This Bengaluru-based startup has built an on-demand marketplace for spiritual gurus
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A pilgrim too submissive before the words of his Guru at Kumbha fair (Kumbhamela), India. (Image credit: Majority World/UIG / Getty Images Israel)

“AadiShakti” has set its eyes on disrupting the spiritual and healing industry

e27

The entrepreneurship boom has seen a lot of novel startups in the recent years. Hundreds of entrepreneurs have built amazing businesses from health to food, groceries to education, personal finance to house utilities.

AadiShakti (named after the Goddess/Supreme being in the Hindu religion) a new entrant, is now trying to organize the spiritual and healing sector by creating a marketplace model for astrologers, numerologists, tarot card readers, vastu experts, reiki masters, pranic healers, yoga and ayurveda experts. The company is also planning to sell books, astrology gems, vastu, feng shui, yoga and AYUSH products to its target audience.

The brain behind AadiShakti is Piyush Deogirikar, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore. He has worked in various capacities in the corporate sector for over 16 years before starting his own venture in 2014. In his previous assignment, he has worked as Acting CEO/COO of Mother Earth Retail (Future Group venture). AadiShakti is being mentored by experts from various fields.

Why AadiShakti

Piyush had plans to start something on his own for a while. The real inspiration came after watching friends and family visiting astrologers for life problems, matchmaking and finding an auspicious time. While some experts were genuine, but some were not, it is this gap formed the foundation of AadiShakti. Not only the industry is extremely fragmented, but also, there is hardly any source of information about any particular expert. Word of mouth and Just Dial are the only real exceptions.

Initial bottlenecks to this idea were the penetration of the internet and availability of good resources in the tech space. The venture was launched in April 2015, however, the groundwork started in 2014.

According to Piyush, a tech intervention to the highly unorganized healing and fortune-telling sector was long overdue.

Size of the industry

Spiritual, Healing and AYUSH industry is estimated to be close to an overwhelming $38 billion market in India. Although, the market has seen an array of startups in the similar space, however, none of the healing and spiritual startups has made it big yet. There is a hope considering the spiritual nature of Indians.

How AadiShakti is disrupting of industry

AadiShakti is trying to create an ecosystem for the Indian consumer. This will give customers numerous choices and a sense of reliability. On the supply side, the company creates detailed profiles of an expert. The profiles have information such as the accomplishment, expertise and pricing details. This is done after a thorough background check of the expert.

The mechanism makes sure that there are fewer chances of a customer getting cheated in the hands of a fraudulent astrology or healing experts. Like most marketplaces, the company has crowdsourced rating system for all the experts listed on its website. Any chance of foul play, therefore, can be negated. Another feature is the price comparison among all its experts. All these features will empower customers to take an informed decision before he selects an expert.

What Aadishakti is doing differently?

The venture is not planning to create yellow pages for healing and astrology industry. Aadishakti is an end to end service provider and aims to help customers from decision making to final consultation and post-purchase services. The company doesn’t work with only with fixed set of experts.  Any expert can list his consulting business and a customer is free to choose anyone they like. Also, AadiShakti website gives the customer an alternative of over 150 services across categories such as spiritual consulting, AYUSH, and healing services.

Services

Customers have been provided with wide range of services. Some of the services offered include astrology, face reading, palm reading, reflexology, Vaastu, yoga, reiki, past life regression, acupuncture, naturopathy, feng shui consulting, aromatherapy, crystal healing, Chinese astrology, numerology etc. Consultation is available on a wide array of subjects such as legal problems, ancestral problems, financial problems, mental distress, relationship problems, career and marriage related issues and so on.

The challenges

One major challenge for a business like AadiShakti was to enter a space which was ruled by experts who are not very tech-savvy. Thus, convincing experts of the tech value add and marketplace model was a major hurdle that the company had to come across. Like any startup, customer acceptability is one of other challenges that the company faced in its initial stages.

The future

The opportunity at this highly fragmented industry is gigantic. The company is trying to leverage it through innovation in tech and great customer support. The Indian startup environment has witnessed a few tech marketplaces take off in various industries. Piyush and team are optimistic of its business model and future.

Featured Image: A pilgrim too submissive before the words of his Guru at Kumbha fair (Kumbhamela), India. (Image credit: Majority World/UIG / Getty Images Israel)

This article originally appeared at e27.co.

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