Wellness app Zena helps women unleash their inner fitness goddess


Zeroing in on a huge market, the app aims to make women take ownership of their own health needs, which often go neglected.

Women often get so caught up with taking care of their families that they tend to place a low priority on their own health. But, fortunately, that’s slowly changing. Whether it is eating healthier or working out more regularly, or even seeking out counselling and treatment for stress and psychological issues, women are choosing to take their wellness seriously.

The Indian wellness industry had been estimated at close to Rs 85,000 crore in financial year 2014-15, and is expected to reach a mind-boggling Rs 1.5 trillion by FY2020. So, it is not surprising that a bunch of startups have emerged in this segment in recent years to cater to fitness enthusiasts. The wellness space is currently dominated by weight loss and beauty treatment services.

Zena Founder & CEO Pranay Choudhry and CMO Rhea Malvai.

Zena is a women-centric app that aims to be a wellness ecosystem, or a one-stop shop for all wellness-centric needs. Founded by Pranay Choudhry, 31, Zena was formally launched in February 2017, though the New Delhi-based Zena team has been working on the app in the beta phase since September 2016. Head of Marketing Rhea Malvai, 32, has been working to get the app out to more women.

Pranay says,

We are building a community of women, for women, to ensure everyone gets safe and credible information to refer to when they need.

The app works in four ways. It primarily helps women store their medical information and use the app for maintaining records of their medication or tracking their periods. They can browse through articles and read content on specific health-related issues. The app also allows women of all ages to discuss their experiences and stories with other women and experts as themselves or anonymously. Being a part of a community of women will help users stick to their fitness goals and not fall off the wagon, so to speak. Finally, they can get expert advice directly from doctors on board, for a price.

Changing lifestyles, one day at a time

Pranay says,

Zena is a lifestyle choice, where the app will proactively monitor one’s daily lifestyle and habits with its many trackers, like food and workout tracker, among others.
Pranay was introduced to Rhea by a mentor and the duo quickly realised that their approaches were a good match. They had several interactions on women's health and how they could work on a product that makes a difference in the sector, and Rhea’s background with healthcare startups further bolstered the idea behind the app.

The app was launched on Android first as beta and two months later on both platforms. Pranay says, “The period tracker was something most women found very useful. We revamped the period tracker first right after our beta testing phase because women were chiming in with their thoughts and there is a huge appreciation for the new and improved version.” Zena has an app store rating of 4.5 on both app stores and has been downloaded more than 3,000 times.

The Zena team has six people on the technology side and two people on the marketing side.

The industry overview

The health sector is dominated by major players like Practo and Lybrate, which focus on connecting users with doctors, and others like MyFitnessPal and Healthify Me, which focus on diet and fitness. Wearables like Fitbit are also becoming popular. There are a lot of lifestyle players that also speak to the same audience - POPxo, Women's Web, Allthatshewants and many fitness and lifestyle focussed blogs.

Zena has been bootstrapped till now and the team is actively looking to raise funds. The startup is looking at multiple revenue-generating sources, like B2B (institutional) affiliations, where they tie-up with colleges and corporate houses for wellness seminars and workshops.

Pranay says, “One big learning has been that mental and emotional issues are far more neglected than physical fitness. The fact that we have incorporated this is being appreciated much more than having experts present on the platform. The other factor we have noticed is that there is a huge lack of awareness on a lot of health-related issues for women. To cite an example, if taken at the right time, the HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer in women. Most women didn't even know what cervical cancer was or what the HPV vaccine was and could do.”

Like any tool, it all boils down to the user, and how well women make use of Zena to overhaul their fitness quotient.


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