Prevention Will Account For 60% Of The Healthcare Volume: Vieroots Founder


Healthcare startups are constantly coming up with innovative ideas that cut cost and provide an affordable option. Sajeev Nair, Founder and Chairman of Vieroots Wellness Solutions, shares his insight on the evolving dynamics of the healthcare sector

This has been touted as a tough year for startups. What were some of the challenges your company faced and how did you tackle these? 
Post the inflation and the interest rate hikes worldwide, yes, institutional investors have turned more cautious towards funding startups. But I think it is going to be a major disrupter for only those startups that were primarily dependent upon investor funds for customer acquisitions, sales growth and valuations. I admit that the general crunch in startup investments will pose a challenge for us too, as and when we pursue such investments, but as of now, we are confident as the natural growth is continuing. 

What are your expectations from 2023? Will some of the growth drivers kick in again or will it continue to be a cautious year as well? 
2022 was supposed to be a great year with the Covid waning, but then the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened out of the blue, unleashing the inflation and rate hike cycle. But the war has largely been contained now, beyond all expectations, and therefore I think 2023 is going to be a great year. Yes, there is the overhang of Covid rearing its head again, but as a health-tech startup offering unique prevention strategies, I think Vieroots can chip in with our core EPLIMO solution and other preventive supplements to help with this threat.
Please share more on how 2022 panned out for your company in terms of revenue targets. 
FY’22 was our first full fiscal year, and we did around Rs. 15 crore in sales, which means we zoomed from zero to Rs. 15 crore in less than two years. However, in this present FY our focus has been to enhance our backend which include an AI powered EPLIMO app and also a more user friendly e-Commerce portal.  Hence we have a soft year in terms of sales.  We have some phenomenal plans for 2023-24 where we are planning to roll out 50 Lifestyle Modification Experience Centers in India.   
What are some of your plans for 2023 and the areas of interest in the year ahead? 
2023 is going to be a remarkable year for Vieroots.  We will have our AI powered EPLIMO app getting launched in the Q1 of 2023.  We have a target of opening 50 VieHubs, which are our Lifestyle Modification Experience Centers in different cities in India.  Another exciting project is the Genome based Weight Loss Program, which is undergoing testing.  This will be launched in Q2 or 2023 and this will be a major breakthrough in the weight loss market as ours will be the most personalised weight loss program as it is based on genetic and metabolic analysis. 
As a leader, what were some of the things you had to do differently in 2022 especially given some of the external challenges in the year that ranged from founder troubles to restrained investment and large-scale layoffs? 
As a founder, I have always stood for highly calibrated growth, and hence we have been able to avoid most of these issues including investment crunch and layoffs. As a bootstrapped startup that has been highly selective in taking in funds, Vieroots continues to be a tightly held company between me and our other two co-founders Adityanarayan and Sajeev VP, and hence there has been absolute freedom to innovate. 
Given the sudden shift toward the right-sizing of business models in startups across industries, do you anticipate changes in the fundraising segment? 
Definitely, as before this crunch, institutional investors used to fund for things like customer acquisition using freebies and expensive discounts. That is going to end. Then there was this issue of advance hiring in anticipation of such large scale customer acquisitions. That is what led to this mass layoffs and that too is going to stop. High quality funds are going to be even more selective, and I think it augurs well for a startup like Vieroots, as from day one we were focused on growing the business healthily, and not by spending investor funds.
What is your USP? How do you stand apart from your competitors and healthcare giants? 
Today, only 15-20 per cent of the healthcare segment is about prevention, while the majority is about treatments. But this is a model that has proved to be woefully inadequate in addressing the emerging healthcare challenges. And there is an ongoing shift to prevention, and studies in this regard find that within a couple of decades, prevention will overtake treatments, and account for 60 per cent of the healthcare volumes. 

This is because, in earlier days, prevention used to hinge on generic lifestyle modifications that were both impractical and ineffective. But genetics based personalised lifestyle modifications are precise, practical and highly effective, and that is what EPLIMO (Epigenetic Lifestyle Modification) is all about. EPLIMO in fact does even more, as it also accounts for each person’s metabolic uniqueness too. This unique geno-metabolic approach is almost without parallels anywhere in the world, and that remains our USP. 
Can you share the idea behind developing your product EPLIMO and how it will bring a massive disruption in the wellness space? 
Before a solution like EPLIMO hit the market, all that people could do to prevent lifestyle killer diseases like say diabetes, hypertension, cancer, dementia, cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke etc. was to follow the generic way of healthy living, which is all about popular advice like eat less, move more etc. But that approach proved to be grossly inadequate, as many people who followed such advice succumbed to these or other diseases, while many others who didn’t follow such advice continue to live without any such diseases. The secret to this is genetics. 

More often than not, people develop such diseases when they have genetic coding for that in their DNA. These are the triggers, but which are pulled only by faulty lifestyles. So what EPLIMO does is, take a genetic test and metabolic assessment of each client, find out all the hardcoded disease risks in the DNA and metabolic profile, and then employ artificial intelligence to come up with personalised and comprehensive lifestyle modifications targeting those discovered disease risks so as to preempt them before developing. These lifestyle modifications are all research-validated for those diseases, and cover diet, nutrition, supplements, exercise, yoga, sleep, meditation, breathing exercises etc. So, with EPLIMO, people can take charge of their health and keep these diseases at bay. This is why it is undoubtedly going to be a major disruptor in today’s healthcare market.

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