Tushar Vashisht on building HealthifyMe and how innovating led to the health and fitness startup’s success

In this episode of 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO of HealthifyMe, talks about building a monetisable healthcare and fitness platform in India, why he looks for challenges, and his strengths as a founder.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has helped people realise the importance of staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO of health and fitness startup HealthifyMe, reveals that the startup has recorded about 25 million downloads to date and has helped its users lose about 10 million pounds amid the pandemic alone.

Founded in 2012, HealthifyMe offers a mobile health app to track the calories, nutrition, and fitness.

“Our vision is to help a billion people and we have hit 25 million so far, closing in on 30 now. We are slated to cross $50 million in our annualised run rate revenues by this coming January.

"In the pandemic alone, we have helped the world lose about 10 million pounds, move to much healthier and fitter outcomes, and reduce their diabetes, hypertension, PCOS, and cholesterol. So, that is our scale right now,” Tushar says.

In August, the startup announced an equity buyback programme worth $12 million (Rs 90 crore). It revealed that angel investors TVS Capital Funds MD Gopal Srinivasan and Micromax would receive up to 15X returns on their investment.

This development came after HealthifyMe raised $75 million in a Series C round led by LeapFrog and Khosla Ventures. With the funds, it plans to further expand into India and Southeast Asia markets besides making inroads into North America.

Earlier this year, amid the second wave - when people were looking to get themselves vaccinated - the startup launched a new portal named ‘Vaccinateme.in,’ to aid people in finding COVID-19 vaccination slots. 

‘Challenges are always exciting’

Speaking about the journey of building HealthifyMe since the last nine years, Tushar says challenges have always been “exciting and thrilling” for him.

“I think a challenge brings in adrenaline and excitement, and I think of it as a video game…There have been times when I have gotten bored or when I felt the challenge was not exciting enough, especially coming hot off a very crazy challenging situation and then winning that it gives you very high levels of excitement and thrill.

“Then there are moments of lull; that is the time when you feel like giving up at times...usually, I go on and create an even bigger challenge and a massive opportunity. So, when I feel bored, when I am feeling low is when I know something’s around the corner that’s going to get me hot and off and running. I pulled that off I think almost every 18 months. So, it’s like a year and a half cycle,” he says.

Tushar believes that one of his strengths as a founder is to be able to create a vision and lead the team towards it.

“It’s painting a vision and then making it happen as a reality and really mobilising people, resources, investors, customers, everyone around it. I think that has probably helped us get where we are at. The second thing would be is always innovating. Our company has had multiple inflection points where it has innovated and re-innovated and reinvented itself, and taken on greater ambitions.

"Our most recent pursuit is to go global, for example, and to become more relevant for lifestyle disease reversals. All [this] have happened because I think we never stay still,” he adds. 

In this episode of 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO of HealthifyMe, talks about building a monetisable healthcare and fitness platform in India.

To know more, listen to the entire podcast here

Notes:  

02:29 – Roller-coaster moments in HealthifyMe’s journey

06:02 – Strengths as a founder

08:21 – Essence of assembling a team for experienced mentors as board members

13:11 – Experiencing living like an average Indian

15:17 – Early concerns with HealthifyMe’s model during initial funding

20:52 – Advice for entrepreneurs: When to pivot vs when to be persistent?

26:19 – Myth: Indians don’t pay for digital healthcare services

28:05 – Growth hacks like VaccinateMe

29:25 – Getting the first 1,000 customers  

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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