The Digital Dietitian
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In this fast moving life we somehow forget to keep a check on our eating habit. We are so busy in earning wealth that we tend to forget that without good health we won’t survive for long in this fast moving world. Today we see, people now and then run towards doctors to cure themselves from diseases.
But they don’t know, only having healthy eating, most of the lifestyle diseases can be cured. I know it’s not easy to give up unhealthy habits as it requires strong dedication and motivation. To address this problem, Truweight, a startup founded by Vishnu Saraf and Megha More, offers a unique and comprehensive weight loss program along with a healthy eating plan.
Having team of 160 members including 60 nutritionists, the startup provides weight loss counseling for people from across India. It does not use any weight loss gimmicks like machines or weight loss pills, but focuses on healthy eating and lifestyle changes.
Receiving positive response from over 7,000 clients, the startup aims to inculcate the habit of healthy eating in India by reaching out to at least 10 million people.
In a tete-a-tete with Entrepreneur India, Megha More, Co-founder and COO, Truweight, shares her entrepreneurial journey and her mission and vision in respect to the startup.
What inspired you to enter the health tech space?
We considered technology more than just being an enabler. We were trying to create a digital dietitian which people could refer to whenever they wanted to eat healthy. We were also working on our alternative to the calorie model. As everyone wanted to eat healthy and be fit, and the awareness was increasing rapidly, we felt we had the right knowledge and a well-researched program to move ahead. By using tech, we could increase our reach manifold and could bring a sustainable change in people’s lives.
How did you go about designing your health programs?
Our program was developed after a lot of research. We read a lot books on nutrition and also tried out different products with our existing clients. We had a team of food scientists and nutritionists who helped us formulate food products and design the diet charts based on an overarching principle of “no counting calories”, “attacking seven root causes of obesity” and “including superfoods in the diet.” The entire program is still evolving. We keep scouting for more superfoods and formulating new products to make it easier and healthier for our members.
What are the services/offering you offer to your users?
An end user gets three things as part of the program:
1. Customized Nutrition Plan (on a weekly basis)
2. Super Food Kit (with 12-20 food products every month)
So a client not only gets a diet plan to follow, but also the exclusive foods that she/he is supposed to eat.
What challenges do you face while taking your product to the market and convincing customers?
The biggest problem is to make people change their habits. It’s not easy to give up unhealthy habits. And we are working on it consistently. We also have a psychologist on board who helps in understanding the mindset our client. We are trying to develop tools that will make it interesting and easier to follow the program.
Also, there is a lot of misinformation flying around. Everyone believes they know everything about healthy eating. Health food industry has made it extremely difficult for people to actually eat healthy. Low fat, zero trans fat and no cholesterol have become more of marketing gimmicks. It’s very difficult to establish our honest credentials as most companies are just fooling customers in the name of Health. Truweight is trying to develop honest products with actual healthy ingredients
What makes Truweight different from other ventures dealing in the same sector?
Nobody else offers a combination of nutrition counseling, range of superfoods/healthy foods and mentoring. Our USP lies in no weight loss pills, no machines, no lies, only honest weight loss through superfoods. We benchmark ourselves with our performance and not with competitors. We feel we will fail, only if we fail in execution.
What’s your revenue and business model?
Clients pay for the services and products. Pricing for a month of program costs around Rs 9,000 and for three months, it is around Rs 18,000.
Have you raised any round of funding?
Yes, we had Series A funding of $3 million from Kalaari Capital.
What makes you believe that people will switch over from conventional methods to your method?
As awareness increases, people are realising that there are no shortcuts to good health. There is no machine or pills that can take care of your health. People are subtly realising “If you eat healthy, no medicine is required. If you do not eat healthy, no medicine would be enough.”
Who are your target audience?
Target audience is anybody who is overweight or who is interested in healthy eating. Around 75 percent of our clients are women. Majority of them are in the age bracket of 25-45 years. They come from upper middle class to high income class.
What is your current traction? How many people are currently using your platform?
Overall, we have helped over 8,000 customers lose weight, and we have over 1,000 active clients.
What is the percentage of repetitive users?
Around 55 percent of our business comes through repeat and referrals.
How many nutritionists do you have?
Currently, we have 60 full time nutritionists. We also have two PhDs in food science and nutrition and two PhDs in food technology as a part of our team.
Do you have any manufacturing unit for your products? How do you outsource the products?
We started our manufacturing unit in Bengaluru in the beginning of December 2015. We continue to source some products from our vendors who are located all over the country. We get them contract manufactured.
What is your current geographical presence? Which cities are you planning to tap in near future?
Currently, we have our presence in Hyderabad and Bengaluru through offline centers. We are planning to expand to other metro cities and we will have our presence pan India through our app, which will be accessible even to non-members.