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Startups are betting high on the growth potential of wellness industry

Aparajita Choudhury
10th Aug 2015
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Today, the Indian population is moving towards fitness and overall well-being as a means to de-stress themselves from hectic work pressure, and combat unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. With the profound changes in the lifestyle and income levels of people, the wellness industry in India has become a sunrise sector, and is set to grow by 20-30 per cent year on year.


yourstory-Wellness

Currently, the market is estimated at Rs 490 billion, of which wellness services contribute 40 per cent. However, a large chunk of the Indian population is not aware of the fitness options available to them.

A pool of startups have emerged in the last couple of years, to bridge this gap, and address the requirements of fitness enthusiasts. With these embarking on journeys into the wellness space, the space is expected to hit an inflection point of growth.The industry is currently dominated by weight loss and beauty treatment services.

Pankaj Gupta, Founder, MyFlexipass, says,

The wellness industry stands at an inflection point, with high fragmentation, high market potential and healthy growth. New models for aggregation are emerging to disrupt this sector.

Flexipass has tied up with more than 400 fitness centres across NCR and Mumbai, covering a large variety of activities, ranging from gyms, crossfit, yoga, and various dance forms to sports.

Growth opportunities

In India, people have realized the importance of staying healthier. In the last couple of years, the industry has witnessed a major transformation, with the age group of 20-44 trying out exciting things like Zumba, aerial yoga, Pilates, MMA and kickboxing.

Shailesh Ghorpade, Managing Partner & CIO at Exfinity Venture Partners LLP (which has invested in a wellness startup, Fitternity) says,

In India, the health and wellness market has been growing. The sector is fragmented and there is a need for its consolidation into an organized one. Mom and pop shops are giving way to organized retailing when it comes to gyms, and it is felt that this process will accelerate in coming years.

A Deloitte-IHRSA report indicated that there are 4.8 million fitness seekers across Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

Megha More, Co-founder, Truweight, says,

The major drivers of the growth are sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits and growing disposable income.

Bengaluru based Trueweight offers comprehensive solutions for weight loss, and customised nutrition counseling, along with a Super Food kit. Its three-month package is priced at Rs 18,000.

The startup has raised Series A funds from Kalaari Capital. In terms of revenue, it is expecting to touch Rs 15 crore this fiscal year.

Amaresh Ojha, Co-Founder, Gympik.com, says,

There is a huge opportunity in training for trainers. This will lead to better results for individuals and will increase the retention rate for fitness centers.

Bangalore-based Gympik raised $135k in seed funding from a group of angel investors. Gympik.com is an online marketplace for fitness and wellness services. It has had 1000 unique visitors. The startup is expected to generate a revenue of Rs one crore in the next fiscal year.

Sahil Kukreja, Founder, Fiticket, says,

Convenience is a key missing element, in terms of wellness and fitness, in most people’s daily routines. Thus we have made gyms and fitness studios more accessible by putting them on smartphones.

Fiticket has tied up with over 450 gyms and fitness studios across Mumbai alone. The Fiticket app is currently available on the iOS platform and for Android. The app witnessed 500 bookings per month in its beta version. Currently, it has over 1500 users each month, and its monthly subscription package is priced at Rs 2499.

Neha Motwani, Founder, Fitternity.com, says,

Cumulative efforts and positive changes in consumer outlook, coupled with improved infrastructure, make the industry’s prospects look very positive. The Indian wellness industry is successfully making the transition from remedial care to the more holistic preventive healthcare.

Mumbai-based Fitternity operates in 16 categories in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. Their website and app are hyper-local search engines that provide detailed information, such as photos, videos, rate cards and user reviews, on all fitness related services, like gyms, yoga, zumba, pilates, crossfit, marathon training, personal trainers, and healthy tiffins, among others.

It has 7500 unique visitors daily, and an active user base of more than 50,000. It has raised a pre-series A investment of USD one million, led by Bengaluru-based Exfinity Venture Partners.

Supportive role

PM Narendra Modi has shown immense interest in the wellness industry, especially Yoga. He recently formed a separate Ministry named AYUSH, which will have a Department for YOGA. Moreover, Yoga has been exempted from service tax.

Investors and incubators are also playing a big role by supporting and mentoring startups in the wellness space.

Rajesh Raju, MD of Kalaari Capital, which has invested in Truweight, says,

We believe that wellness is the next frontier for tech-led disruption. Startups that are using technology to attain scale in addressing a large space like wellness will provide for great investment opportunities. Moreover, startups who build a trusted brand for the masses can generate outsized profits and ROI.

Future prospective

According to a joint study by FICCI and PWC, the Indian wellness industry will touch Rs 1 trillion in 2015.

Amaresh says, "With the increase in the disposable income of people in tier 1 and tier 2 cities, wellness is going to be a major expenditure of the common man."

Going through the other side of the coin, the industry is highly unorganised, with poor service levels, renewal rates, a lack of trained manpower and information, etc.

Shailesh says,

As with any consumer business, engagement and repeatability are key business drivers. Fitness startups that can solve the periodically repeated problems that fitness services face will succeed. The use of technology is the only way to ensure uniform service quality and increased reach.

 

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