This Pune-based physiotherapy startup uses technology to help patients recover faster and reduce medical expenses

Phyt.Health enables physiotherapists to remotely monitor, stay connected and supervise patient rehabilitation via smartphone-based computer vision technology. The startup also plans to distribute digital physiotherapy technology as a white-labelled service to healthcare providers.
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Physiotherapy, when correctly and promptly practised, can play a pivotal role in improving our quality of life. According to the WHO, musculoskeletal conditions affect 1.71 billion people globally – with some of them being our friends or relatives. More often, patients are unable to get treatment at the right time due to ignorance or reluctance to go to a doctor. 

“We started Phyt.Health specifically to solve this problem. We believe physiotherapy can help prevent surgeries, reduce the reliance on painkillers, and improve people's overall well being. Our mission is to make quality physiotherapy accessible and affordable to all people who need it,” says Darpan Saini, CEO, Phyt.Health.

Founded in 2021 by Darpan Saini and Snehal Fulzele, the Pune-based startup is a computer vision and AI-enabled physiotherapy platform that claims to deliver affordable care to patients, and increase revenue for providers. It has 23 partners including orthopaedic surgeons and multi speciality clinics in Pune, with a pilot in process at Noble Hospital. 

“Our technology optimises physiotherapists' time, encourages patients' adherence to their treatment plan, and provides a continuous PT (physiotherapist)-Patient engagement model,” Darpan adds.

The business model is both B2C (digital physiotherapy treatments) and B2B (software for orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists to monitor their patients), as well as B2B2C (for ortho patients). The startup has partnered with 23 clinics/hospitals so far, and has released 500+ videos across channels since the launch for consultation.

The USP

Phyt.health is a technology-first healthcare startup that offers a mobile app to users to provide virtual, evidence-based care using computer vision and artificial intelligence to track rehab exercises with live feedback and no required wearables. The app is not available for play store/app store. Download available only for paying customers.

“We utilise patients’ smartphone devices to engage them in the MSK (musculoskeletal) physiotherapy cycle from the comfort of their own homes, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. In India, our primary competition is from brick and mortar physiotherapy clinics such as QI Spine, Reliva etc. Other online platforms such as Portea and MFine are horizontal providers whereas Phyt.Health is focused on physiotherapy,” Darpan says.

Phyt.Health is a digital provider and its services are available all over India. “We are also experimenting with different delivery models. For instance, we are providing home services in Pune and very soon, we plan to open several physical clinics as well here,” adds Darpan.

He further says that lack of patient awareness related to digital physiotherapy as a viable alternative to physical delivery makes it difficult to sell the service. “Longer sales cycle of onboarding B2B ( clinics and orthos) clients as we are a nascent brand.”

The team

Both Darpan and Snehal are seasoned entrepreneurs who previously founded fintech company Cloud Lending Solutions, which was acquired in 2018 for $130+ million by Q2 Software.

They are Carnegie Mellon alumni who have previously worked with leading companies like IBM, Oracle, and Adobe.

“We are currently a 25-member team composed of technologists and physiotherapists. We bootstrapped Phyt.Health with $400,000 of funds from friends and relatives,” Darpan says.

Funding and monetisation

Recently, the startup announced raising a seed funding of $1.5 million from a US-based private investment company, Lunsford Capital. Other participants in the round include founders Darpan Saini and Snehal Fulzele.

The startup aims to use these funds to launch services and boost the rising digital healthcare sector in India. With these funds, Phyt.health will expand operations in major metros and Tier-II cities. The company is also in talks with major healthcare providers for using their software.

According to Darpan, “We have two models for revenue generation – full service (software + physiotherapy) or software as a service (SaaS). In the case of full service, we employ certified physiotherapists and combine the best of AI-based technology and human care to deliver the best outcomes for patients. In the case of SaaS, hospitals/clinics use our software to deliver remote care to their patients, thereby improving their patient experience and increasing revenue. In both cases, we charge customers on a per patient per month basis.”

For its full-service physiotherapy business, the startup partners with hospitals and offers them a “white-label” service to be their digital physiotherapy department. It also provides physiotherapy directly to consumers through its website.

The future ahead

As per Darpan, the musculoskeletal (MSK) market globally is highly fragmented and doesn’t have identified category leaders in any geography. There is a wide range of therapies – from acupuncture, physical therapy to chiropractic leading to low patient satisfaction and poor outcomes. There is a rising need for physiotherapeutic services in the preventive care market exacerbated by COVID-19 and sedentary work from home jobs.

According to the WHO, MSK conditions affect 1.71 billion people globally (369 million in the South-East Asia region) and are the leading cause of disability in 160 countries. The global physiotherapy market is estimated to reach $156 billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 5.5 percent.

“We plan to expand our home service and physical locations in Pune, followed by expansion to other metros. Given the opportunity and the fact that there are no other category leaders in India, we plan to raise our Series A in the first half of 2022. We also plan to expand sales of our SaaS offering to medium-sized clinics and hospitals,” says Darpan.
Edited by Kanishk Singh