Operational since July 2020, the D2C brand offers 26 SKUs under four categories, addressing a spectrum of issues such as men’s sexual health, intimate hygiene and wellness
It claims a 50%+ customer revenue retention rate and ships 60K+ orders per month
Bold Care lowered its TAT on deliveries from 2.2 to 1.7 days by leveraging Shiprocket’s fulfillment centers
A 2018 study by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care revealed that sexual health was one of the most poorly recognised public health issues in India. The social taboo and a lack of awareness surrounding sexual disorders often generate misinformation or make it a lurid topic attracting unsavoury attention. Unsurprisingly, people with such conditions consult quacks and crooked faith healers to avoid humiliation.
Although sexual wellness companies were few and far between at the time, four childhood friends decided to change the narrative around men’s wellness and sexual health. Rajat Jadhav, Rahul Krishnan, Harsh Singh and Mohit Yadav were inspired by the rising demand for verticalised offerings pioneered by direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands like MamaEarth and WoW Skin Science. After working on their idea for a year, they launched the end-to-end men’s wellness platform Bold Care in July, 2020.
“Sexual health is a stigmatised topic in India. If someone is suffering from a sexual disorder, they would prefer to seek help from someone who can offer them discrete and personalised experiences. We also noticed that the D2C model appealed to modern users. So, we decided to leverage it,” said Jadhav, founder of Bold Care.
Apart from developing a safe platform for discussions around men’s sexual health, the Mumbai-based D2C brand offers a lineup of 26 SKUs under four categories, including sexual health , hair care, daily nutritional health and hygiene. Bold Care’s products are available on its website, boldcare.in as the brand is primarily selling directly to consumers. It also offers free online consultations from licensed sexologists and urologists with more than ten years of experience.
Bold Care began its journey with 100 customers in July 2020. Now it claims to have reached 5 Lakh customers, shipping more than 60K monthly orders and clocking a 3x revenue jump in the last seven months. The company has a customer revenue retention rate of over 50% and anticipates more than 250% YoY revenue growth by FY23.
How Growth Drivers, Challenges Shaped Bold Care’s Journey
Although the concept was somewhat new, the entrepreneurs had adequate knowledge of the startup ecosystem. Before setting up Bold Care, Jadhav and Krishnan used to run an e-pharmacy called ReMedi. It was an aggregation platform similar to PharmEasy and connected buyers with local pharmacists. The company had a short lifespan and was shuttered after a year. But by then, the duo had gained some valuable knowledge that would help them in the next venture.
“At ReMedi, more than 25% of our customers used to order sexual health products, be it nutraceuticals, medicines or over-the-counter products. It was the largest category we were catering to,” recalled Jadhav.
“Interestingly, one of the largest e-consultation companies in India also told us that even after scaling for many years, more than 15% of its business comes from sexual health consultation,” he said. These findings helped them navigate the market feasibility before launching Bold Care.
Nevertheless, the startup struggled initially as few enablers had clarity about the concept. “Few of the top marketplaces refused us outright. Many payment gateways also shut us out, thinking we were a sham,” said Jadhav but did not disclose the names.
It took much convincing to establish that the brand is a genuine problem solver. However, Jadhav had earlier worked for a VC firm (growX Ventures). This allowed him the opportunity to speak to many leading stakeholders across the ecommerce space, eventually opening the doors of D2C and digital commerce.
Apart from its website being the primary channel of sales, Bold Care has adopted a multi-channel approach and sells its products through marketplaces such as Nykaa, Flipkart, Amazon, PharmEasy, Swiggy Instamart and more.
The founder further claims that Bold Care has earned its credibility due to the right positioning. It has ‘differentiated’ itself as a healthcare brand from the beginning, and this has helped a strong brand recall.
“We do not use crass sexualisation to sell our products which is often the case with quacks and certain practitioners. Moreover, we have conscious packaging designs, and users can put these products on their bedside tables without hesitation,” said Jadhav.
