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Fitness startup Sarva attracts investment from Jennifer Lopez, Malaika Arora; aims to set up 500 centres in India by 2022

An urge to make something of his life that fulfils a purpose and helps people at large made 27 year-old Sarvesh Shashi zero in on what he knows best—yoga. At 23, Shashi set up his first brick and mortar centre at Chennai in 2014, where he was raised. The funds for the venture was raised through unsecured loans. He says the aim is to ‘connect 7 billion breaths’ through physical yoga, meditation among other disciplines. Sarva offers more than 25 forms of yoga with a range of interesting props, curated dance routines, and other workout options inside their studios.

In a first-of-its-kind move, pop icon Jennifer Lopez, American baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, Bollywood actress Malaika Arora, and Zumba, the largest branded fitness program in the world, have come together to raise around $6-$8 million  in Sarva, the yoga and wellness start-up. The curated list of people who make up this roster are personalities like David Giampaolo, chief executive Pi Capital, Mark Mastrov, Founder, 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, and, Bill Roedy, former Chairman & CEO, MTV Networks, among many others.

Commenting on her investment in Sarva, Jennifer Lopez, singer, dancer, actor, and global icon said, "I have personally benefited from my regular practice of yoga and believe that it has made a difference to my life both physically and mindfully. The enthusiasm that Sarvesh brings to SARVA is promising and infectious. I believe in the vision of SARVA and view it as a great common ground for a brilliant investment opportunity along with co-creating and serving a global community."

Bollywood diva Malaika Arora said, “Six months ago, SARVA and I partnered to start Diva Yoga, a unique studio concept for women only and we are overwhelmed with the way it has evolved. I am happy to look beyond and invest in SARVA, becoming a part of the overall company that comes with a vision of connecting seven billion breaths globally, using finesse and a hi-tech approach.”

Happy at how things turned out for him, Shashi the yogi-turned entrepreneur reveals that he did not set out to be an entrepreneur while growing up. He had set his heart to become a cricketer. He was trained in yoga early from age of 6 and as he went deeper into the art form and added meditation to it, founded it therapeutic. It also helped he found a spiritual guru who fine-tuned the art of the spiritual and the practical. Shashi turned his dream to one that would impact many and decided on yoga—an art form he was practicing for long.

“Yoga changed my life. My family is into exports and trades in textiles, and also runs educational institutions. I did not want to get into the family business but wanted to go solo,” said Shashi to Firstpost, outlining his startup’s plans.

 Fitness startup Sarva attracts investment from Jennifer Lopez, Malaika Arora; aims to set up 500 centres in India by 2022

Sarvesh Shashi, Founder and CEO, Sarva. Pic courtesy: Sarva

Called Sarva, which besides echoing his name also means all, and the first centre was opened in Chennai. Sarva aims to build a global community of physically, mentally and emotionally fit individuals, achieved through yoga, mindfulness, movement and beyond. Sarva aims to provide for the same through state-of-the-art brick and mortar studios, accessible and interactive technology, and lifestyle products. Since 2016 to now, it has 91 studios across India, clustering Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. Its next cluster will include the other metros of the country.

"Stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression and obesity have become a global epidemic for people of all ages and we are trying to curate physical and digital offerings and services for different needs, ages and geographies to help people empower themselves with the tools to lead better lives,"  Shashi said.

In a bid to create its international footprint, over the next few years, it will continue to evaluate market opportunities in USA, UK, and Middle East once it has penetrated the already existing very large Indian market, Shashi said.

Besides brick and mortar centres, Sarva will also invest in a digital platform to build a global community of over 100 million over the next three years. The app will go live from September. Monthly fees for a yoga session at a Sarva centre costs Rs 3,000.

Globally, the health and wellness industry is around $4.2 trillion; the fitness, mind, and body segment accounts for $595 billion, and the global yoga market constitutes $80 billion, thus opening limitless possibilities for the brand by displaying authenticity to organise the yoga and mindfulness space, both in India and rest of the world, he said. Having broken even from first month of setting up its studio in Chennai, Sarva aims to get 'at least 5 percent' of the global yoga market of $80 billion.

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Updated Date: May 03, 2019 12:26:07 IST