Harsh Mariwal’s ventures in Wellness sector and P2P learning platform

Behind household names like Saffola and Parachute is a man who had dedicated nearly three decades in the corporate sector and has managed to carve out a niche by transforming the company Marico from a small FMCG player to branching out globally - Harsh Mariwal continues to explore new verticals across various segments.

His health and beauty based healthcare service platform, Kaya has bagged more than 280 awards in the last few years. As of 2017, the annual turnover of the company was Rs.410.3 crores.

AquaCentric therapy centre

At 67, Mariwal has set up his third venture in the Indian wellness segment, a premium physiotherapy centre along with Mumbai-based physiotherapist, Dr Amit Kohli. AquaCentric Therapy is a chain of physiotherapy and rehabilitation facilities that blends land- and water-based therapy, funded through its family fund - Sharrp Ventures.

Mariwala is more inclined towards innovation in healthcare and not hospitals.

I always liked starting new businesses, which are pioneering and innovative especially in the subject of healthcare. There are 3,000 such centres across the world but India has none. The plan is to scale it up to 20-30 centres, each requiring Rs.5-6 crore of investment.

Over the past four years, Harsh Mariwala, has backed at least 15 investments to eight direct funding in companies including Nykaa, Beer Cafe, HealthKart and Mama Earth along with six venture capital funds such as Blume, Exfinity, Fireside Ventures and Amicus Capital.

Introducing P2P experimental learning platform

Besides financing companies, he is leading a peer to peer learning platform - ASCENT to change the narrative of numerous failed attempts suffered by the entrepreneurial ventures. The entire set up cost of the non-profit platform is borne by him.

According to the Marico founder, the struggle of attracting the right talent, team building, and business strategy is the primary challenge that is still being faced by the entrepreneurs. With a firm belief in empirical entrepreneurial experience during the developing phase of an enterprise, Harsh Mariwala introduced ASCENT in 2012, a platform that aims to open up new avenues to create a unique trust-based, learning platform for potential, new-age entrepreneurs.

Clarifying the platform as a go-to place that enables entrepreneurs to share and exchange experiences, ideas, insights and develop their venture rather than an incubation centre for startups, he said

The platform cannot be considered as an incubator or an accelerator as they have financial services vested interest. We look out for entrepreneurs whose business model is by and large proven and has achieved a significant scale. Once we identify synergies with applicants, we invite select entrepreneurs for a group discussion and try to understand their businesses better. We refrain from accepting members who have fixated ideas of doing business.

ASCENT is dedicated to entrepreneurs with a proven profitable and scalable business model and an annual turnover of INR5 crores and above for a manufacturing/products business and INR 1 crore and above for a services business.

Referring to the facilitation of just established entrepreneurs and not budding startups, Harsh Mariwal said,

At present, we do not onboard start-ups, because startup entrepreneurs are caught up with challenges related to day-to-day operations, as opposed to scaling up, unlike SMEs and MSMEs.

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