In a world where unsponge and unpaper are the order of the day, why not untube?
That’s what Bengaluru-based D2C startupwould have you do. Founded in 2020, Live-A-Bit is a sustainable and innovative oral care brand that offers solid plant-based formulations such as toothpaste and mouthwash tablets.
Ravinder Sharma, Founder of Live-a-bit, believes that oral care is vital but often taken for granted.
“Oral care has been neglected in India. It is not considered a top health and wellness priority and India is currently sitting on a ticking oral health care time bomb,” he says.
Around half of the world’s population suffers from oral diseases, and about 4 out of 5 adults and 1 out of 2 kids have some sort of oral health problem, as per the World Health Organisation. The same report reveals that the oral care industry happens to be the world’s second largest plastic polluter.
Sharma decided to launch Live-A-Bit with the goal of helping more people embrace responsible oral care and undoing practices that are likely to negatively impact the planet’s health. The brand offers sustainable products such as untubed toothpaste, unbottled mouthwash, and under-manufactured toothbrushes that replace plastic with biodegradable wood.
The founder initially invested $400K from his personal savings to bootstrap the startup, which functions on three operating pillars: perform, preserve, and pledge.
Live-A-Bit ran more than 600 trials for about 12 months before products were submitted for regulatory approval. Its Teeth-a-bit range now offers solid formulations for toothpaste and mouthwash products, with presence in symptomatic segments like multi-protection and sensitivity, and teeth whitening.
The products are designed and formulated by the in-house R&D team, which collectively has more than “40 years of experience”. It has a contract manufacturing licence and plans to operate an asset-light model.
The startup has secured regulatory approval for 55 products and offers over 80 SKUs in 27,000 pin codes.
The D2C platform also allows consumers to build their own oral care kits based on their preferences.
Each bottle has 60 bits (tablets). According to the founder, each tablet has the perfect dosage for individuals to clean their teeth every day – aided by some water.
“While keeping sustainability a priority and making it travel-friendly and eco-friendly, we are using reusable glass bottles for packaging,” Sharma says.
The startup also has a range of neem and bamboo toothbrushes for adults and kids.
“We have under-manufactured toothbrushes that replace plastic with biodegradable neem wood and bamboo,” he adds.
He adds that all products are suitable for children over the age of five and contain no water, preservatives, dyes, artificial colours, toxins, parabens, or SLS. Flavours and excipients are imported from the United States, menthol from Spain, and the botanicals are sourced from India.
Teeth-a-bit recently launched variants like multi-protection toothpaste bits for adults (13+), kids’ multi-protection toothpaste bits (5-12 years), adults’ multi-protection mouthwash bits, teeth whitening bits, and whitening gel.
“We are the first in the world to launch kids’ toothpaste in teddy bear-shaped tablets and flavours that encourage healthy brushing rituals,” Sharma says.
The growth numbers
The founder says Live-a-bit is not only a brand name, it’s a “call to action to do your bit for a better world”. “Our mission is to provide responsible oral care,” he says.
Liv-a-bit has around 11,000 customers and a 38% retention rate.
It has a presence on over 15 online platforms, including Amazon, Flipkart, Amala Earth, Tata 1Mg, Big Basket, and Angry Earth, and offline stores such as The Organic World.
About 90% of business comes from D2C sales in Tier I towns. The platform is hoping to make the online-offline ratio 70:30 in the near future.
“With rigorous R&D and engineered products, our entire product portfolio is proven effective with cleaner ingredients and less burdensome on the planet with reduced plastic,” Sharma says.
The way ahead
According to IMARC Group, the Indian oral hygiene market was valued at $1,844 million in 2022 and is expected to reach $2,586.3 million by 2028, at a CAGR of 5.3% between 2023 and 2028.
Liv-a-bit presently has a presence in 20 offline stores in Bangalore and Hyderabad and intends to expand distribution to 5,000 stores in India in the next 18–24 months.
It also has plans to onboard over one lakh customers in the next 24 months.
“We are also looking to raise funds to expand our footprint to the US, the UAE, and Australia by the third quarter,” Sharma says.
Edited by Teja Lele