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VICCO, the Rs 700-crore ‘Sampoorna Swadeshi’ brand born in a Mumbai kitchen

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Who doesn’t know the VICCO jingle from way back when, when life seemed simpler? This now ubiquitous brand won the hearts and trust of consumers across the country, and the brand is still a favourite across generations.

A complete Swadeshi brand

VICCO, which stands for Vishnu Industrial Chemicals Company, was founded in 1952 to provide chemical-free, therapeutic tooth powder. It was founded by Keshav Pendharkar, who maintained a grocery store and managed a range of small companies in Bandra and other districts of Mumbai during his early career. He saw allopathic medicines and cosmetics such as Ponds, Nivea, and Afghan Snow make inroads into the market.

Sanjeev Mukesh Agrawal, whose grandpa studied ayurvedic scriptures with the help of his brother-in-law, invented VICCO toothpaste. VICCO Vajradanti tooth powder was the company’s first product, and it was created entirely of herbs that cleaned teeth and strengthened gums. In the 1950s, fluoride toothpaste was linked to health problems in children, such as dental fluorosis.

VICCO was the first and only Swadeshi product to compete with cosmetic items in the toothpaste and vanishing cream categories in the Indian market. Sanjeev claims that his grandfather honed his marketing skills by knocking on doors to meet possible buyers. ‘I’m not offering you what you want, but what you need,’ he adds, recalling his grandfather’s words to clients.

Keshav launched VICCO Vajradanti after deciding to turn toothpowder into toothpaste. The product was put in place after seven years of R&D and dealing with tube container difficulties. Gajanan, his son, had graduated from pharmacy school by that time, and he was entrusted with the responsibility.

The VICCO Turmeric Ayurvedic cream promoted turmeric’s therapeutic benefits. However, the product was yellow, rather than the usual dazzling white creams on the market. Keshav modified the marketing strategy by promoting it as a product that promised healthy and bright skin in commercials. The corporation has succeeded in breaking into overseas markets by selling its products in 35 countries, including the United States.

‘Way ahead of its time’

The Central Excise Department argued that VICCO’s products were not ayurvedic medicines in 1978 and assessed taxes on the company under the cosmetic category. The firm battled decades of litigation in civil courts, including the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, with lower courts siding with them. The case was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2003, but the matter was reinstated in 2007 when the court settled the discussion.

With their memorable jingles, VICCO commercials ruled the public sentiments. In 2019, the business also signed Alia Bhatt for a commercial aimed at millennials, with a modern take on the iconic jingle. For healthy teeth and gums, almost every home of the generation relied on VICCO Vajradanti. 

Seven decades later, the Rs 700 crore strong company is still governed by a family, with five brothers playing key roles in company strategy, sales, product launches, export, expansion plans, and other key choices. “There are no shortcuts,” Sanjeev concludes, “and one must put skin in the game and push limitations.”

Business

Facebook to rebrand the company ‘Metaverse’

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Facebook is the world’s largest, and arguably most influential, social media platform, with more than 2.8 billion monthly active users and a net worth as of now of $1 trillion.

It’s safe to say that the majority of our lives rely on Facebook. Recently, Facebook, the parent company of Instagram and WhatsApp, hit the headlines when it went dark for six hours, causing havoc all over the world.

According to a report by The Verge, Facebook is planning to rebrand the company with a new name to focus on building the metaverse. Metaverse, as the term suggests, is a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

According to the report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will reveal the company’s new name on October 28 at the annual Connect conference, but it could be announced sooner.

Facebook, which aspires to be renowned for more than just social networking, revealed on Sunday that it will hire 10,000 people in Europe over the next five years to help construct the metaverse, which the corporation regards as critical to its long-term success.

In July, Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s future lies in the virtual metaverse, in which users will live, work and play inside.

Facebook already has more than 10,000 employees who build consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will be as ubiquitous as smartphones.

The company wants to be known as much more than a “social media” company, and is promising to change the way humanity interacts.

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One to lookout for: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala invests in a furniture startup!

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Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often referred to as India’s own Warren Buffett, is an ace investor with a track record of successful investing. Many treat him as a bellwether, and look to him for guidance and inspiration when it comes to navigating the vagaries of the investing landscape. And so, it would be of interest to investors to know that India’s Big Bull has out his money where his mouth is and invested in a furniture-based startup, Arrivae.

What is Aarivae?

Founded in 2017, Arrivae is a customized full home interior solution provider that enables customers to get the house customers want. From designing the finest homes by some of the finest architects and interior designers to material supplied by some of the most credible vendors. It specializes in providing practical solutions for various situations. Arrivae works in four simple steps; meeting the designer, designs made for customers, intelligent manufacturing and lastly concierge services.

Arrivae raised Rs 50 crore in its first round of external funding, backed by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Enam family, Siddharth Yog (Founder, Xander Group), Anand Jain (Chairman, Jai Corp), Harsh Jain (Founder, Dream 11), and Ramesh S. Damani (Chairman, DMart) all participated in the fundraising round.

“At Arrivae, we’re still in the early phases of our plan to build India’s most comprehensive home renovation ecosystem. Partnerships are important to us at Arrivae because they help us build brand confidence in the ecosystem, especially among customers.” said founder Yash Kela.

Kela rounded things off by saying, “All the veterans who have participated in this round will enable more faith in the Arrivae brand.”

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The right pricing will be crucial for the launch of Zydus Cadila’s vaccine.

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The destiny of Zydus Cadila’s Covid vaccine is in doubt, as the vaccine’s price appears to be delaying its introduction into the vaccination program. The business has received emergency use authorization from the FDA to inject its Covid vaccine, ZyCoV-D, to children aged 12 to 18.

Zydus Cadila, located in Ahmedabad, has imported the pharmaJet, a needle-free applicator for painless intradermal vaccine delivery. 

Each jet is responsible for delivering a specific amount of vaccination. 

As a result, a single dose is split into two shots, one for each arm. “It’s an expensive device and hence jacks up the overall price,” a government official said.

Around 20,000 dosages can be administered with the jet injector.

The government has been purchasing Covaxin at 225 per dosage and Covishield, another Covid vaccine developed in India, at 215 per dose.

The price of the Zydus Cadila vaccine, according to Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, will be significantly more than that of existing vaccines.

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