Mobile health and fitness platform HealthifyMe on Friday announced that it had raised a $12 million Series-B round of funding led by Sistema Asia Fund, the India-focused fund of Russia's largest conglomerate.
Silicon Valley-based Samsung NEXT, Singapore’s Atlas Asset Management, and Japan’s Dream Incubator are the other participants in the latest round of funding alongside existing investors IDG Ventures India, Inventus Capital, Blume Ventures and Dubai-based NB Ventures.
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HealthifyMe was co-founded in 2012 by Tushar Vashisht and Sachin Shenoy who worked previously at UIDAI (Aadhar, Government of India), Deutsche Bank and Google across India and Silicon Valley. Initially incubated by Microsoft Accelerator, the company delivers measurable results on eating habits, fitness, and weight and works with leading corporates and healthcare partners in India.
HealthifyMe works on a freemium model and has an estimated five million downloads across 200 cities with over 200 coaches. Its app is rated 4.6/5 on Play Store, and has been featured by Google and Apple multiple times for its quality benchmarks.
The app enables users to keep a track of their calories, set personal fitness goals, and measure progress. The platform claims to have the world’s largest database of Indian foods and syncs with all leading wearables, Google Fit and Apple Health.
As part of its premium subscription services, HealthifyMe connects users with qualified nutritionists and trainers who review their progress, provide diet and exercise plans and work with the users to help them achieve their fitness goals.
Tushar, CEO of HealthifyMe, noted that the company had grown 3.5 times in 2017 to five million downloads, spread to 200 cities, and is booking $4.5 million in ARR (Annualised Run Rate) revenue.
Getting into more specifics, Tushar noted that HealthifyMe has more than a million monthly active users, with 'tens of thousands' of users who have subscribed to their paid subscription service. Out of the three options that they offer, Tushar noted that their 'Balance' offering is the most popular among consumers.
During the course of 2018, Tushar estimated that they will cross the 100,000 paid subscriber mark. Based on their current run rate, Tushar noted that HealthifyMe enjoys about 10 percent of the Indian market share in the health/fitness category as per AppAnnie. HealthifyMe users have tracked 200 million foods, workouts and exchanged 10 million messages with their nutritionists and trainers.
HealthifyMe also has curated a digital workplace wellness programme and has worked with clients such as P&G, Unilever, Accenture, Cognizant, Shell, Philips amongst others. The company also works as a digital/preventive partner for top healthcare providers in India like Medanta, Manipal, Apollo ACODE etc. In early 2016, HealthifyMe had set up its global headquarters at Singapore and received Series-A funding of $6 million led by IDG Ventures India, Inventus Capital, Blume Ventures and NB Ventures.
Learning from all of this, HealthifyMe had launched 'Ria', which, they believe, is the world’s first AI nutritionist, in late 2017. Ria now works in tandem with human nutritionists and trainers to guide customers about their habits. Ria was launched to the public last evening after being in closed beta for many month. Tushar Vashisht, CEO, HealthifyMe said,
Our vision is to build the world’s largest online health and fitness service. We want to help millions of consumers achieve their goals by engaging with nutritionists and other health experts empowered with artificial intelligence.
Related Read from October 2017- With AI nutrition coach Ria, HealthifyMe aims to do what Siri and Google Assistant cannot
Tushar noted that as per the terms of the deal, Kirill Kozhevnikov, MD and Partner, Sistema Asia Fund Advisory would be sitting on HealthifyMe's board. Other news investors will be board observers.
Kirill noted in a statement that Sistema is a strong believer in preventive healthcare. People all over the world associate healthcare mostly with disease treatment, but ideally healthcare should prevent diseases.
Sector overview and future plans
On the global front, HealthifyMe competes with players like MyFitnessPal, which was acquired for an estimated $475 million by UnderArmour. Among companies that leverage artificial intelligence, there is FitGenie that positions itself as a self-adjusting smart calorie counter that tells you exactly what to eat to reach your goals.
Then there is AVA, which leverages human nutritionists and AI to give personalised feedback and meal recommendations. AVA also includes an auto tracking and auto-journal feature, through which users can send a photo of their food and in a few minutes receive calorie and macronutrient information.
On being asked about the competition in the space, Tushar half-seriously and half-jokingly said,
To me, our biggest competitor is lethargy... and the lunch you just ate.
HealthifyMe intends to use this fresh round of funding to deepen its presence in India by offering health foods, diagnostics and insurance products beyond its digital nutrition/fitness services portfolio. Additionally, the company intends to use the funds to further its AI and data science capabilities.
Sachin Shenoy, co-founder and Head of Engineering at HealthifyMe, and Punita Mittal, Head of Data Science noted that one of HealthifyMe's vision is to go 'inch wide and mile deep' through their focus area that is health and nutrition. They aim to build on top of existing technologies when possible and only build from scratch when needed. The company is estimated to have the world's largest database of nutritionists to client exchanges.
HealthifyMe currently provides a food photo tracking feature to paid users. But this is done manually on the backend through human intervention. On being asked, Tushar noted that HealthifyMe aims to launch an auto-food tracking feature later this year. He said,
We are working on a feature called 'HealthifyMe Snap', which will use vision AI to automatically understand food by photo tracking.
HealthifyMe also plans to launch in other emerging markets where obesity and lifestyle diseases are growing exponentially. The company recently launched in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Countries) market and noted that it is in the top three on Google Play, UAE.