“From Dating App to Delivering Nutrition: The Journey of Prithvi Kini, Founder of Nuvedo”

The ancient wisdom of India’s wellness traditions is being rediscovered by a new generation seeking balance and preventive self-care. As incomes rise, an exciting market is emerging for modern services that blend the country’s holistic heritage with cutting-edge innovations. Valued at $10.6 billion in 2022, India’s wellness industry is poised for incredible growth driven by rising health consciousness.

Forward-thinking entrepreneurs have a ripe opportunity to combine India’s established practices like yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation with new personalized nutrition, fitness, and preventive health offerings. While challenges like standardization and access remain, the market potential is vast as India’s population makes wellness a larger priority in their busy lives.

Strategically combining ancient knowledge with modern science positions wellness startups to lead the way in this blossoming space. Those that authentically embrace India’s roots while providing fresh, technology-enabled solutions will be poised to capture the mindshare and loyalty of a newly wellness-obsessed consumer base.

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In an exclusive interview with Marksmen DailyPrithvi Kini, co-founder of Nuvedo, a mushroom-based wellness startup, shared her inspiring journey and future plans for the organisation with Marksmen daily Correspondent Neeraj Tiwari . Her journey From meeting her partner on a dating app to founding Nuvedo driven by a passion for mushrooms’ nutritional benefits, Prithvi’s story is one of determination and purpose.

Where did the idea of starting a business come from?

We founded Nuvedo driven by our fascination with the nutritional and medicinal benefits of mushrooms. Personal experiences with mushroom supplements from the US, which greatly improved our health without side effects, inspired us. Facing supply issues during the pandemic, we realized the untapped potential of functional mushrooms in India. Besides this, mushrooms grow on agri-waste, which is abundantly available in India, don’t require soil or much water and is also vertically scalable. The entire process is circular and generates very little waste. The sustainability of mushroom cultivation was one factor which drew us to it. Further, it was a space that enabled us to get into without much resources monetarily, by bringing creativity, and newness.

What led you to quit your jobs and start a startup?

We both wanted to be in a space where we could create a positive impact on the environment and also the health of people. The health of our planet and all its inhabitants is deteriorating and we are getting disconnected from nature, which leads to a lot of unhappiness, stress, and finally lifestyle diseases. Both of us wanted to devote our time to work on something that would solve this problem. Mushrooms hold the solution to many issues we face as a society today- cancer, anxiety & depression, heart health, diabetes, insomnia, etc may be treated using mushroom extracts. Creating a lifestyle that was meaningful, impactful, and also, building a product that would actually benefit people’s lives in more ways than one.

How did you handle the challenges faced in the early days of your startup?

We kept reminding ourselves of our mission- to improve the health of our planet and its people using the healing power of mushrooms. This helped us stay on track even when things were difficult because we knew that a lot of people who were suffering on a daily basis would have a better life because of the work we were doing. Also waking up every day and coming to work in a space where you are growing something with so much beauty like a mushroom used to make work very enjoyable for us. As women, we’re often told that we can’t do something, and have a lot of fear riding behind us, but through Nuvedo there has been a lot of strength in choice, of making decisions that are my own, without any fear, but only a way to move forward. We had the gift of a wonderful team, who is also deeply connected to what mushrooms can do for the planet. This meant that whenever there was a challenge, the team would tackle it together by motivating each other and we cultivated an attitude similar to mushrooms where we view every challenge as an opportunity to evolve and become better.

What are your plans for the future?

We are working on a lot of novel IP’s in the space of functional mushroom extracts both in terms of new products and formulations as well as new technologies for extraction. This will enable us to create more value-added products from mushrooms which we can then supply to different industries such as food, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and beverages. Apart from this, we will be looking at export markets for the same products we have.

How did you manage funds for your startup?

We started really small and then after we were successful with our POC, we used up our savings and raised funds from close friends and family.

What is the biggest hurdle for any startup?

Startup life is full of highs and lows. Situations can change overnight. So the ability to be calm and deal with stress on a day to day basis without it affecting your mental and physical health is one of the biggest hurdles for any startup founder. To know that all problems are only a path to find a solution and one needs to have the grit and determination to power through.

What is your message to women in India looking to start a startup?

More than a social message, it is a message of motivation and courage – often something we don’t get as women to be brave. Bravery in making your own choice, bravery in your own idea, bravery in defending yourself, and bravery to create something different. The business plan and the other things will fall into place, but the strength to be brave, can take you a long way. It is not measurable, but it is something to be kept within.