Kochi-B’luru couple’s startup Nuvedo cashes in on mushroom’s healing powers

Nuvedo co-founders Jashid Hameed and Prithvi Kini at the Shark Tank India show. Photo: Special Arrangement

In mushrooms, they trust – Kochi native Jashid Hameed and his wife Prithvi Kini. It is this trust that sprouted from their personal experiences that led them to co-found Nuvedo, an agri-tech startup which has invested in the purported medicinal value of the humble fungi.

Founded in 2021 in Bengaluru, Nuvedo is into production and sales of kits to grow exotic mushroom kits and also mushroom extracts; a promising yet untapped market. With the unusual products finding a loyal market steadily, the startup is eyeing a turnover of Rs 50 lakh this fiscal.

Hameed, who did his Bachelor of Engineering in Manufacturing from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and PG Diploma in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore took the startup plunge after a three-year stint at Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd as an area operations manager.

Kini, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Lady Shriram College for Women in Delhi and also a yoga trainer, comes with the experience of co-founding a deep-tech startup. The couple shared a common interest in launching an impactful enterprise of their own. They wanted it to be either in the food sector or wellness. 

Nuvedo launched its own mushroom extracts in September 2023. Photo: Special Arrangement

“For one year, we volunteered in several farms in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. It helped us get exposure to multiple ways of farming and crops. However, the more we learned about the sector up and close, we realised that it would take years for us to launch a fully organic farm as we dreamed of. This realisation prompted us to think of something else,” Hameed told Onmanorama.

The answer to their startup quest had come in some packets from the US. “After moving to Bengaluru, frequent allergies started troubling me and I was fed up with taking antihistamines. Then a friend of mine brought me some mushroom extracts from the US, a popular food supplement there. After taking it for three months, my allergy symptoms almost vanished. As Covid started it became difficult to get the product. It was then that I realised there were no Indian brands of mushroom extracts,’ Hameed remembers. Hameed and Kini who were convinced of mushroom’s healing power saw a potential market in India. 

Team Nuvedo. Photo: Special Arrangement

Nuvedo started by launching its mushroom kits which allow anyone to grow and harvest mushrooms from the box. The idea was to tap an existing market of mushroom enthusiasts in an attractive manner. It also served as an awareness creation material. For two years, the company sold only mushroom kits which come in five different types. Nuvedo kept making inroads into its potential markets by regularly conducting awareness events in schools, colleges and NGOs. It also organised a mushroom festival, a first-of-its-kind event in Kerala’s Wayanad.

Meanwhile, the startup collaborated with the Central Food Technology and Research Institute in Mysuru to develop its own extraction technology. They developed a sound wave-based technology which is awaiting a patent. Nuvedo launched its own mushroom extracts in September 2023 and the products come in five categories – one powder and four liquids. Sixty per cent of the company’s revenues come from the extracts. The sales happen online and also through some retail stores. 

The nascent company got a huge boost recently when it was featured on Shark Tank India, the popular business reality show. Nuvedo has also won a Rs 20 lakh grant from the Karnataka government. 

(Startup Saturday is Onmanorama’s weekend series featuring promising startups from Kerala. Find the previous stories here

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