Based in Delhi, I track developments both in corporate and economy sectors. In a career spanning since 2003, I track developments pertaining to M&A, PE/VC, startups and healthcare. Prior to joining Forbes, I have had stints with The Economic Times, Businessworld, India Today and Indian Express. I am also a guest faculty at The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (Dhenkenal) where I deliver part-time lectures to young aspiring journalists and teach them the practical side of reporting and editing. And when not working, I love to travel and spend time with my fawn Labrador.
Varun and Ghazal Alagh
Having a child often changes one’s life. But for Varun and Ghazal Alagh, who were blessed with a baby boy in 2014, the change was not restricted to their personal lives alone.
Professionally too, there has been a mammoth change as they decided to give up their plush corporate jobs and foray into entrepreneurship. “When our son was born, we were very sceptical about using baby care products as a lot of them had harmful chemicals in them,” says Varun, now 32. “That is when we decided to introduce a range of safe, toxin-free products for babies.”
Varun and Ghazal, 28, launched Mamaearth on December 5, 2015, on Amazon Launchpad, a destination for startups to showcase their products to consumers across the world. Mamaearth products include body lotion, hair-shampoo, body wash, diaper rash cream and sunscreen lotion, among others, for babies till the age of five. All the products are currently available on Amazon. Going forward, they will also be available on Flipkart and Nykaa.
Mamaearth, run by Honasa Consumer Pvt Ltd, is the first company in Asia that has been certified by Made Safe - a US-based non-profit organisation that provides a comprehensive human health-focussed certification for making non-toxic products. It raised its early stage funding in December from Fireside Ventures, run by Kanwaljit Singh, former managing director of venture capital firm Helion Ventures. “The money raised will help us expand our operations and add new baby products,” says Varun, an en ex-employee of Coca-Cola.
He says the entrepreneurial journey has been a mixed bag of feelings so far. “I did not want to feel I am languishing at 40,” says Varun as he gears up to launch as many as 18 products in both prenatal and postnatal category over the next 12 months.
As per estimates of market research company Technavio, the baby care market in India is expected to grow at 17 percent CAGR in terms of revenue in the next three years. In terms of products, this market has been segmented as follows: Baby apparel segment, baby toys segment, baby cosmetics, baby food, baby accessories, and baby diapers.
While there are several companies – both corporates and startups in categories such as baby apparel, baby toys and baby accessories – the cosmetics category is dominated by organised players such as Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly Clark, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.