Revolutionising The Plant-Based Supplement Market

SUMMARY

Founded in 2019 by Vibha Harish and Soorya Jagadish, this early stage D2C wellness startup offers plant-based protein supplements for ages 25-45

In FY24, Cosmix claims to have earned INR 30 Cr in revenue, marking a 400% increase from INR 5.3 Cr garnered in FY23

The Indian plant protein market is projected to reach $1.21 Bn by 2029 from the current $900 Mn

Post-pandemic, the health and wellness narrative has fuelled a surge in demand for nutraceuticals and dietary supplements in India. With a projected 5% CAGR from 2024 to 2032, the market is shifting towards vegan and plant-based supplements, attracting both consumer and investor interest.

Traditionally dominated by brands like Amway, Cipla, Herbalife, and Himalaya Wellness, the market has recently seen a rise in startups such as OZiva, MuscleBlaze, Cureveda, Wellbeing Nutrition, What’s Up Wellness and more. These startups have collectively raised over $70 Mn+.

Cosmix Wellness is another startup capitalising on the growing plant-based supplements market. Founded in 2019 by Soorya Jagadish and Vibha Harish (husband and wife), this early stage D2C wellness brand offers plant-based protein supplements for ages 25-45.

Cosmix’s unique selling point in the crowded market is its proprietary herbal blends and globally sourced superfoods.

“We use high-grade plant proteins and real natural ingredients. All formulations are researched by experts and produced in-house at our Bengaluru unit to ensure complete control over quality and packaging,” Harish told Inc42.

The duo began selling via their website in December 2019. In 2020, they expanded into offline retail by joining hands with cafes and gyms. They later forayed into online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart. The startup currently serves over 2 Lakh customers.

In February 2024, Cosmix appeared on Shark Tank and received an offer of INR 1 Cr from Namita Thapar for 1% equity. Despite the offer, the deal ultimately fell through, but the experience provided national visibility, though it didn’t result in significant traction, according to Harish.

Cosmix Wellness’ Early Beginnings

An industrial engineer by profession, Harish struggled with PCOS and sought ways to improve her health before founding Cosmix. She realised there was a lot of misinformation and lacked reliable sources for effective solutions in the industry.

“Initially, my goal was self-healing, but as I progressed, I saw the opportunity to help others. I wanted to create a platform where people could easily access trustworthy information and find genuine solutions, not just quick fixes. Safety, trust, and scientific accuracy were my top priorities,” the cofounder said.

To realise this vision, she studied herbalism for five years, discovering adaptogens that helped manage her health long-term. In June 2019, she assembled a team of experts, including herbalists and doctors, who collaborated for about eight months to develop and test each product. Teaming up with her husband Jagadish, they founded Cosmix in December 2019 and released the first batch of products via their website.

Before launching Cosmix, Jagadish was an engineer and worked with the Indian Navy for four years. His goal was always to make a difference in the country, and Cosmix was his way of achieving that. In the Navy, he was an officer in the logistics division.

The brand started with six SKUs, including supplements for sleep, gut health, hair, immunity, and stress. Today, with a total of 15 SKUs, the brand’s protein supplements constitute 50% of sales. The startup sees the highest traffic on its website from Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad.

The cofounders claimed that the bootstrapped startup earned revenues of INR 30 Cr in FY24, with repeat customers accounting for 45% of its top line. In FY23, the startup garnered revenues of INR 5.3 Cr and posted a net profit of INR 30 Lakh.

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How Cosmix Wellness Navigated The Manufacturing Challenge

Lacking any background in manufacturing, setting up a facility was a colossal task for the cofounders. The cofounders invested approximately INR 60 Lakh, using all their savings and borrowing funds to launch the unit. Understanding the complex production process was a significant challenge, as was navigating the supply chain and securing the right sources.

To grasp the entire manufacturing process, the cofounders travelled extensively across the country, consulting with doctors, Ayurveda practitioners, and industry experts. They visited numerous facilities and networked extensively to procure the right machinery and sources. They learned about various factors, including harvest conditions, weather, and local price fluctuations, impacting the quality of their produce.

“This process took us approximately eight months to a year to complete and set up our unit in Bengaluru. Even after nearly four years since establishing the unit, there are daily challenges of sourcing, treating, and processing each herb,” Jagadish said.

According to Jagadish, this helped Cosmix stand out in three core areas. The brand now prioritises protein quality, investing in superior-grade plant proteins like pea proteins for premium product quality. Cosmix avoids artificial flavours and sweeteners, opting for natural ingredients like vanilla bean, cocoa powder, and monk fruit. 

Additionally, they address digestive challenges associated with protein consumption by incorporating a proprietary herb blend to enhance digestive health and absorption, leveraging their herbalism expertise.

“Stevia, an artificial sweetener, causes gut issues with prolonged use. We replaced it with monk fruit in our protein blend. Several other brands have followed suit. However, it’s our manufacturing process that sets us apart,” he added.

Cosmix Wellness’ Path Ahead

The D2C wellness brand is committed to educating and empowering consumers. Looking ahead to FY25, the startup plans to develop new products, focus on R&D, and build a stronger team to support growth initiatives.

“A significant milestone for FY25 is establishing a global presence, which includes launching a new section on our website dedicated to education. This section, called Learn, will feature informative content like Mythbusters, a Glossary section and more,” Jagadish added.

The startup aims to reach a revenue target of INR 75 Cr in FY25. To achieve this, they plan to emphasise their key selling points through targeted marketing campaigns, highlighting the benefits of their products compared to others on the market.

Going ahead it will be interesting to witness Cosmix Wellness’ growth story in the Indian plant protein market, which, according to a Modor Intelligence report, is projected to reach $1.21 Bn by 2029 from the current $900 Mn. 

[Edited by Shishir Parasher]

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