The rise of Indian health startups
Addressing the diabetes epidemic in India, accompanied with the poor climate status, a new wave of startups have sprung up to tip the balance through innovation.
“Fitness and wellness are extremely under-addressed in this country as compared to post-diagnosis treatment facilities,” said K Ganesh, partner at startup factory GrowthStory to the Economic Times.
It’s true, the long-existing diabetes epidemic has been seeing slight improvements, but a report by the Times of India in 2016 shows that over 50 million Indians suffer from type-2 diabetes. Adding in the smog that threatens the east side of India with all kinds of diseases, there was plenty of room for smart solutions to counteract these problems.
Things started looking up for health software when HealthifyMe, a fitness tracking app, managed to gather another $1 million from a dubai-based investor after having already acquired $6 million in funds from indian venture capitalists.
A few months later, Cure.fit, a joint project founded by e-commerce giants Mukesh Bansal, raised $3 million in Series A funding round. The software focuses on providing its users with access to different fitness studios, as well as meditation lessons and ready-made healthy food to order.
One of the most significant news stories about the industry is one of GrowthStory, a venture capitalist firm that summed $4.5 million for its health and fitness arm, Growfit in June 2017. The service aids its customers in building a health plan for themselves, while also providing advice and even food delivery service to meet the plan.
According to their CEO they are already starting to make an impact. “We have more than 80 per cent success rate of people being able to achieve their health goals such as weight loss or for managing medical conditions like diabetes, skin and hair issues, or increasing their running performance through the app,” said Jyotsna Pattabiraman.
The software relies on machine learning to analyze data input by users, resulting in accurate and efficient recommendations for their exercises and diets. Such an approach has also been adopted by its competitor HealthifyMe as means to increase their user base.
“The other option for us was to have trainers looking at all data on clients and think about what to advise them or how to engage clients everyday. But our AI solution, Jaarvis, takes care of the task of screening data and gives suggestions to trainers to, say, call a client and congratulate her on healthy snacking habits,” said Tushar Vashisht, CEO of HealthifyMe, which has gathered over 3 million users.
According to the Economic Times’ report, only 1.5% of urban residents have access to fitness centres. We hope to see a change of tides with focus finally being drawn towards the population’s health.