From puberty to menopause: Mumbai startup Nutrizoe provides one-stop solutions for women’s health needs
Nutrizoe is a Mumbai-based women's nourishment company that offers solutions to pregnancy issues, fertility problems, period cramps, and postpartum recovery.
• Nutrizoe offers nanotechnology-based oral strips for pregnancy nausea, period cramps, fertility, and healthy pregnancy.
• Its lactation bars Lactobites are made from Indian superfoods and a combination of galactagogue that helps naturally enhance milk supply.
• Nutrizoe’s products are available on Amazon, Flipkart, FirstCry, and its website, and the prices vary between Rs 400 and Rs 3,000.
Mumbai resident and corporate employee Richa Pendake was inspired to make a difference in women’s lives as she watched an entrepreneur secure an investment for their women-focused business on the popular TV show Shark Tank.
“Women are the backbone and catalyst of any house, but seldom she finds time to do something for herself,” Pendake says.
Pendake belongs to a family with a high ratio of women, which she says, has helped her better understand their problems—from puberty to menopause.
“When I think back to my own experience with pregnancy and reflect on the struggles my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and countless other women have faced through various stages of life, including mental, physical, and hormonal challenges, it drives home the need for better solutions and support for women,” she tells HerStory.
As Pendake started searching for the right products to help solve these problems, all she could find were medicines or a few individual products with no holistic solutions.
She decided to turn her passion for nutrition into business, and along with her husband, Saanket Pendke, she founded Nutrizoe in 2019. The Mumbai-headquartered women’s nourishment company offers solutions to pregnancy issues, fertility problems, period cramps, and postpartum recovery.
“I wanted to create a brand that caters to women and offers an easy solution to their health problems,” she says.
The first steps
Pendake believes entrepreneurship is seeded in her genes as she comes from a family with a business background. However, she never planned to become an entrepreneur. “I had always dreamt of climbing the corporate ladder and becoming a CEO, but destiny had other plans for me,” she says.
She moved to Mumbai from Delhi in 2004 to pursue an MBA and got married in 2007, and since then, Mumbai has been her home.
Until 2021, Pendake could effectively manage her job and the business simultaneously before she transitioned to working on Nutrizoe full-time.
“In 2021, our business scaled, and we were launching a new set of products. Our responsibilities doubled, so I thought now was the right time to take this call,” she recalls.
Pendake feels “blessed” to have a supportive family. Acknowledging that not many women have the same support, she says, “Believe in yourself, even when no one else does because standing up for yourself attracts support from others.”
A one-stop solution for women’s health needs
The startup’s most popular product is its lactation bars named Lactobites, made from Indian superfoods and a combination of galactagogue that helps naturally enhance milk supply. The company claims it to be India’s first lactation bar.
The FSSAI-approved and NABL lab-tested bars are made from ingredients, including dates, fenugreek, cranberries, Halim seeds, moringa leaves, and pea protein, among others.
“These bars have no artificial colours, preservatives, or added sugar, making them completely safe for new mothers and babies,” says Pendake.
Nutrizoe offers nanotechnology-based oral strips for pregnancy nausea, period cramps, fertility, and healthy pregnancy containing Vitamin B6, B12, and D3, gingerols, chaste berries, Vitamins C, E, and B Complex, Zinc, and lemon, among others. The oral strips for period pain can be consumed by girls above 12 years.
“These strips come in a wide variety of flavours like cranberry, tamarind, raw mango, orange, and zesty lemon with ginger. The products are easy to carry and need no water. Since these strips are backed by nanotechnology, the body easily absorbs them in less than 40 seconds,” explains Pendake.
Recently, the brand also launched nutritious Zoe energy bars, high in protein and consisting of essential multivitamins like Vitamin A, B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folate), B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc.
The road to success was not easy for Pendake. The COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after she launched the startup, and the business did not make big numbers. Further, the duo could not visit hospitals and doctors for tie-ups due to restrictions.
Also, many mothers were sceptical about the safety of the products, but as more and more women began to use them, the products gained traction.
In fact, it took time for investors to realise that these problems were real and challenging for women.
“I remember one of my investors telling me it would be okay if I could not repay his money, but he wanted me to grow this business and reach every woman out there. That day I felt I created something valuable,” she says.
With brands like Gyanoveda coming up, Pendake believes the competition is increasing. However, she believes her brand offers a distinctive range of products, a viable alternative to medicines formulated using patented and clinically researched ingredients. Additionally, the distribution model through hospitals and doctors adds credibility to the brand.
Nutrizoe's products are available on Amazon, Flipkart, FirstCry, and its website, and the prices vary between Rs 400 and Rs 3,000. The startup also has tie-ups with hospitals, including Cloudnine and Motherhood.
The way forward
Beginning with 1,600 orders, Nutrizoe now clocks 7,500 orders monthly, serving more than 50,000 women for Lactobites.
With a current valuation of Rs 35 crore, the startup has raised two funding rounds. “The startup has grown 4X YOY and 15% MOM for the last 12 months and stands at a revenue of Rs 4.5 crore for FY23,” Pendake says.
The brand soon plans to expand its roots in the UAE and Singapore, following strong government support for breastfeeding and a wide gap in the market for natural and effective solutions, making them the perfect markets for its products. It also plans to launch new products for breast cancer, PCOS, and menopause.
“We aim to build a brand, which sells no quack items, instead offers highly trusted and easy-to-consume products for every phase of a woman’s life,” she says.
Edited by Kanishk Singh