World of Hemp Global
Today we have with us Anav Jain, the founder of World of Hemp Global. His company deals with the manufacturing and selling of hemp based medicinal products across the globe. Read ahead to know more about his journey with the company so far.
How did you start World of Hemp Global and what does it do? Could you please share your journey from the initial idea to the stage where you are currently?
World of Hemp Global is a 2 year old company which started in November 2018. I come from a law background and I was working under a lawyer in the Supreme Court when the idea of World of Hemp struck me. It was while working on a case when I learnt that Uttarakhand is the first state to legalise the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp – a form of cannabis such as marijuana. This field was completely new to me and hence I started with a lot of research to understand it better. I realised how massive this industry is with over thousands of products that can be manufactured from this crop, thus creating huge potential. This is the only magical plant in the world where every composition of the plant is used in making something or the other such as medicines, paper, cosmetics, fibre, food products rich in omega, vegetable oils, etc. I learnt that this industry is very well developed internationally, but there is very little recognition in India. This is ironic because hemp is a crop of Indian origin with India having immense resources of hemp grown in the wild while every single country except India is doing commercial cultivation.. So this is how I came up with the idea of World of Hemp.
To get into the industry, we first created an e-commerce marketplace which took us 2-3 months to build and by April 2019 we brought different company’s products on our platform and started trading them in India and outside. We also reached out to various international brands to sell their products using our platform in order to maximise our outreach. We learnt that there was no manufacturing happening in India leading to an unstable product line. Realising the value that can be created through manufacturing, we decided to make a pivot from e-commerce to large scale manufacturing. We chose the medicinal cannabis industry, got the necessary license and permits and started reaching out to international clients and shipping our product samples to them. This is how our journey started.
Can you help us understand the product and the production process in a bit detail?
Our products are made out of medical cannabis and are approved by drug controllers. We are primarily working in 60 areas and our medicinal products are used in the treatment of cancer, seizure, mental health issues and so on. We get the raw material biomass from the government and process that into finished products like tablets, capsules, softgels, etc. We have our manufacturing facilities in 3 places currently – Delhi, Haryana and UP
What has been your major operational segment? Are you focusing more on the B2B or the B2C channels for growth??
Before the pandemic hit, we were primarily focusing on international clients because this industry is more developed there and our large scale agenda was B2B. We would identify companies on social media and the internet and reach out to them. We would ship out our samples and once approved proceed with the commercial transaction. However, when the pandemic hit, our international demand suffered. However, a lot of people who got to know about us through media coverages , started reaching out to us for medication. Our customers were highly satisfied with our products and they started recommending us to others as well. And the supply constraint created by the lockdown helped us to expand our B2C market pan India..
In 6-7 months, we dealt with approximately 700 patients. As time went by, the doctors and patients that we were associated with, suggested that we start our own brand. Realising this opportunity, we decided to launch our brand around diwali with 2 medicines and within 2 months, we have been able to build products for 200 patients without any marketing channel. Patients have seen substantial results after using our products. This was our transition from a B2B business to a B2C brand.
We go by the brand Total Key and we have about 22 doctors prescribing our medicines across 3 hospitals. We were able to achieve all of this without any paid marketing outreach, purely on referral basis. We have 204 approved medications under our brand name, which is larger than any other company in India. .
Which target industries are you currently focussing on?
We are currently focusing only on the medicine industry but we do have plans to expand in other segments in the near future.
As you mentioned hemp is originally an Indian crop with Indian hemp being one of the best quality products out there. Do you thus see an export potential in the industry as well?
We see a strong export potential for the Indian hemp market on account of multiple advantageous factors. Firstly, cannabis being a natural product, the raw material is available in abundance in India throughout the year whereas commercial cultivation that happens in the US or Europe is seasonal. Thus, we are able to support a 24/7 365 demand for industrial hemp. Secondly,the cost of production in India is much cheaper than abroad. Thirdly, the molecular and atomic compounds that are present in the Indian crop happens to be very rich in comparison to the commercially grown crops elsewhere thus presenting us with a strong quality advantage. This is primarily why Indian products have a lot of demand internationally and thus, we are targeting at exporting our products.
What have been the key challenges and learnings throughout the journey?
Key challenges would firstly be the regulatory framework. We need to understand the various policies formulated by the government and how we can benefit from the current structure of these policies.
Secondly, we understand that medical cannabis originates in India so there are a few companies that are advocating these plants to the general market and are very proactive in this area. But the problem is that a few unlicensed brands here are importing cheap alternatives and undercutting the licensed manufacturers. So the brands who talk about cannabis belonging to our roots but end up performing something which is completely opposite to their verbal commitments have been a major challenge. This raises another difficulty parallely as the fear of misuse on account of such practices is restricting the government from formulating more business friendly policies because the government agencies have this mindset that if they make more business friendly policies, then a lot of people will misuse it.
Third challenge has been doing outreach and partnerships with the right people so that patients and doctors are able to adopt these medications and see substantial results over the current system of medications. Most people currently are not able to judge which product is right for them and they are unsure of even switching to different brands since the previous one didn’t work. Thus, our primary objective has been educating people about the illegal selling of these products and requesting them to stick to licensed Indian products only.
What is the future scope of this entire industry and what do you have in plan for your company in the near future?
This industry has huge potential because the products are eco friendly, sustainable and carbon free. If the illegal work is curbed, then the government will also become receptive and support us.
In the near future, we are looking to collaborate for growing both our B2B and B2C segments. We are exploring the option of collaborating with allopathic pharma manufacturers as well. Additionally, we want to export our products internationally. On the B2C front, we want to collaborate with distributors pan-India who can take our products to multiple patients and doctors.