Power couples unite! Here are some success stories of businesses in the wellness sector run by couples:

From e-clinics to e-classes and e-consultations, these couples moved between independent and interdependent careers and lives and achieved high-level professional success

author_img Khushboo Ramnane Published :  06th March 2022 07:04 PM   |   Published :   |  06th March 2022 07:04 PM
Devika Mohapatra (standing) and Ryan Fernando

Devika Mohapatra (standing) and Ryan Fernando

In the gamut of complete wellbeing, nutrition, movement and screenings are the pillars that preventive healthcare rests on. A few ‘power couples’ in India joined their forces during the pandemic to build entities that served a unique class of people who put health, nutrition and fitness ahead of other things. From e-clinics to e-classes and e-consultations, these couples moved between independent and interdependent careers and lives and achieved high-level professional success, significantly contributing to their respective fields. What drives these couples, their philosophy and how have they pivoted when the chips were down? 

Tarun Sardesai remembers the moment vividly. He was in Morocco with his wife Rokhsar Vakharia, contemplating the next step—to become a high-performance coach. Vakharia put all the plans on a PowerPoint presentation like a SWOT analysis and things fell in place. He managed to acquire land for his academy. Tarun Sardesai Golf Academy happened in Kolar, 65 km away from Bengaluru, in 2013. Soon, Vakharia left her job as a data expert to join him. They started conducting weekend as well as short-term residential programmes.

The academy eventually became India’s only residential golf academy. It was voted as the Best Golf Academy by the Golf Industry Association of India in 2020-21 and ace golfer Aditi Ashok (Arjuna Awardee and two-time Olympian) is their first success story. Sardesai had trained Aditi from the time she was eight years old for a few years. Vakharia says, “Golf has grown 60 per cent worldwide in the pandemic years. Sports like golf build up the immune system and toughen you up mentally.” Sardesai elaborates, “Sports prepare you to lose well and someone who has learnt how to handle a loss is prepared to face what life throws at them. This builds resilience which aids mental wellbeing.”

Ryan Fernando was employed by a supplement manufacturing firm—where he pitched them to start nutrition services in four boardroom meetings. When his concept was politely rejected, his wife Devika Mohapatra gave him the push to take on the adventure of starting his own firm; she would provide the financial stability. Thus was born Qua Nutrition, a gene-based personalised nutrition service provider. Started in Bengaluru in the year 2011, the nutrition brand has a physical presence across India and an online presence too.

Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, Shwetambari Shetty followed her dream and started Tribe. It is India’s first multi-format studio with CrossFit and other fitness formats in Indiranagar. Her husband Vivek Chandran joined her and eventually, Tribe got acquired by Mukesh Bansal of Myntra. Next thing you know, Cure.Fit happened. Shetty is the face of Cure.Fit, an offline and online fitness brand. Chandran is a CrossFit practitioner.

Shetty’s cult dance fit format is the most sought-after and most attended class in the Cure.Fit spectrum of services and she was chosen as India’s third fittest woman consecutively at the CrossFit Open 2016 and 2017.  Shetty also published a book with Penguin titled Get Moving! in 2020. “We don’t miss a single day of workout. We ensure we are physically so active that it truly helps us mentally and emotionally,” she says. Their advice to couples is to be a source of motivation and inspiration to each other. “Everyone needs an accountability buddy. Be that buddy. Just start and start slow.” 

Dr Dipali and Dr Yash Pandey are sports rehab physiotherapists with celebrity clients like footballer and Indian women’s team captain Ashalata Devi, tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Sumit Nagal; Thomas Bobby Phillip, India’s best/fastest long-distance barefoot marathon runner and more. They wanted to give athletes a place where everything related to sports injuries and performance would be taken care of. “In India, 99 percent of physio clinics are still treating pain using electric modalities.

There are hardly handful of clinics that provide the kind of pain management that we do. In our minds we don’t live in a world of competition, rather in a world of opportunities; it took us time to get here.” While their clinic is in Bengaluru, they travel with sports teams—football and tennis—besides providing online consultancy.

The story of Prachi and Dhruv Gupta is equally fascinating. Serial entrepreneur Dhruv and his wife founded FitHo, which got acquired by Practo in 2015. The fitness enthusiasts also published a book Losing It: Making Weight Loss Simple with Pan MacMillan. In 2020, just after the first wave, Dhruv went on to build Orange Health, a diagnostic lab brand. It is into automated booking through WhatsApp, prompt customer care, hygiene and cutting down the anxiety on wait time with same day (sometimes a few hours) reports. Today they are the second-largest lab in Bengaluru.