Taking healthy strides

Taking healthy strides

Healthstart and Roundglass Partners funded, Obino, an e-Health & Weight Loss Coach, is taking strong strides through referrals and reviews by existing users. It aims to evolve further by using artificially intelligent technology and algorithms to super-personalize the health coaching experience and also scale the productivity of its coaches with human-assisted intelligence

Every entrepreneurial journey has a story behind it. And for Ritu Srivastava, this occurred right after the birth of her daughter, seven years ago. “Like most young mothers eager to regain control over their bodies and their weight, I had a not-so-pleasant experience with the traditional vendors of weight loss – which was not only expensive and inconvenient but also non-transparent, leading me to feel like I was being held to ransom over my own health,” recalls Srivastava. And hence, her belief that everybody should have instant access to the knowledge and motivation that they needed to achieve their health goals conveniently, given their busy lifestyles, led her to become an entrepreneur.

Launched in August 2014, Obino is the brainchild of Mumbai and Gurgaon based-Manna Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. It was founded by Srivastava and her co-founders, Yogesh Sachdeva & Vishal Soni – who carried significant experience across technology, product & brand management and sales & distribution platforms.

Initially, given the extensive mobile usage among its target users, Obino was launched as a virtual weight loss & health coaching app. In fact, Srivastava even wanted to have coaches and experts go to the users instead of it being the other way around thereby giving a lot of power in the hands of the user.  “Accordingly, Obino’s coaches strive with every engagement to not just inculcate healthy habits, but also help our users learn how to manage their own health in the long term,” says the founder.

With a 4.4 Rating on the Google Play Store, Obino helps its users by pairing them with their personal health coach, who will then develop a customized diet, fitness and lifestyle regime that will help them achieve their health goals. Not just that. Its coaches also work with medical practitioners of its users to ensure that the recommended health coaching complements their lifestyle and enables chronic disease management. “All these fall under the paid or premium coaching programs which range from Rs. 1,999 to Rs. 4,999 per month,” adds Srivastava. For the free users, the company offers a DIY solution where they can use the Indian Calorie Counter, get Healthy reminders and recommendations as well as access to the latest information via the articles and blogs.

Growing the Right Inches

Since the company went live on August 20, more than three lakh Indians have used the Obino app. And, in the last few months, it has achieved more than 30,000 kilos of weight loss on the platform through its free users, whereas its paid users have typically lost two to three kilos per week.

The company’s core differentiator is its virtual coaching format enabled by technology. “In healthcare and especially service-based healthcare, quality is the differentiator and our coaches are well-equipped as clinical nutritionists and registered dieticians. Moreover, there is a minimum of six daily touch-points between each user and their coach, which we are able to achieve only because of our robust tech platform,” says Srivastava.


It does not believe in going overboard with marketing spends and focuses on ASO and organic growth to drive genuine users in need of its product and offer a seamless experience, resulting in strong referrals and renewals.


Towards a healthy future!

While Obino was initially bootstrapped, it later raised two rounds of funding – a pre-seed round from India’s leading health tech incubator, Healthstart and a seed round from a leading US-based healthcare VC, Roundglass Partners.  The funds are being used to build the team, refine and flesh out the product construct, and market the product to Indians globally.

Being a healthcare tech company, naturally, building trust and credibility into its users was among the key challenges it faced. That being said, it remained thrifty in its spending pattern (picking up from its habit from year one of being bootstrapped), and has primarily relied on ASO and organic growth to drive genuine users in need of its product. “We believe very strongly in letting the product experience speak for itself. Our growth drivers are therefore based on strong referrals and reviews by existing users,” states Srivastava.

The company’s next level of evolution lies in extensive use of artificially intelligent technology and algorithms to super-personalize the health coaching experience and also scale the productivity of its coaches with human-assisted intelligence. “We hope to grow and mature into a profitable enterprise that provides value to all its stakeholders,” states the co-founder on a parting note.


Snapshot

Obino

Poornima Kavlekar has been associated with The Smart CEO since the time of launch and is the Consulting Editor of the magazine. She has been writing for almost 20 years on a cross section of topics including stocks and personal finance and now, on entrepreneurship and growth enterprises. She is a trained Yoga Teacher, an avid endurance Cyclist and a Veena player.