Today, going offline is a luxury. With social and professional demands making us log onto the internet all the time it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to go off the grid. This propelled Mihir Shinde to set up his startup, Nandoo in 2018.
It all started when Mihir started observing his sisters-in-law.
“One has an incredible job at an MNC in Mumbai and the other is studying CS, making time a very precious commodity for them. I noticed that whenever they had any spare time, they would be so drained of energy, that there would be no motivation to focus on themselves. This was the initial spark to create Nandoo - a typical millennial’s Bandhoo,” says Mihir.
Started in 2018 by Mihir and Yashika Shah, along with Han Jie Lin and Jaime Cajamarca, Nandoo is a wellness app that focusses on one’s overall well-being: mind, body, and soul. The bootstrapped startup has offices both in New York and Mumbai.
“We initially started as a 'Walk' app, and soon branched into other forms of wellness,” explains Mihir.
Apart from focusing on a person’s overall wellness, Nandoo also allows users to earn redeemable awards based on the number of steps walked, and has informative content as well.
The app has three sections – mind wellness, soul wellness, and body wellness.
In mind wellness, the app gives a breakdown of what’s going on in the world with a fresh, fun take to strengthen the mind. These are given in the form of content. In soul wellness, the app helps in controlling and steadying your breathing to manage stress.
“It is a very relaxing feature that helps you guide your breathing in a highly simplified format,” says Mihir.
In the body app, the user has to consistently walk for 10 minutes every day, and compete against other ‘Nandoo-ers’ on leaderboards and get bragging rights. “We also have small rewards associated to keep the motivation up,” adds Mihir.
Mihir explains that Nandoo isn’t just about using the app every day to walk, read, or undertake breathing exercises to manage stress, but it’s about living "the Nandoo life".
He says the team is redefining wellness to fit into the modern routine of the consumer. The idea is to turn this experience into an actual lifestyle and community for millennials.
However, the challenges of setting up have been the same as those faced by most entrepreneurs.
“Since we are bootstrapped, we mostly work full-time at our day jobs and all evenings, nights, and weekends on Nandoo, making it impossible to take a break and actually enjoy the process of building Nandoo,” says Mihir.
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Before starting Nandoo, Mihir, who also happens to be a Forbes Tech Fellow with a Master's from University of Pennsylvania, was the Head of Mobile Apps for B&H Photo Video Pro, the largest retailer of photography and video equipment in the US.
“My background is in building and managing mobile apps,” says Mihir.
Yashika Shah has a background in investment banking and strategy, and has always worked in financial services.
Han Jie Lin leads all of Nandoo’s front-end efforts - from making Nandoo move to the overall simplistic layout, UX and UI are his brainchild. He has also won multiple awards from Google’s Material Design forum, and has several patents to his credit in creating fun and interesting ad viewing experience.
Jaime Cajamarca leads Nandoo’s back-end efforts - everything from making sure the app is running 24/7 to as complex as cybersecurity and protecting PI is managed by him. His expertise lies in building massive apps with hyper secure back-ends. Previously, he was the Head of Backend for Moviepass, a US-based company founded by former Netflix Co-founder.
Market and revenues
While the fitness apps and wearables are good for our health, they’re also doing well in terms of business. As per a recent research by Flurry Analytics, demand for health and fitness apps has grown by 330 percent in the past three years, with 25 percent users accessing their fitness apps more than 10 times a week.
Some of the prominent players operating in the space include bootstrapped StepSetGo, which rewards people for walking. There are also Step Tracker and Pedometer, among others.
Currently, the biggest competitor for all wellness apps is Mukesh Bansal’s and Ankit Nagori’s Curefit, which recently raised $45 million in funding.
Nandoo’s differentiator, according to the team, is the entire focus on wellness. Nandoo is also looking to raise funds.
The team claims to have over 218,000 users, and it is in its pre-revenue stages. Currently, the team is focussed on getting user adoption first, says Mihir. However, the team is looking at a B2B revenue model.
“If it is the ads route, then revenue generation comes from corporates, and if one takes the subscription route, revenue generation depends on the consumers paying. Currently, the team is looking at both,” says Mihir.
Speaking about the future plans, he adds,
“Without revealing too much of our secret sauce, we are going to double down on building our community of Nandoo-ers, and making stickier and more fun mind, body, soul wellness features that we are certain our current and future Nandoo-ers are going to love.”
(Edited by Megha Reddy)