Our modern age proudly displays a lifestyle where work, communication, business and travel has been made extremely easy for man, with various gadgets and machines equipped with previously unheard-of electronic technology. Still, in-spite of these comforts, life has become more complex and competitive. Man finds himself more under stress than ever before because with the modern technology and lifestyle, more is demanded of him. Families are breaking up because proper care and time for one another is becoming a rarity. Several diseases have sprung up and are increasing due to the basic factor of stress and aggressiveness, and are now frequenting at an early age. In this rut of life, each one is left to cater to one’s own needs causing a vicious cycle of stress and distress, threatening one’s very existence!
Ayurveda is a branch of medicine which originated and is practiced in India for more than 5000 years. It is as fresh and useful to humans today as it was in the ancient times yet more relevant and applicable in these modern times. Its use provides a holistic approach to our daily lives
The Ayurvedic ‘dincharya’ or daily schedule helps to bring about peace and harmony in one’s life. Ayurvedic daily life routines are meant to enhance the total health of man, both mental and physical. They are easy to follow and are not liable to cause trauma of any kind to the body or mind.
Meet Dixit Sood who started his venture ayurshakha & donor2donor. Ayurshakha is platform where people are able to buy organic and natural products and donor2donor is a blood donation platform where you can find live blood donors online bypassing the scenario of blood banks.
Lets meet Dixit Sood and see, how these ideas came to his mind and what motivated him to start these ventures.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
We have named our venture as “ayurshakha”. The word ayurshakha consists of two words ‘ayur’ and ‘shakha’. Here, the word ayur is derived from ayurveda denoting ‘living life in tune’ and shakha means branches pointing to natural and herbal remedies.So it says that people should live life in a herbal way.
Our second venture named “Donor2Donor” is created by Arthaay foundations. The current trends talks about many mediators between blood donors and blood donee. The name donor2donor refers to “free of cost” service to humanity with no one in between.
2. Who is your target market?
Our target market includes customer who are above the age of eighteen years. Our wide range of products can be used safely with senior citizens also.
For Donor2donor, our audience includes all healthy blood donors between ages of 18-60
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & what are your geographical target areas?
We are based in Chandigarh. Initially, our target area would be Indian sub continent however the service offering will reach people globally. When it comes to donor2donor then the application is for use of everyone across globe.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Ayurshakha is going to offer all products that fall in the category of ayurveda, natural, herbal and organic products at best prices. We are an offline and online marketplace following a unique model to give easy access of all our product range to all age groups. Our best efforts are on product awareness and sales to maximum number of people globally.
Our second venture Donor2Donor offers a free mobile application which can help a user to find an active blood donor within 50 Kms of his current location free of cost. The application is available on both android & IOS platforms free of cost. We are addressing a very pressing issue of availing blood in times of emergency without “banking” it. We believe like technology has removed paper usage in communication, it can also help in addressing such issues. We are talking about reducing cost on banking blood as donors will be available online and 24*7.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
The origin of Ayurveda is India. Majority of people know just about a few brands and we are aiming to build a platform where we can offer equal opportunity to every herbal product manufacturers and varied options to choose from for customers. I knew that people of India want best natural and safe products but they know only few brands out of thousands of product so I want to give my target market a platform to make a comparison and make a best choice.
Also, as an active socialist and also a rare blood group owner. Many Times I was called in wee hour for blood requirement for an emergency case. Here the idea Donor2Donor got an initiative as how to make sure the need meet the ends. Then after so many months of exhaustive work of research and how to add technology with this noble cause we come up with the idea of developing an app and that too on our own expenses. Outcome: Donor2donor has more than 1500+ users and is called as Zindagi Wala app by its users now and have saved more than 15 lives in different areas.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
With more and more people resorting to natural and safe products, I think it’s like a competition war.Still, I can say that our unique offline and online marketplace makes us stand apart from the main competitors.
For Donor2Donr, We don’t have any competitors as it’s not a business it’s a cause to serve humanity. As we created this concept we have donors across the globe and we got many feedbacks and blessings from people.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
Ayurshakha and Donor2donor, both of my ventures I must say it’s all done by my team efforts and me. So, I don’t want to use the word co-founder.
