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“Cora Health has grown 5X since its last fundraise and is going to gun for Rs 100 cr”

While the global pandemic brought economies to a halt and massively disrupted businesses, it also fuelled start-up dreams and we even saw several Indian start-ups achieve Unicorn status during the pandemic period. The times have never been better for budding entrepreneurs to give wings to their start-up dreams.

The Government, too, has come up with various schemes to support its ‘Vocal for Local’ drive. A case in point is the recent Rs 1,000 crore Start-up India Seed Fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Start-up India International Summit 2021.

Adgully is turning the spotlight on the entrepreneurs who fought against all odds to bring their dreams to fruition in our special series – START-UP STARS. We at Adgully wholeheartedly support the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement and over the next few months will be featuring all local/ homegrown businesses, brands, and Apps.

Cora Health was launched in May 2020 with the vision to help change millions of lives by helping people make better food choices based on their lifestyle patterns and medical conditions. Initially, the company was launched with an investment of Rs 20 lakh, but with time they have been backed by 100X VC and Indian Angel Network. It also experienced 40 fold growth post-funding as Monsoon progresses. The growth comes with an MRR of 4 million suggesting 7 figure annual recurring rise with a user flow of about 200,000 reaching upto 400,000 towards 2021.

Snigdha Kumar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cora Health. She is an alumnus of MICA and has earlier worked with Flipkart as P&L Head for Foods Marketplace category, overseeing a selection of 2 Lakh+ products. Prior to that she had worked with well-known brands like Philip Morris International, ITC, and United Breweries.

In conversation with Adgully, Snigdha kumar, Co-founder and CEO, Cora Health, speaks about establishing her start-up during the pandemic times, the importance given to health and nutrition in consumers’ lives, how Cora is working towards addressing people’s nutrition requirements, the road ahead and more.

Tell us everything about Cora health and how it started. How has the brand journey been since inception?

Cora is a vertical e-commerce platform which acts as an aggregator for D2C health brands. Here, around 300+ D2C brands exist in all major categories of food and nutrition. They serve 27,000+ pincodes pan-India. It has witnessed tremendous growth since its launch. The company has managed to maintain and elevate the growth by relentless pursuit of customer experience. The platform has grown at a rate of 40% in a year. The company has grown 5X since its last fundraise and is going to gun for Rs 100 crore in the coming year.

In health D2C aggregation, how do you see this industry growing in the future from end-consumers’ and the brand’s perspectives?

The Online Health and Nutrition Industry is primed to be a $22 billion market by 2025, growing at 100% YoY. Within the health umbrella, Foods and Ayurveda still have a less than 5% online penetration, with more customers coming online to find the health products of their choice. The end-consumer is rapidly becoming more conscious towards healthy eating. In a survey in 2021, 44% users said they would look at the Health & Wellness attributes before purchasing packaged food, which is a sea change from where people would completely ignore Nutrition labels. That said, the industry has also complicated things by using multiple formats of labels and names of ingredients which has made an average person look at the food they eat more keenly. For D2C, Health & Wellness was the highest growing sector with maximum new launches in this space. Especially in Foods, the barrier to entry for a new brand is moderately low and combining that with customers’ keenness to try out newer products makes it a very exciting space poised for growth.

How is Cora Health enabling D2C brand discovery. In what way do you think that accelerates sales?

The most significant “problem” with Health & Nutrition hides in the fact that there is so much noise and clutter out there. There is an abundance of information that leaves customers feeling overwhelmed and often makes the everyday health decisions tougher. Cora elevates the customer journey by removing the clutter and simplifying complex nutrition labels for easy understanding of the users. Most users in Tier 2 and beyond do not have access to original and authentic health products and we solve that by delivering to 27,000+ pincodes.

Cora is aiding discovery and purchase decisions, resulting in being the most efficient channel of distribution for health brands.

What made you build this brand? How did you align the team in COVID times?

While I was working at Flipkart as a P&L Head in the Food and Nutrition category, I loved my work but my health was at an all time low. I underwent gallbladder surgery. I was also suffering from PCOS. Despite having the motivation, I found the process cumbersome. Few healthy foods were available and I found it overwhelming to read through and research all ingredients suitable for me before choosing a product. So, I took the decision to venture into the domain of nutrition along with the brand’s Co-Founder, Shrijit Venkatesh. We decided to launch a single platform for all health-related food options and supplements, which can ease people’s access. Cora stands for honesty and transparency, and that’s what we aim to champion.

Starting up during COVID was challenging, we not only were hiring our first employees online, but we also had to struggle to test our PMF since macro factors were changing month to month. On the positive side, the pandemic rapidly accelerated consumer awareness of healthy eating, changing consumer’s consumption habits for good.

Please tell us about the recently-launched mobile application of Cora? How has app launch helped you?

We launched the app on both Android and iOS a month ago. We are reimagining erstwhile shopping experience to pave the way for Commerce 2.0, which will change the way people shop by making it a simple, elevated and seamless experience. We are bringing an innovative product that will act like your shopping/ health assistant – curating products, choosing products based on your preference and helping you find healthier alternatives.

We are able to continuously innovate and get real time feedback in terms of the user experience, which is extremely important for early stage companies.

What are your future plans for Cora Health?

Currently, I am looking ahead to work more towards honing the supply ecosystem along with user preferences. The company is planning to create innovative GTMs, which will allow a better unit economics for the partnering brands. We are also eyeing to invest in technology to elevate the supply chain and demand predictability. The future plan of Cora Health is to provide additional value to the customers. For customers, we are planning to launch a membership scheme, which will enable them to avail more benefits, indeed making it seem that health is wealth.

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