Fullife: India’s leading active nutrition brand

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Eating healthy is always a great habit, and that should be maintained throughout one’s entire life. But then, in a country like India, looking back 10-15 years, there wasn’t anything concrete known as healthy foods other than green leafy veggies. But then, looking towards the present-day scenario, we realize that companies are offering multiple nutritional supplements. One of them standing apart from the rest is Fullife. 

Fullife is a nutraceutical company that aims to elevate the standards of healthy foods by offering premium ingredients and health outcomes to its end users. It’s a company that has transformed the way people eat and provides all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in one go. Speaking with Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, the founder of Fullife, Bangalore insider was excited to know in detail about the company, its operations, and much more. The entire conversation is provided in detail below.

Fullife is a nutraceutical company that aims to elevate the standards of healthy foods by offering premium ingredients and health outcomes to its end users. It’s a company that has transformed the way people eat and provides all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in one go. Speaking with the founder of Fullife, Bangalore insider was excited to know in detail about the company, its operations, and much more. The entire conversation is provided in detail below.

Give a brief info about FullLife?

I started Fullife about 10 years ago. The idea of the company was always about bringing new innovative products into the country and bringing India’s nutraceutical business/industry to a certain level. In 2016, we launched Fast &Up in India. Before that, we were manufacturing a lot of products in India and we are proud to say that Fullife is now become the number one effervescent manufacturer from the country and it was a delivery format that did not exist in the country. India was not known for it and I am super happy to say that we were one of the most key members of building this category of the country also making India known for its effervescent products.

What made you start your Fullife and what problem does it solve?

I started Fullife as I saw a complete need gap in India when it came to nutrition supplements. There always substandard quality being pushed in the country and everything was either very old school or launched in India maybe 10 years later. There was a massive gap I saw that as a young millennial country, we were still really behind on its nutrition and supplements category. Also in terms of delivery formats, people always considered like customers will never pay the price for quality. But I think this was a major misconception. I really wanted to break this and bring in delivery format switch maybe a little bit more premium but also have a lot quality behind them. We set up facilities to create products that are quality and scientifically driven. We spend great efforts in R&D of each product for sourcing the best ingredients get that certified to the right place is not certified for the sake of it. We are making sure that consistently the same quality is maintained across all our products.

I started Fullife as I saw a complete need gap in India when it came to nutrition supplements. There always substandard quality being pushed in the country and everything was either very old school or launched in India maybe 10 years later. There was a massive gap I saw that as a young millennial country, we were still really behind on its nutrition and supplements category. Also in terms of delivery formats, people always considered like customers will never pay the price for quality. But I think this was a major misconception. I really wanted to break this and bring in delivery format switch maybe a little bit more premium but also have a lot quality behind them. We set up facilities to create products that are quality and scientifically driven. We spend great efforts in R&D of each product for sourcing the best ingredients get that certified to the right place is not certified for the sake of it. We are making sure that consistently the same quality is maintained across all our products.

I also wanted to bring India on the map when it comes to Effervescent products to be known for good quality and technological platform but unfortunately India was nowhere on the map when we had started. We are proud to say that India now is one of the key players in this space and we are the largest producers.  I wanted to make sure that there were options available of good quality high-quality products and bringing innovative ideas for customers in the country. We source and manufacture the best quality ingredients and best technology for our customers whole objective.

Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this Fullife?

I graduated with majors in Biotechnology from the University of Leeds, UK and always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I studied biotechnology because biology was my strong subject, and I was not very good at math. With biology, I always wanted to see how you can use biology and applications at a human or consumer level or add even in environmental level. Which is why I took up biotechnology. During my college days, I done a few internships and few odd jobs in university try to pay off some fees. I started Fullife at the age of 23.

Where is your Fullife based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?

We as a company believe in good human resource and passion, this could be found anywhere in the country and therefore, we have teams across the country and abroad. Fullife has a headquarter in Mumbai but the entire beauty of our company is that we are present all around the world. At present, there are two plants in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh with a presence in 15 countries including the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Greece, and the UK.

As a Fullife Founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?

I am more worried about the environment – construction work and cutting down of tress than Fullife. At Fulllife level, I am always concerned about the wellbeing of my team and board members. They all are like family to me. So, I am always thinking about how I can keep it going for them and make work happier for them. I usually have thought about this in the night and constantly thinking about it. I usually get new ideas at the night. I remember, at the beginning of Covid-19 when the rest of the world was really moving in the direction of downsizing, I was clear that I don’t want to do lay off any of my team members due to the pandemic. I have worked to make sure nothing was going to affect the organizational strength and all the team member’s jobs are secure and safe. While I  had committed this to the board, I was trying to constantly think about what I can do to make sure that this is actually possible. I think these are the things that keep me awake at the night. I’m a very people’s person I love my team members and consumers who trust our brand. I always keep them in my prayers.

Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?

Effervescent nutrition segment in India is fast evolving but is still in a nascent stage. While there are very smaller players in the market, Fullife is the largest and oldest manufacturer of effervescent nutrition in the country. We are completely backward and forward integrated. Our product portfolio is Informed-Choice Certified which certainly gives us an edge over others as most brands have a few products that have the ICC tag. A lot of brands are sourcing products from around the world and don’t have quality controls on their own products.  For Fullife and its flagships brands, I can say we are number one when it comes to clean, quality nutrition with the best ingredients that we source and manufacture locally and internationally.  We are miles ahead in every aspect in the country.

How hard is it to have a work-life balance as Fullife founder and how do you manage it?

Today, it not just a challenge for a founder to find a balance but it is a universal challenge for everyone in this DNA age. It is important for everyone, be it my team or board members.  I think it’s it takes a little bit of practice of self-discipline and self-control. It’s really important to have a work-life balance and family time. For me, I feel a managing work-life balance is to integrate work outside and strike times to give you a good cut off to do other things. For example, I usually end or start my day with a  workout. This help striking a balance and gives me time that is dedicated to me; which allows me to put full stops and beginnings to how I start my day.

Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.

In June of 2021, Fullife Healthcare, the start-up which operates the brand Fast&Up for sports nutrition supplements, has raised ₹50 crores. The funding comes in from existing investors Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and Sixth Sense as well as new investor Akash Prakash of Amansa Capital. These are some of the amazing investors, beautiful people with great insights. It is a dream board. Hence the company is someone who is ethical, strong in environmental practices and very sustainable. Social impact is something we have worked on from the beginning. At a company level, we are a beautiful board and have raised funds. It’s an equity built company and going forward if funds are required for growth opportunities, I’m sure we’ll look at it.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?

Okay, so when people see me work they might think I am a workaholic and maybe to some extend I am but I also do take time off. I appreciate the little things in life; I love to spend time with my family and nature.

What gets you excited about this company?

Everything about Fullife gets me excited. I feel like a proud parent every day! What gets me excited is my team and our consumers across the world. Even today, when someone buys our product and says I really loved what it was, I really like how it felt and it gave me what was promised. This really gets me excited and keeps me going. For me, I am always a believer in one thing which is if the product is good, everything else will fall in place.  A lot of effort must be put into the product. I see a lot of companies who would spend a lot of money on their brand name and getting cheap certifications to promote themselves as good and clean. But what I realise is that consumers realise that the product talks, the product has to perform and to behave as promised. Every time, when I get a positive feedback on it just gives me really like really keeps me happy.

As I said earlier, I am a people’s person. I love interacting with my team, to see them grow and I love them to come amazing individuals. I am so blessed to have an amazing board, colleagues and the team. It just makes me incredibly happy to see that a vision that I had has is now become a collective vision for so many people and I think there is no better excitement in that.

Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.

I like to be organised. I usually plan my week in advance.  I look at my coming week either on a Saturday or Sunday to make sure that everything is in place. This helps me identify my call times and me time. I also block out hours for my breakfast, lunch, and workout time during the week on my calendar so that I am not compromising on these things.

I start my day around 7:30 am with just catching up with the family and having a quiet breakfast. I tend to walk a lot while taking my calls, so the first few hours of the day are all catching up with my team members in different parts of the country while walking. It’s something I’m really proud of the last 1 year, working from home I have been able to walk more than 5000 kilometres only on my terrace while doing all my calls. In between, I take my supplements such as multivitamins, electrolytes, and my plant protein as snacks as they help me keep going throughout the day. Around 6 o’clock where I usually tend to end my workday and get to my workout session. It is usually with a trainer or yoga to unwind my day. Sometimes, I have one or two calls after 7 since European counterparts are working after a certain time so I don’t want to make it too early for them. By 8:00 o’clock everything has to be closed because I am the cook of the house so evenings are about cooking dinners and enjoy those dinners with and catching up on some television. Also, I enjoy reading a book or make some notes, maintaining a diary at the night.

Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?

I met all my team members by fate. Either they came in by fate or met the by fate. I believe that hiring is not just a process of selection and interviews. But I think it is also a lot of destiny and fate.  With a lot of my team members, I have built a relationship with which are beyond just work. It a family like brothers or sisters or friends that you have as colleagues. A lot of people working in the organisation are people who I have met somewhere or in other organisations. Most of them are not from the roles they are currently managing. For me, it is the passion and a skill set that matters more than experience which they bring in.

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