8. How you have hired your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
Though, I have more core team since last eight years but for ayurshakha I want to hire more people who know their capability and can use it to the best. They must be passionate to succeed and should learn from failures. They should be dedicated to work so that they can give maximum outcomes. I understand that we all learn with time but still I prefer to hire people who are ready to implement what they’ve learnt so far. For donor2 donor ,a noble cause my first team member who was asked to join was Abhishek, a person passionate about working towards details, processes and creating the exact vision in practice.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
The main aim is to make our website / app as mainstream app to meet the requirements of buying best ayurvedic and herbal products. We have a target to say around 30 million users or customers in next 5 years.
We are also aiming to get Donor2donor application marketed as main stream medical app for such emergency concerns like blood, organ donation. We are targeting to have 10 million download in next 5 years
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
I would be happier if I can see our app in everyone’s app folder as one of the most trusted natural, herbal and ayurvedic products suppliers across the globe.
Donor2donor should help people in need. We want to see our self in everybody’s hopes who are looking for blood in emergency anywhere in the world.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
As you must be aware of the success of our second venture donor2donor, we are aiming to achieve approx.1 lac customers in next 12 months for ayurshakha.
12. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We are working on bootstrap model till now and are in the lookout for investors
For donor2donor, we are open for investors on ground of CSR as we are an NGO.
13. What were the problems you faced during the initial days and how did you resolve them?
The entire IT set up demands high cost and being from non-IT background, I have to do lot of research and market analysis to give best experience to our users.
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
I think, the most challenging part for ayurshakha was to make people understand that there are so many quality products that are not available to the masses due to lack of awareness. We are trying to overcome these challenges by our best marketing support and awareness program focusing on the benefits of ayurveda. This will also help us to create a new brand positioning among competitors.
The challenge for donor2donor was making people understand blood banking is not the need of hour, blood donors are. Once the app was created and we showed how it helps save money and get more donors people started liking the concept and adapting our idea.
15. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Yes, I’m married and blessed with 2 daughters.
16. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I like to explore new non-traditional business ideas.Also; I like to interact with people with newer concepts and different ideologies. I want to learn new things about IT and give an insight into how technology is changing at a rapid pace and what we should do to be at par with technological advancement.
17. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
Homemade food served with love gives me satisfaction. One of my favorite holiday destination is Dubai as it gives more business ideas and pleasure too.
18. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
The biggest motivator is my father who taught me the basics of business and life. It’s only because of him that I have got an opportunity to explore my skills in different segments. He gave me courage to do something that not all people can even think off.
19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I think there are some small differences are there
1. The employee only sees the immediate effect of his/her work, but the entrepreneur sees the long term effect of his work.
2. The employee only see “what & how” he/she is doing while the entrepreneur knows “why” he/she is doing what he’s doing. The employee works with orders and the entrepreneur is discretionary.
3. The employee lives in certainty while the endeavours of the entrepreneurs are marked with uncertainties all round. The similarity is that both of them get paid, but the difference is that, the employee gets paid by the boss, but the entrepreneur pays himself/herself.
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I am very happy with what choices I made to create what I have today. Yes, if I can turn back time I will be able to do it more effectively.
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & social life?
I belong to business family so it’s in my blood. My family always supported me for my decisions.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
If you think you can do something different than others and that is a sure shot business plan, drop that idea as it’s just the zeal of what you think you have learned and craving to show others. If you want to start your own business, make sure you know the moment you think you have a plan B, it’s all over.
23. Tell us something about your education & family background.
A commerce graduate with 22 years of work experience in brand expansion, real estate, corporate Liasoning globally. I belong to queen of hills Shimla and I’m the youngest child to a reputed business family in business of govt & private contracting and hospitality.
24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
We have a unique business model as we have both offline and online marketplace. Our USP is that we are ready to pass on some margins to our buyers (B2B & B2C).
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
The biggest threat is when your passion to create something is overcome by will to survive. I am not saying you have plan imperfectly but again an ocean is also made of countless droplets. We have to start from small things to create big business options for us.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Yes I am happy where I am today. I don’t measure success by anything but I respect the feeling of being seen as dependable by professional and personal circle for many things due own ability of performing under high demanding situations
27. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person.
Business name: Ayurshakha
SCO No: 193-194-195 level-4, sec 34 A, Chandigarh
Contact Person: Dixit Sood
Phone No: 9915003777
E-Mail: [email protected]