, if a product is natural and organic, it might not be a very tasty product. But we have a tasty product. For instance, everyone knows that wheatgrass is good for health, and that we should consume it regularly. But no one continues in the longer run, because us Indians are very taste-sensitive,” says Lavanya.

“We did eight iterations to ensure that our products are tasty, and it was easy to consume too. Our products taste like milk solids that remind one of childhood, like a Bournvita or Horlicks,” she adds.

The firm extracts lauric acid from coconuts, and combines it with over 26 whole-food-sourced vitamins, minerals, superfoods, and probiotics in one shot.

Explaining their logic for preferring shots to vitamin pills, Lavanya says, "Science says the absorption level and bioavailability of minerals, vitamins or micronutrients is much lesser when you consume it in the form of a pill/effervescent compared to taking it in the form of food."

She adds that the shots are made employing Ayurvedic concepts, and have been developed after two years of extensive scientific research by scientists from across the globe. The startup has also filed for over 12 formulation patents this year.

“Laurik aims to improve people’s health and wellbeing. We are at the forefront of innovation, using a blend of science and natural ingredients to solve some of the most significant healthcare challenges. We provide healthy solutions through compositions derived from coconut. Millennials need products that show results quickly and are easy to consume,” says Lavanya.

The Laurik shots, namely hair shots, skin shots, collagen booster shots and anti-ageing shots come in pocket-sized sachets. These shots come in powder form and can be consumed by mixing with water, milk, or food.

The startup has a team of 14 employees at the moment.

Recently, the firm launched a new product range, Laurik Bites, that caters to three categories: gut, sleep, and focus. “Laurik Bites are natural solutions that help with sleeplessness and anxiety, meant for the millennials,” says Lavanya.

In all, the company has launched 16 products for both men and women, available on the website and Amazon India.

Skincare shots for men, Laurik

Rooting for subscriptions

The startup also has a subscription model. Once a customer buys either 15, 30, 60 or 90 shots up front, Laurik makes a note of the purchase date and sends a certain number of shots right away. The rest are sent at intervals.

To enable this model, Laurik has partnered with Shopify and MoEngage.

“Subscription is the future of nutraceutical brands,” says Lavanya.

She adds that Laurik is the second Nutraceutical brand in India to be awarded the Clean Label Certification from the Clean Label Project, a US-based non-profit organisation which awards brands with products that place an emphasised focus on purity and surpass the minimum regulations required by FDA.

“The goal of Laurik is to work towards empowering people to invest in a healthy lifestyle by providing them with a comprehensive blend of ingredients with well-researched benefits. Being recognised by the Clean Label Project as one of few companies in the world for creating clean products, validates our mission to unlock the power of nature with exceptional innovation to make products that are healthier, and safer for daily consumption,” says Lavanya.

Market and future

The nutraceuticals market in India is expected to grow from an estimated $4 billion in 2020 to $18 billion by the end of 2025. The dietary supplements segment constitutes over 65 percent of the nutraceutical market, and is growing at a rate of 17 percent and is likely to grow at 22 percent per year, especially when preventive health has garnered all the attention during the pandemic, said a 2020 report by the International Trade Administration.

India’s nutraceutical industry is expected to hold at least 3.5 percent of the global market share by 2023, according to the same report.

Laurik raised Rs 37 million in April 2022. The funding round was led by marquee investors like Murthy Aradhi, co-founder at FastCollab and Lakshmikant PB, Director of Finance at Antler, an early-stage venture capital firm.

Laurik’s unique product had also received recognition from the Telangana government and T-Hub as they had provided the startup with a fund through the T-Fund program.

The startup claims that it has witnessed 150 percent growth in sales, and 100 percent on MAU (Monthly Unique Visitors) in a span of one month. Laurik is also looking to expand its product lines.

Next on the immediate agenda though is launching its products across several other ecommerce platforms as well as supermarkets.

Lavanya has a parting shot for women entrepreneurs, "When you get an idea, the first thing to do is to work on the business and financial model. You will not have exact numbers unless you start discussing the entire production plan with manufacturers. Having the projected financial plan helps you from day 1 to strategise your business and spend judiciously till you hit that break-even number and raise external funds."

Edited by Anju Narayanan