This entrepreneur left his lucrative job to take forward his family's 150-year-old legacy in Ayurveda
Arjun Vaidya left his job in the US to come back to India and took forward his family’s legacy in Ayurveda, founding Dr. Vaidya's. The company now has 42 SKUs with 120 herbal formulations and plans to expand to 53 SKUs by February 2020.
At an early age, Arjun Vaidya suffered from severe juvenile bronchitis. He was cured after 14 years of meticulous Ayurvedic treatment. From a very young age, he developed a keen interest in learning the ancient Sanskrit scripts filled with the secret family formulations.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Arjun says,
“My grandfather had an Ayurvedic clinic where he used to attend to 350 patients on a daily basis. He took forward the 150-years-old Ayurvedic legacy of our ancestors and he also wanted me to get into Ayurveda.”
His grandfather advised him to study biotech, which would help him in the business. However, Arjun instead did his bachelor’s in International Relations and Economics from Brown University.
But, destiny had some other plans for him.
Arjun started his career with L Capital Asia (the private equity arm of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group) in the US where he worked for a couple of years. In 2013, he headed back to India.
Within three months of Arjun’s return, his grandfather passed away. This left him in shock and he recalled the discussion with his grandfather on carrying forward the family legacy.
So, in October 2016, Arjun decided to quit his job and follow his grandfather’s wishes. He says,
“When I was suffering from bronchitis and then got cured completely in a few years, my inclination was accelerated towards this science. However, I never thought of taking it up as my career. But, after my grandfather passed away and I, too, saw the gap in the Ayurveda market.”
Arjun founded Dr. Vaidya's in 2016, taking his grandfather’s initials with a bootstrapped capital.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
SMBStory (SMBS): What is Dr. Vaidya's?
Arjun Vaidya (AV): Dr. Vaidya’s is a three-year-old new Ayurvedic company that endeavours to bring our rich, traditional Indian science of Ayurveda to today’s modern consumers - both in India and overseas. Bringing forward 150 years of Ayurvedic heritage, the products’ formulations have been passed from generation to generation, treating thousands of patients in the process.
My grandfather had an Ayurvedic clinic in Mumbai where he used to give Ayurvedic medicines to hundreds of customers on a daily basis without charging the consultation fee. He never entered the market to sell the formulations with a branding outside the clinic.
With Dr. Vaidya, I followed the retail business model following the online-first strategy.
SMBS: What are your product SKUs and from where do you source raw materials?
AV: At present, Dr. Vaidya's has 42 SKUs with 120 herbal formulations. With innovative products like LIVitup (Hangover Shield) and Chakaash (World’s First Chyawanprash Toffees), we have brought in a new wave in the health and FMCG segment with our contemporary approach to traditional science. Other than this, the brand has 35+ products in arthritis, diabetes, asthma, sexual wellness, weight reduction, cough, skin etc.
Today, the company owns FDA-approved, proprietary formulations for Ayurvedic medicine. All products are manufactured at our Silvassa-based manufacturing facility and are ISO 9001:2015 approved, GMP certified, US FDA registered. All the raw materials are sourced from within India for example, we source Amla from Madhya Pradesh, Kesar from Kashmir, and more.
The brand sells online through its own website and third-party channels i.e. Amazon,, , , , etc., as well as over 500 offline stores (including Noble Plus, Twenty Four Seven etc.).
Today, Dr. Vaidya’s is one of India’s largest Ayurvedic products brands online with more than 1,000 orders per day on its own platform and will be building a deeper presence in the offline and global markets very soon.
We recently partnered with RP Sanjiv Goenka Group in June 2019 and raised a round of $5 million (~Rs 35 crore). The company was also listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and Business World 40 Under 40 list.
SMBS: How are you differentiating from the competition?
AV: Building a consumer brand in India is not easy given the size and number of consumers in this country. While the potential is unlimited, so are the challenges. Thus, staying true to one’s core identity of being online first and keeping a range of differentiated products has allowed the business to stand its own in a market where there is no dearth of competition.
According to a recent CII report, Ayurveda is a $4.2 billion industry slated to grow at 16 percent per annum for the next five to seven years. Dr. Vaidya's differentiates from competitors on two main fronts. First, all the products are proprietary formulations that have years of family research. Second, Ayurveda has been perceived as boring, old-style, and poorly packaged – something for the older generation. We are innovating here by making the age-old Indian science truly new age.
SMBS: What are your future prospects?
AV: While online has been a key focus area, the next phase of growth will be in selective offline as well as export markets. Each one of Dr. Vaidya’s products bears the mark ‘Proudly Indian’ and it is my dream that this mark of India will be in 50 countries around the world over the next five years.
We also plan to expand our product catalogue by introducing nine more SKUs, making it to 53 SKUs by Feb 2020.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)