How Innovist is changing the face of Indian personal care through technology and innovation

Innovist, the parent company of Bare Anatomy, Chemist at Play, and SunScoop, was founded by Rohit Chawla, Sifat Khurana, and Vimal Bhola in 2018. The company is big on innovation. Venturing into all three segments – skincare, haircare and suncare, each of the company’s products is backed by science, having its own research and development laboratory while investing in the systematic study of the needs in consumer skin care.

The Indian market has always been lagging behind in terms of search-driven products. In an effort to bridge this gap, the founders found a way to manufacture products in India in a way that would be easily accessible to consumers. Innovation being their forte, the brand has introduced many products by simply innovating in the formula itself, shaking up said categories.

“Ingredients keep changing as a trend, real science gets lost along the way. The intention of starting this company was to go deep into it and transform the industry from the ground up,” said Rohit Chawla, Founder and CEO of Innovist.

“Over four years we have gained a lot of knowledge on product development, with our own R&D center and manufacturing capabilities now we are extremely confident about our future,” he added.

Innovation galore

With innovation as its backbone, Innovist introduced unfamiliar products to Indian markets like hair tonics with Bare Anatomy, mineral sunscreen with SunScoop and body lotions with actives for Chemist at Play. “Innovation is constant for us; we continue to innovate based on the needs of our consumers, and having direct control over the quality of our products is a key differentiator,” Chawla explained.

Having its own R&D centers and a scientist on board as a co-founder allows the company to play with innovation without any interference from third parties. Sourcing ingredients from around the world and each product undergoing extensive clinical trials, the company is focused on developing products that can be backed by data.

Market strategy

Being D2C since inception, Innovist’s three brands – Bare Anatomy, Chemist at Play and SunScoop – have experienced 100% growth.

“When introducing an unconventional company like ours, you need a much faster return. D2C similarly helped versus going through another channel, accelerating our learning along the way. Being direct with the customer has rewarded our business with approximately 60% of our revenue coming from this channel,” added Chawla.

Getting a positive response from customers, Innovist partnered with Dabur, New U in the north and Health and Glow in the south, while working simultaneously with Reliance and Le Marche. Due to its availability on Amazon and Nykaa, however, Innovist is nearly omnichannel, according to the founder and CEO; the company will focus on offline retail in the coming months while simultaneously expanding its D2C channel.

Investment and financing

In 2022, the company raised $3.2 million in pre-Series A funding. The round was led by existing investors Accel Partners and 72 Ventures, with participation from numerous investors including Sauce (Manu Chandra) and Arihant Patni (Patni Family Office), Jani Ventures Inc, Nihir Parikh, Rashmi Kwatra (Sixteen Street Capital), Kunal Shah (Cred), Alok Mittal and Shripad Nadkarni (Maverix Platforms & Fingerlix).

The company would actively deploy the said funds to strengthen its team, marketing and production with a focus on research and development.

Future plans

The company, now in its fourth year, has seen undeniable growth, all the more so amid the pandemic with the world going online. By taking a D2C approach, she was able to attract the attention needed to grow her customer base.

“Since the start of the current year, our business has grown three times what it was in terms of revenue,” Chawla said.

“Going forward, we plan to serve consumers while constantly taking their feedback and adding products based on needs and gaps. We don’t expect any drastic changes; since innovation is at the heart of our concerns, we plan to do the same,” he added.

With winters approaching, Innovist is set to launch a new body lotion variant with Bare Anatomy. This product is expected to hit the market with mineral sunscreen from SunScoop.

Already available in a few countries, the brand is developing cautiously. Even though Innovist plans to venture into the international market, Chawla believes there is still a lot to do for the Indian market.

“In the next five years, we hope that our brands will be present in all homes,” concluded Rohit Chawla.

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