Startup@IITD: Catering to the nutritional needs of various segments

Cerelia Nutritech is an IP based social enterprise envisions to redefine the delivery of nutrients contributing to the enrichment of quality of life by developing innovative, effective and economical healthcare solutions. The objective of the startup is to augment global efforts for sustainable development goals. With their in-house, scientifically proven transdermal technology, the team aims to cater to the nutritional needs of various segments like adolescent, menstruating, pregnant, post-natal, menopausal, post-menopausal women. They aim to expand this to post-cancer nutrition care and geriatric care. CEO Mr N V V Kiran Vuppala, and Ms Ruchi Singh, CTO of the company talk to Dr Vanita Srivastava and share their journey.

How and when did you start this startup?

 

We have our beginnings rooted to the BIRAC-SIIP program, executed at KIIT-TBI, Bhubaneswar. After 7 month immersion in Odisha and discussion with various stakeholders, we realised that tackling anaemia and micronutrient malnutrition is imperative in nature as these have intergenerational impacts effecting our demographic dividend. After idea and business model validations, formal inception of Cerelia Nutritech Pvt Ltd happened on July 19, 2016.

 

What were the main challenges that you faced?

 

Organising the right team who have a shared vision of the problem that we sought to tackle was one of the profound challenges that we faced apart from funding to develop and establish the proof-of-concept. Through the BIRAC-SIIP grant, baby steps were taken, but, a follow-on funding to take the dream forward was another challenge. We owe our first break-through to Foundation for Innovation & Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT-Delhi and Pfizer India under the “Pfizer IIT Delhi IP & Innovation Program”.

 

How do you face competition from others in the market?

 

We foresee indirect competition from nutrient supplement products in the market. We are developing a product that can enable delivery of micronutrients directly into the blood stream through a moisturiser or body lotion. An apparent lack of confusion and awareness with the existing “topical” cosmetic creams – like “Vitamin E enriched” cream is also another competition that we face. We are confident that an awareness campaign in social and print media substantiated by scientific data would help us establish ourselves in the market.

 

What are your plans for the future?

 

Our immediate next step is to establish scientific validity for our claims through pre-clinical studies. These would be paralleled with an awareness campaign for us to enter into the women’s wellness space under the OTC (over-the-counter) category in line with the existing Indian Govt. pharmaceutical and drug laws. Further funding through equity and/or grants would be explored to enable the transition from proof-of-concept to scale.

 

What is your USP?

 

“Women first, affordable, accessible, available nutrition interventions based on established scientific concepts” is our USP.

 


The Startup Team: (From L-R) N V V Kiran Vuppala, Dipti Mohanty and Ruchi Singh.