‘The Global Weight Loss and Weight Management Market is Expected to Reach $206.4B by 2019’ - Ritu Srivastava, Founder, Obino
As per the FICCI Wellness Report, the wellness market in India is estimated to be an INR 950 Billion and weight loss/slimming services alone are estimated to be between 60,000 – 70,000 crores. This number is only set to explode in India.
Obino, India’s mobile weight loss coaching app, follows a 3-pronged Strategy to get you to your Weight Loss Goal – a Dedicated Health Coach + Personalised Diet & Fitness Plans + unique Mobile-App based tools that are with you 24×7!
Team BWDisrupt Interacts With Ritu Srivastava, Founder, Obino, and Spoke to Her
How did the idea come to start and how does Obino work?
The idea for Obino was born when I began my own weight loss journey post pregnancy.
Having always been slender, I didn’t realise the kind of struggle involved for those trying to lose weight. However, when I landed squarely on the other end of the scale, I realised how ardourous and opaque the process really was. No wonder people tend to lose motivation more often than losing the weight itself.
Consultations with dieticians felt completely non transparent and transactional. I didn’t understand what worked and what didn’t and more importantly I didn’t know why I needed to eat the way I was told to. So while the weight did come off eventually, the process left a bitter taste in my mouth. That’s when I realised that there had to a better way, and more importantly a happier way to losing weight.
Obino was created with the ultimate goal of helping each and every user, to not only lose weight but to encourage them to adopt a healthy lifestyle and help them understand why they need to make certain nutritional choices in order to achieve better health.
Our mission is to make each individual self sufficient and aware of their bodies, and motivate them to get healthier and lose weight at their own pace and convenience.
Our business model as such focuses on getting healthier in a very transparent and user friendly way. Our goal is to be partners in health for our users, and encourage them to write their own success stories. So when a user signs up with Obino, he/she goes through a 4-step process:
Learn: Our coaches interact with the user to devise a diet plan & fitness targets that are customized as per individual requirements
Practise: Coaches encourage users to stick to their plan and provide support whenever needed.
Understand: Our aim is not to keep our customers in the dark, so we make them understand what will work for them, and how.
Change: We celebrate every victory of our customer, and encourage them to be an inspiration among their peers and family.
With a 4.4 Rating on the Google Play Store & thousands of delighted customers in India & abroad. All this is done via the mobile phone, leveraging the unique ecosystem of the Obino app.
What are the unique key points of your company?
I believe that it is our approach to wellness that makes us different and unique. We want our customers to be the real heroes, to get a sense of ownership about their personal health goals. We don’t want our users to blindly follow what is set before them; instead we want them to dig deeper, and understand how their body reacts to the diet plans or fitness regimes designed for them.
For me, knowledge is everything, and a deep understanding of why my body behaves a certain way when I eat certain foods, has helped me course correct time and again.
And I want every user on the Obino platform to also have that sense of power and ownership over their own bodies and health.
Another differentiating factor is our virtual coaching format, that is enabled by deep technology integrations. In healthcare and especially service-based healthcare, quality is the differentiator and our coaches (clinical nutritionists, registered dieticians, certified yoga/fitness trainers) are highly qualified.We also ensure a minimum of 6-9 daily touch-points between each user and coach and we are able to do this productively because of our tech platform.
Obino coaches also work in tandem with the medical practitioners of our users to ensure health coaching that complements lifestyle & chronic disease management. All of the above forms part of Obino’s paid / premium coaching programs which ranges from INR 999-1799per month.
We also offer a do-it-yourself solution for our free users where they can use our state-of-the-art Indian Calorie Counter & in-built Pedometer, get Healthy Reminders and Recommendations as well as access to the latest information via our articles and blogs.
How are you different from the existing competitors?
What sets Obino apart is that we are a health app that understands Indians. What I have realised in my journey as an entrepreneur in this space is that Indians do not aspire to have a self reliant approach to their health, instead they look for ‘convenience and expertise’ from outside. This also coincides with what we have observed - that for most people, deriving a specific set of actionables from broad principles of good health – is next to impossible. They try, get frustrated and give up – which just harms their health in the long–run.
