[Startup Bharat] How Suniel Shetty-backed Vieroots is leveraging AI to fight lifestyle diseases
COVID-19 has made everyone take health seriously. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, the demand for wellness solutions to fight comorbidities and lifestyle diseases has also increased.
In this scenario, Kerala-based entrepreneur Sajeev Nair’s startupis using its advanced AI-based mobile app to offer personalised lifestyle modification recommendations to customers based on their genetic requirements.
A wellness evangelist and biohacker, Sajeev founded Vieroots in 2019. The startup claims to be a pioneer in ‘Personalised Lifestyle Management’ using epigenetic science, which creates personalised lifestyle modifications based on genetic profiling and metabolic assessment.
Suniel Shetty had invested in Vieroots recently
The healthtech startup, which works out of Kochi and Bengaluru, provides research-based products and services to people who aspire to live healthy and productive lives, with specific focus on productive ageing.
The startup was relaunched last month after testing it for about eight months in Surat, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, and Kochi.
Recently, Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty invested an undisclosed amount in the startup. Suniel, who is known for his passion in the areas of fitness and wellness, was fascinated by the concept of ‘Epigenetic Lifestyle Modification’.
Sajeev has been working in the wellness industry for the last two decades. While he began by selling nutrition supplements and then started a wellness clinic in Kochi, for the last three years, he has been involved in research connected with human longevity and human performance.
Sajeev says: “In India, the average life expectancy was 48 years, which has now increased to 69 years. It is expected to move to 75 years by 2025. One thing is for sure that with the advancement in medical science and healthcare, people are living longer. The only question is whether they are living longer or are their death is getting extended.”
He adds that most people today are contracting lifestyle diseases as early as in their 30s. The medical science is then extending the death, which means people will not be able to be active the way they used to before.
Sajeev Nair, Founder, Vieroots
Sajeev realised that it is one pain point that people are facing today and that it has become crucial to maintain the productivity or energy level when the life span is getting extended. This is where Vieroots comes into play.
“According to research, most of these lifestyle diseases can be connected to ageing. A new school of thought considers one to treat ageing as a disease. When you fix ageing, it means you are fixing most of the other age-related diseases.”
Sajeev believes the only way one can provide that level of productivity for people at any age is by empowering them to take charge of their own biology, psychology or physiology, which is generally called as biohacking.
“People often go behind keto diet or high-intensity training. While it is beneficial for some, it damages the body for most people. True science says that one man’s food can become another man’s poison. This is because genetically and metabolically we are all different. We found that a higher level of personalisation is required instead of just following one or the other diet or exercise plans,” Sajeev adds.
The Vieroots team considers personalised lifestyle management using Epigenetics as its distinguishing and unique feature.
While there are many startups in the wellness space like Grow Fit, and iUVeda, Sajeev claims there is no direct competition to Vieroots as of now.
How does it work?
The startup works on the epigenetic lifestyle modification, which involves three-steps. It conducts the V genome test, and there is the Vieroots App named ‘EPILIMO’, and it also offers a detailed personalised lifestyle modification plan.
The first step is to buy the EPLIMO package online. The genetic test or the Vie Genomics tests are designed for all age groups. This test is done by using saliva samples, which can be collected by a genetic testing kit from the user’s home. Once it is done, the startup’s logistics team will collect the sample from and deliver it to its centre in Bengaluru. This test is done to determine the genetic attributes related to one’s body.
“Once the saliva comes to the lab, various tests are performed and a genetic report is generated. This report will contain all the possible and probable diseases that a person may have inherited from your ancestors. It also shows how their gene react to various vitamins, to exercises, to medicines, etc.,” explains Sajeev.
This information will help a person to modify their lifestyle to avert the possible dangers on their health.
“Vie Genome test is the most comprehensive genetic predisposition test available in the world, which analyses more than 200 different health parameters,” Sajeev adds.
The next step is to download the ‘Epigenetic Lifestyle Modification mobile App’ or ‘EPLIMO’ app and undergo the online metabolic assessment and submit. This is to analyse one’s own body.
Through the app, users can undergo a metabolic analysis using its questionnaire. This is to assess the users’ present health condition. The app also helps the user to connect with the nearby doctors registered with Vieroots.
The customers can then avail a telephonic or web-based counselling by certified genetic counsellors. The cost of the package varies from Rs 7,500 to Rs 51,000, depending on the tests.
Vieroots then converges both the reports with AI and robotics to provide a personalised lifestyle modification plan, which will consider the genetic as well as present health conditions. It will provide details about the kind of food one should take or avoid, the kind of exercises that will help them, the supplements they should take, etc. The results will also be cross-checked by doctors and geneticists.
According to the startup, the whole process aims to enhance the overall quality of life of people and supporting them to live long and stay young.
Additionally, Vieroots also offers lifestyle coaches who can drive or motivate the users for a period of 12 weeks towards adapting the new lifestyle.
The wellness sector
As per a recent study by Stanford Research Institute International, the global wellness industry is worth $2 trillion compared to the Indian Wellness Industry, which is a $9.8 billion market; accounting to two percent of the global wellness industry.
“The wellness sector has been booming since 2018 as alternative therapies and measures are being deduced to shield Indians from mass sickness hazards,” says Sajeev.
The startup currently has a team of 24 employees, including geneticists and doctors from modern medicine, homeopathy, and Ayurveda.
In the last eight months, the startup claims to have catered to 780 paid users. This number is inclusive of people of all age groups and from places like Surat, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, and Kochi.
Vieroots aims to hit a cumulative sales turnover of over $3 billion during 2020-25. The team is working with a vision to help at least one crore people in India to scientifically modify their lifestyle (health and wellness) before 2025 using its epigenetic concepts.
It is also planning to bring out various lifestyle modification products and tools to help people. These products will range from nutritional products to IoTs, which can enhance the quality of living.