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Indian Wellness is Becoming Digitised and More Accessible with: NirogStreet



Ayurveda is one of the oldest healthcare practices on the planet, playing a key role in the lives of many on the asian continent. Currently 80% of people in India and Nepal use Ayurvedic medicine in some way - culminating in a multi billion dollar industry. NirogStreet is a startup which plans to bring Ayurveda closer to people and make it even easier to access - breathing even more life into an already very healthy market.


Written by: Tanay Sonawane, Varshith Uppalapati and Filip Vrábel


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FOUNDING


The founding of NirogStreet is deeply rooted in the company’s founder Ram Kumar's personal battle with Hepatitis C, a transformative experience that fueled his mission to revolutionise healthcare. Alongside his dedicated team, the start-up sought to address the challenges prevalent in the country's healthcare landscape, particularly focusing on the lack of satisfactory healthcare facilities, with a special emphasis on Ayurveda. Undeterred by the daunting task of bringing about significant change in a country of billions, Kumar's determination to make a positive impact became the driving force behind NirogStreet.

 

Ram Kumar's initial struggle with Western medicine treatments that proved ineffective led him to explore Ayurveda, marking the beginning of a remarkable recovery that spanned six months of treatment and three years to achieve full health. This personal experience illuminated the critical issue facing the Ayurveda sector— a lack of trust in its practitioners and medicines. NirogStreet, thus, was founded with a clear vision: to bridge this trust deficit and position Ayurveda as a mainstream healthcare solution globally. Leveraging the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, NirogStreet aims to provide effective and trustworthy healthcare for people worldwide.




THE TEAM





The co-founder and COO of NirogStreet is Robin Jha, a self-descfibed “entrepreneur by trade”. Robin’s background is in accounting - he is a MBA and Chartered Accountant but also possesses previous startup experience as a founder of tpot - a global tea and bites startup. Tpot was a fairly successful venture, raising 3 rounds of funding, culminating a 2018 Seed round. It has attracted prominent Indian venture capital funds, such as Benori Ventures and angel investors such as Chandigarh Angels Network. That experience has served Robin well as NirogStreet has achieved nine rounds of funding with 6 lead and 28 overall investors. While Robin’s previous experience with tpot may be seen as a positive influence in regards to attracting a wide array of investors and raising successive rounds, a potential concern is the different sector that NirogStreet is situated in. Robin’s role as a COO, rather than the traditional CEO role reserved for founders, may indicate that he is better suited to overseeing operations with his accounting background than dealing with strategic decisions in an unfamiliar market.





CEO and co-founder Ram Kumar, has lead the company for almost eight years. His previous work experiences include working in a public policy think tank, being a founder and CEO of a different startup (with a successful exit) and an internet marketing position (ibid). The array of such different experiences illustrates what kind of company NirogStreet aspires to be: it seeks to impact the public’s dialogue (or in the enthusiastic words of Ram’s LinkedIn, make Ayurveda “available for millennials to make it mainstream”) by providing an internet marketplace (reminiscent of Ram’s internet marketing days) and ultimately also aims to provide a successful exit to the company’s founders. 





Yasasmita Rama is the Manager of Learning and Development at NirogStreet. Educated at North Orissa University, she has worked as Lead Trainer at Home Credit India, then as Assistant Manager of Training Development at Dhani and as Senior Training Specialist at HT Media (ibid). Her becoming a Training Manager at NirogStreet is thus no surprise and underlines almost a decade of experience in that role. 



WHAT THEY DO


NirogStreet has emerged as a transformative force in India's healthcare sector, offering an innovative online platform dedicated to Ayurveda. With over 50,000 Ayurvedic doctors on board, NirogStreet provides a diverse range of services to meet the holistic healthcare needs of individuals across the country. The platform serves as a user-friendly interface for booking appointments, finding the best doctors in one's area, and facilitating consultations, all with the mission to enhance accessibility and affordability in Ayurveda.


Driven by a commitment to bridging the accessibility and affordability gap in Ayurveda, NirogStreet connects patients with skilled practitioners and provides personalised herbal medicines at reasonable prices. Beyond doctor consultations, the platform offers a comprehensive marketplace for alternative Ayurvedic medicine brands, making it a one-stop solution for individuals seeking holistic healthcare solutions.


In the rapidly evolving landscape of the Indian healthcare industry, NirogStreet positions itself at the forefront of the Ayurvedic revolution. The platform's tech-driven services extend beyond consultations, with an AI assistant providing accurate information and health advice. NirogStreet stands as India's premier one-stop-shop for Ayurveda medical needs, offering a range of services from regulatory compliance to marketing support.


As a significant player in the booming Indian healthcare industry, projected to be worth $280 billion by 2023, NirogStreet plays a pivotal role in the growth and accessibility of Ayurveda. Its comprehensive product offerings make it an indispensable asset for entrepreneurs and individuals alike in the Indian healthcare sector.




COMPETITORS





The no.1 competitor is WelcomeCure, an online platform for homeopathy treatments, as they are both competing in the alternative healthcare online platform space. WelcomeCure is a decade old company, receiving about $11.7M in funding. The platform enables patients to view and select a doctor for submitting queries, sending case history for second opinion or consultation over chat or skype. While the mechanics of the platform are thus the same as NirogStreet, it is clearly focused on a different area, although there could admittedly be an overlap between homeopathy and ayurveda. The distinctive advantage of NirogStreet over WelcomeCure is however its positioning as a conveyor of a social message - a ressurectionist of ancient traditions among the youth. With team members originating from the public policy think tank space, NirogStreet could wield a dangerous weapon in providing its customers and employees with a sense of purpose as a mission-driven enterprise which may be lacking in WelcomeCure.





JivaAyurveda, on the other hand, is directly engaged in the ayurveda space. It manufactures and markets herbal medicines for treatment of various diseases, ranging from diabetes to heart disease. Founded in 1992, this is a company with a long history, earning $10.5M in annual revenue. It is a sizable and well-established giant in the B2C healthtech sector, targeting the same customer base as NirogStreet. There is also a service overlap as Jiva has 150 Ayurvedic doctors and consultants providing consultations to more than one million patients across 1200 cities and towns in India. However, before NirogStreet investors get excessively worried, it should be taken into account that Jiva is bleeding money: it has a net profit of whopping -$875k. It would be difficult to see a company more than three decades old to be in growth mode, so the yearly losses may have to be explained with a faulty business model.


As illustrated above, NirogStreet has to tackle with rivals in both the ayurveda space and the online healthtech platform space. However, we see NirogStreet’s driven team and well designed solution will give it entrenched dominance in this area.





NirogStreet is building the future of healthcare in India while growing an ancient and culturally vital industry. We certainly urge investors in the area of healthtech and emerging markets to pay attention to local medical practices, and how founders will expand them even further. For now, we wish NirogStreet much success in the future, and will certainly be watching where it goes.


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