Most of us have been involved in some form of physical activity or sport during school and college years. For some it might have been a serious competitive pursuit, for others it was just fun in the park. Yet, the minute we get on with our busy work schedules, almost all forms of physical activities come to a grinding halt.
And this was the exact situation BITS-Pilani alumni Anupam Garg, Ankit Agarwal and Narendhiran S. found themselves in. Working in corporate setups at Ola, Mywash and Capgemini, the trio found that they would spend most of their time in front of the computer screen, work odd hours and eat unhealthy food most times.
They realised that like most other working professionals, they were putting on unhealthy weight and becoming more disease-prone. Anupam even tried following a diet plan last year to bring himself back in shape. However, this meant buying a list of items every day and cooking six meals. The effort was time-consuming and tiring.
This is when he came up with the idea of solving the problem of a balanced diet food requirement for those who need to follow a strict schedule. This gave birth to FitGo that works towards helping working professionals prevent or control lifestyle disorders by delivering requirement-tailored meals for different health needs at customers' doorsteps.
With a bit of research, the trio found that four out of 10 people in Bengaluru are obese, while close to 70 per cent are overweight. “Over 26 per cent of the city’s population is diabetic while three in every four residents here suffer the risk of a heart disease. And this all can be attributed to poor lifestyles especially unhealthy eating habits,” adds 27-year-old Anupam.
The trio started talking to a few doctors and reputed dieticians in the area and realised that there is a gap in demand and supply of expert-recommended meals. With the help of doctors and certified dieticians, the team chalked out nutrition plans in a ready-to-consume format. Anupam adds that the logic behind planned meal packages is using nutrition science to control and balance the nutrient intake for different health requirements.
Anupam says that a stress management plan provides comfort foods that calm down the brain cells and cuts levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Along with an immunity booster plan that come with vitamin-rich foods that help strengthen the immune system and decrease the body’s susceptibility to diseases and infections.
“We have tried to map different sets of customer needs by talking to different ecosystem participants like gyms, fitness studios, dialectologists, doctors practising at different facilities and a wide network of working professionals who are the end consumers of the service,” says Anupam, adding that based on this requirement assessment, the startup has two kinds of offerings:
The team is still looking at covering different customer bases and becoming a one-stop solution for all tailored meal requirements. FitGo also serves on-demand executive meals to help public get a peek into what the startup promises with its meal plans.
The diet plans and meals are prepared by experienced chefs in FitGo’s kitchen. A big challenge the team faced was setting up a clean and seamless supply chain and getting different quality checks and balances in place.
According to Anupam, FitGo has got over 2,000 customers in the last three months and is serving over 5,000 executive and diet meals in selected areas of Bengaluru. Their repeat business rate is at over 50 per cent. He adds that their current revenue run rate is at over a few lakhs. The team is bootstrapped.
FitGo works on a revenue-sharing marketplace model on supply side. Any certified expert can register on the website and propose to extend their services. On customer front, their executive meals are offered on demand, while fixed-duration nutrition plans need to be subscribed a day in advance.
The current service delivery areas include Koramangala, HSR Layout, BTM Layout, Bellandur, Sarjapur Road, Yemlur, Bommanahalli and Marathahalli. The team aims to cover the whole of Bengaluru this year, with a focus on more differentiation when it comes to customer needs.
The idea of FitGo essentially brings in an amalgamation of the current health and food tech platforms. While the team shared numbers, and figures show decent and steady traction, only time will tell whether the team will be able to handle the operations with the increase in order numbers and customer base.
Also, as seen in most platforms of food and health, although Tier I cities like Bengaluru easily bring in the initial traction that a startup needs, sustainability issues creep in when the startups look at geographic expansion. Food as a business is also operation-heavy, and the team will need strong expertise to handle the requirements.