The D2C brand offers an extensive range of products geared towards a spectrum of issues such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, infertility, hair fall and more. It claims that its products have a 95% efficacy rate and on an average, cost around INR 400-800. Post-development, the supplements are tested by an NABL-accredited lab (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) before hitting the market.
“We also provide free online doctor consultation as an auxiliary service. The doctors on the platform write a prescription for the users to help them make an informed decision. If a user already has a prescription, they can directly reach Bold Care through its website or WhatsApp and the D2C brand directly delivers it to the user,” said Jadhav.
Although the brand does everything in-house, from product designing and packaging to marketing, the manufacturing part is outsourced to six companies located in Mumbai, Gujarat and Baddi .
How Shiprocket Removed The Logistics Roadblocks
Although sexual health and wellness is a tough category to crack due to lack of awareness and the social stigma attached, quite a few startups in this space have emerged in recent years, providing access to medicines, supplements and therapies along with discreet consultations. These include the likes of Bold Care, Man Matters, Cureveda, Manforce, Himalaya and Misters.in. The sexual health market has also grown significantly in recent years. According to Allied Market Research, India’s sexual wellness market was valued at $1.15 Bn in 2020, and is estimated to reach $2.09 Bn by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.8%.
Bold Care has leveraged this newfound market growth and caught investor interest. The startup, a part of the Huddle accelerator cohort, raised seed funding in November 2021 from Rajesh Ranavat, executive director of Fung Investments. In January 2022, it raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A from NB Ventures, Sharrp Ventures, Anthill Ventures, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and Shiprocket. Huddle also took part in the round.
But just like many other D2C startups, it initially struggled with operational challenges like logistics glitches and frequent RTOs (return to origin) that started eating into the business.
Jadhav claimed that the brand struggled with very high RTOs as it did not have any warehouses. In March 2021, it launched its own warehouses across six locations in India and was able bring down its RTOs from 35% to 16%. However, managing and scaling its own warehouses became a herculean task over time.
Bold Care replaced its warehouses with Shiprocket’s solutions to improve its delivery speed and started using the latter’s fulfillment centers in April 2022. “We witnessed immediate scale up, lower RTOs and got access to features that we couldn’t have built ourselves,” said Jadhav.
“We were able to bring down our TAT on deliveries from two days to 1.7 days, which made a massive difference in customer satisfaction,” he added. The company further reduced its RTO from 16% to 9% in about four months.
“Enablers like Shiprocket are solving critical deep logistics problems that D2C brands usually face. The 3PL company has created a robust ecosystem that allows players like us to manage RTOs and NDRs (non-delivery reports) and ship products across India,” said Jadhav.
How Bold Care Plans To Push Its Growth
According to Jadhav, the men’s wellness brand is still in its initial phase of growth, and a lot of work needs to be done to build trust and comfort around the topic of men’s sexual health. “In the first three years, we want to focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities and build a company that people can trust. We want to build trust for our users, and then we will move to smaller towns and Tier 3 regions,” he said.
The brand is expanding its portfolio and has successfully launched intimate hygiene and nutrition products in the past two months. “Our sugar-free nutritional gummies did exceptionally well. We were sold out within 10 days,” said Jadhav. The startup aims to raise a Series A round by the end of this year to accelerate growth.
The D2C model has opened a world of opportunities for brands like Bold Care that thrive on consumer trust. As per Inc42’s State Of Indian Ecommerce report, the country’s D2C economy is pegged to reach $300 Bn by 2030, accounting for 75% of the $400 Bn ecommerce opportunity. This also underlines the vast potential of D2C brands to disrupt the market by offering personalised experiences.
But there is more to it than the convenient access to online products.
For years, few companies (especially Big Pharma) have looked beyond the little blue pill to help people cope with sexual health issues. However, consumers today are looking for expert advice, holistic solutions and outstanding experiences clubbed together in a single place, the way Bold Care aims to do. Add to that the logistics excellence provided by enablers like Shiprocket that ensures efficient warehousing and inventory management, quick last-mile deliveries and easy returns, and Bold Care and its ilk are bound to override taboo areas to emerge as brands of trust.