86-year-old scrapes ‘retirement’ from his dictionary to become a startup founder


  • Avimee Herbal produces hair and skin care products with a mix of Ayurvedic and modern ingredients.
  • Founded in 2021, Avimee is the brainchild of 86-year-old Radha Krishna Choudhary.
  • As the startup walked away without a deal, Choudhary’s attitude and determination inspired the sharks.

From founders still in college to working moms, people of all ages have shown up Shark cage India S2. But Radha Krishna Choudhary stands out from the crowd – as the oldest entrepreneur to appear on the show.

At the age of 86, Radha Krishna Choudhary appeared on the show with four of his relatives to pitch his startup, Avimee Herbal. The startup produces hair and skin care products with a mix of Ayurvedic and modern ingredients.

“Through my knowledge and passion for Ayurveda, I want to solve people’s hair and skin problems and spread happiness. I’ve decided to grow people’s hair back,” Choudhary claimed on the show.

Gujarat-based startup Avimee launched in August 2021 with three products. Today it has 27 products on offer and is about to launch in Dubai. The products are available on the company’s website and marketplaces such as Amazon. Avimee claims to have sold products worth ₹6.5 crore in FY22 with no marketing expenses.

The ‘nanaji’ who became an entrepreneur

The founding members of Avimee are Choudhary’s daughter, Vinita Aggarwal, grandsons Vibhor and Siddhant Aggarwal, and Siddhant’s wife, Ambika Aggarwal. But it is the brainchild of Choudhary aka Nanaji.

Originally from Bihar, Choudhary completed his graduation in commerce in 1957. He was only 10 when India gained independence. He was interested in Ayurveda since he was a child, and spent his life studying it.

He has done research on Ayurveda and hair loss more than three decades. But it wasn’t until Covid that he put his knowledge to the test – for his daughter. After recovering from Covid, Vinita suffered from extreme hair loss. Then Choudhary developed hair oil to help her.

“I decided to solve my daughter’s hair loss problem at all costs. I have prepared a formula after thorough research. I prepared an oil with miraculous results… When I finished making the oil and asked her (his daughter) to apply it, she said: No daddy, you apply first!” shared Choudhary on the show.

The hair oil proved to be effective not only for Vinita, but even for Choudhary, who claimed to have grown back hair on his formerly bald head at the age of 85. Impressed by the benefits and results, the family began distributing the oil to family and friends for free. This is how Avimee was born.

“Many people asked me: if people retire at 60, how did you start a business at 85? I tell them all: I have removed the word retirement from my dictionary,” said Choudhary.

CarDekho.com co-founder Amit Jain was impressed with his attitude, noting that Choudhary reminded him of his own grandfather and even sought his blessing.

Choudhary also appeared in the singing reality show Indian Idol in 2022 and is a mini-celebrity in her own right. As his daughter, Vinita, said on Shark Tank India, “My dad became a superstar overnight! My dad taught me that there is no age limit for starting a business.”

Sharks can’t get money back

With an expected revenue of ₹20 crore in FY23, the founders requested an investment of ₹2.8 crore for an equity stake of 0.5%, valuing the company at a whopping ₹560 crore. The valuation, which the founders said was ‘future-oriented’ and based on the valuation of competitors, scared all the sharks.

“Forward-looking valuation is done for mature companies. You took multiple concepts, from private equity and public equity, and made the best valuation (for Avimee)…even if you make ten times more revenue, our money can’t be recovered at 0.5% equity,” noted Shark up. Peyush Bansalco-founder of Lenskart.

Three sharks, Bansal, co-founder of the boat Aman Gupta and Emcure Pharmaceuticals’ executive director Namita Thapar, backed off stating that while Choudhary was an inspiration, the company was too big (in its offerings) with an extremely high valuation.

Shaadi.com founder Anupam Mittal and Jain made two different offers, but they were combinations of debt and equity. Jain offered ₹1 crore for 2.5% equity and ₹1.8 crore debt at 12% interest, bringing the company’s valuation to ₹40 crore. Mittal offered ₹70 lakh for 2% equity and ₹2.1 crore at 15% interest rate, valuing the company at ₹35 crore.

However, the founders did not want to take on debt and revised their valuation to ₹186 crore asking for an investment of ₹2.8 crore for 1.5% equity. But the sharks haven’t revised their offerings. Although they tried, the founders were unable to provide a convincing argument for the high valuation and eventually walked out without a deal.

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