[UPDATE] Fitness startup Truweight claims to help lose weight with Superfoods, raises Series A funding from Kalaari Capital
[Update] One week after the coverage on YourStory, Truweight has raised an undisclosed amount in series A funding from Kalaari Capital. Following the round, Rajesh Raju and Mandar Dandekar join Truweight as board members from Kalaari.
The company will use funds to build a technology team and develop a mobile app to offer a comprehensive solution for weight loss and fitness. “We will also use proceedings to research and develop 10 new food products and expand physical diet centres in Bengaluru and Chennai,” said Megha More, Co-founder, Truweight.
Fitness and slimming segments have had a roller coaster ride over the past five years in India. While fitness services continue to account for nearly half of this segment, slimming products have grown at a rapid rate of 35-40 per cent in the last one year, driven by urban consumers, who are placing greater emphasis on looking slim and fit.
With growing appetite to look fit, Indian weight loss market has been witnessing a debut of numerous products and services. However, unfortunately, most of the existing products are all about shortcuts. While some of them sell sauna belts, others sell weight loss machines or pills and beverages.
Unfortunately, none of them work, and, ultimately, people are left frustrated. If we look at the global weight loss market, it is primarily about healthy foods. Shortcuts and weight loss gimmicks are very few, but in India, the trend is reverse.
Dearth of credible weight loss platforms triggered Vishnu Saraf and Megha More to start Truweight. “The vision behind starting Truweight has been ‘no lies, only honest weight loss.’ The entire focus of Truweight is on healthy eating, and not any machines, belts or weight loss pills.
DNA of Truweight
Prior to Truweight, the couple ran a fitness club for women called Identity. It’s based on a globally successful model of circuit training, a specialised workout for women. After running it for a couple of years, the founders realised that people come to fitness clubs not for fitness, but for weight loss.
“More than 90 per cent of women who visited Identity were working out primarily to lose weight. But gyms are called fitness clubs (and not weight loss clubs) for a reason. Exercise contributes only 20 per cent to your weight loss. So, we were offering only 20 per cent of the solution. What is the other 80 per cent? Answer is food,” says Megha, Co-Founder of Truweight.
And that was the eureka moment for the founders. Truweight talks about Superfoods and offers various edible products.
Vishnu is an IIM (Ahmedabad) and Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi alumnus. He has worked with McKinsey, Deutsche Bank (London) and Kotak Investment Bank. He also authored a book on India and China, which was published by Macmillan.
Megha did her MBA from MDI, Gurgaon and Bachelors from LSR, Delhi. She has consistently been a topper in state (during schooling), LSR and MDI. She had stints at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey.
What are Superfoods?
Superfoods are defined as a nutrient-rich food allegedly beneficial for health and well-being. “During our research, we found out that there are many super foods that are extremely beneficial for health, but we don’t consume it in our daily lives, because of lack of knowledge and availability.”
As per NASA, 1 gm of Spirulina is equivalent to 1 kg of assorted vegetables. The foods are made with over 25 such super foods, i.e. barley grass, alfaalfa grass, acacia gum, herbs, foxtail millet, among others.
As part of their Super Food Kit, a client gets a range of super foodsin the form of a Super Juice, Super
Fiberand Super Green. “There are 7-8 varieties of healthy snacks, three varieties of soups, a drink, two varieties of flour and 3-4 breakfast items. We developed the kit after lot of research. The idea behind the super food kit is to make your weight loss journey easier and more comfortable,” points out Vishnu.
Starving doesn’t help in weightloss
Importantly, Truweight doesn’t expect you to survive on a shake or just a bowl of cornflakes everyday. It allows you to eat everything, and gives you a healthier version of most of the food items. Instead of giving you a regular dosa mix, it claims to give you avariant that has 50 per cent more protein.
The products are sourced from all over the country (from Jodhpur to Lonavala, Surat to Kolkata). Launched in December 2013, the company has grown ten-fold in the last 18 months with over 1,000 active clients.
At present, the company has an average monthly turnover of INR 50 lakhs. Truweight plans to spread across India over the next 12 months.
Customers gets three things as part of the programme -- Customised Nutrition Plan (on a weekly basis), Super Food Kit (with 12-20 food products every month) and Mentoring, which includes diet plans designed by one of their 30 dieticians to follow along with exclusive foods you’re expected to eat.
Truweight is soon coming up with a mobile app that’ll help in customising diet charts. Pricing for a month costs close to Rs 9,000, and for three months,Rs 18,000.
Technology is already changing the way the health industry functions. The rise in consumerism, increasing disposable income and appetite for fitness are encouraging Indians to eat healthy and nutritious food after a decades of binging on Western junkfood. Truweight seems to be very promising with its approach, clientele base and revenue numbers
As we mentioned before, most slimming solutions are more of a marketing ploy without strong focus on product. Whether it promises to be a disruptive force would be interesting to watch.