- The 29-year-old founder and CEO of a wellness startup, Sarva amassed a star-studded constellation of investors ranging from Hollywood celebs to B-town actresses.
- The mobile app for the same, named ‘Sarva- Yoga and Mindfulness’ launched in March 2020 has gathered immense popularity and success among health and fitness fanatics.
- In the post-pandemic era, there is an indispensable need to get into the habit of practising yoga and making it a way of life to beat health evils like stress, anxiety and obesity.
Founder and CEO of a booming wellness startup named Sarva, 29-year-old Sarvesh Shashi has embarked on a journey with an objective to unite seven million people through the medium of yoga. He also has a mobile application that goes by the same name. The foundation for the startup was laid by Sarvesh in the year 2013 and by 2019 the startup was booming and turned out to be a sensation among fitness enthusiasts and yoga seekers.
Sarvesh, who was born in Kerela and based out of Chennai is a university dropout and a first-time entrepreneur. The initial name of the startup was Zorba which was then rebranded to Sarva in the year 2016 when Sarvesh was just 21.
With over 400 staff in over 92 studios across 32 cities in India, the company was all set to make a mark overseas beginning with three studios in London. Reminiscing about older days, the 29-year-old revealed that he had initially joked about Sarva being regarded as “Starbucks for yoga”. He went on to say why he has this thought in the first place. He compared the studio to a place where you find friends and don’t ever want to leave. It would resemble a coffee shop but for yoga, aimed at engaging the optical, audible, tactile, olfactory and kinesthetic senses coupled with warm lights, a pleasant sight and a recognizable homely scent that soothes the mind, melodic music, embracing touch and a lively vibe.
Along the course of their journey, the organisation amassed over the US $11 million glitzy investors viz. American celeb Jennifer Lopez, private equity investor and British entrepreneur, David Giampolo, popular B-town actress Malaika Arora alongside fitness enterprise Zumba Fitness LLC. Sarvesh says that each investor is a firm believer in the power of yoga and are clear about the authenticity of the core offering.
The pandemic caused India to enter into a strict lockdown, Sarva had to shut down all their studios except two which were functional and the staff headcount was reduced to 75. Notwithstanding all obstacles and far from being demolished, it resurged from the pandemic meltdown and reinvented itself as a completely digital platform via a mobile application known as ‘Sarva- Yoga and Mindfulness’.
The app, launched in March 2020, offers 1500 hours of yoga video content in multilingual options, audio content for meditation, along with yoga teacher training and certification. This training, as Shashi says would be imparted from the best instructors from top schools with origin from the birthplace of yoga (India).
Prices range from 5.99 USD for a monthly plan to US 84.99 USD for a lifetime one. This is an excellent value proposition, says Shashi that an average 1 hour live yoga class would cost somewhere around 30 USD while an online would amount to approximately 10 USD.
The pandemic has taken a toll on the entire world and Sarva is directed at helping people in these tough times. Shashi and the team have been urging people to start out with yoga with the #Start TohKaro hashtag and that has been a prime focus for the company since the International Day of Yoga.
Within just 17 months, the app has received 750,000 downloads reveals Shashi. Since 2020, the quarter-on-quarter growth has averaged 100%. The app aims at accelerating growth in India, USA and UK for 2022.
The year 2020 has witnessed an alarming decline in the physical and mental health of individuals of all ages suffering from a varied range of illnesses viz. depression, chronic insomnia, diabetes, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), self-esteem issues and obesity. Sarvesh opinionates that there is no better time to start yoga than now when there is rampant stress, anxiety and obesity evident among the masses.