That’s why the tenets of our approach are:
Obino lays stress on a human to human coaching model which is learning-based and is high-touch - where users communicate with their coaches on an average of six to nine times a day - which is extremely rare in any other fitness or weight loss solution, both online or offline. this version of coaching is available for users in the premium version of the app.
Even in the free version, Obino enables people to keep track of and manage their own health and weight by providing them with simple yet powerful tools like an Indian calorie counter, an in-built pedometer, meal & exercise suggestions, reminders, and methods for tracking meals and personal progress.
We focus on the 90% that matters
Obino focuses more on nutrition plans, seeing diet & lifestyle interventions as 90% of its program. It’s especially different from fitness and nutrition tracking apps because it emphasizes on an overarching nutrition & fitness plan for all its users to follow.
What is the funding status and monetization model?
We raised our first round of pre-seed funding from Health-Tech Incubator Healthstart even before our official launch. In December 2015 we raised our seed round with RoundGlass Partners because of their expertise in the health domain, and the partnership is reaping rich rewards for us.
What challenges are you facing in running your business being a woman entrepreneur?
The 1st challenge we face is one every health tech entrepreneur in India faces.
Traditional health businesses are built on trust and credibility & the challenge in a health-technology startup is to build that trust and credibility without any face to face interaction and in the case of an emerging venture, with limited marketing monies for brand-building and advertising.
And while being an entrepreneur in India comes with its own set of challenges, being a woman entrepreneur is a different ball game altogether! For me, though, I can say I have been fortunate to have a supporting and loving family, who have always backed me up and encouraged me to take the plunge into running a business, and I’m very grateful to them.
How has been the people`s response so far?
We have grown to touch over 4 lakh lives in just under 8 months, so the response as you can see has been overwhelmingly positive.
What are the traction details?
Our users have been kind to us and we are proud to say that Obino has been downloaded by over 4 lakh users worldwide since we went live in August 2014, and is one of the highly rated apps on the Google Playstore with a rating of 4.4.
With thousands of delighted customers in India and abroad, we are the only Indian Diet app to be partnered by Samsung in India for their wearables.
We are also shortly going to launch a version of Obino as the health app which will be preloaded for the Intex Brand of Smartphones for India, so we are looking forward to touching at least a million lives with this partnership in 2017 alone.
We are happy to report that we have over 30,000 kilos of weight lost on the platform by even our free users in the last few months alone. And our paid users typically lose 2-3 kilos per week with the stress on a human to human coaching model which is learning-based and is a high-touch model, which allows users to connect with their coaches on an average of six to nine times a day – which is extremely rare in any other fitness or weight loss solution, both online or offline.
How do you look at expansion?
The next level of evolution lies in our extensive use of artificially intelligent technology and algorithms to super-personalize the health coaching experience and also scale the productivity of our coaches with human-assisted intelligence. We hope to grow and mature into a profitable enterprise that provides value to all its stakeholders.
What are your marketing plans?
Since we have been a bootstrapped company, our DNA is one of thrift and we do not believe in going overboard with marketing spends. We focus on ASO and organic growth to drive genuine users in need of our product to us and then delight them with a great experience, resulting in strong referrals and renewals. This year we have also started a social media marketing campaign, and are proud to have an ever increasing fan following.
What has been the biggest learnings so far?
Indian consumers, especially for health tech products are a different and evolving breed. What works in the west is guaranteed not to work in India. The key to making a consumer health technology business work is to understand the indian consumer better than anyone else and to distribute to them a world-class product in a cost-efficient manner.
What is the market size and opportunity?
The global weight loss and weight management market is expected to reach $206.4 billion by 2019 from $148.1 billion in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2014 to 2019. As per the FICCI Wellness Report, the wellness market in India is estimated to be an INR 950 Billion and weight loss/slimming services alone are estimated to be between 60,000 – 70,000 crores. This number is only set to explode in India.
And for us, from a market perspective, this is not even factoring in the Indian consumers based globally for whom there is a strong sense of comfort in being coached by Experts that understand their diet/culture and food habits and where there is a strong cost arbitrage.
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