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As The Middle East's First Prevention-Focused Insurance Solution, Dubai-Based Startup Wellx Aims To Build Healthier Communities In The Region Having launched in 2022, Wellx has been able to bring to market wellness-backed health and life insurance offerings, in conjunction with some of the largest players in the insurance space.

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Vaibhav Kashyap and Javed Akberali, co-founders, Wellx

Vaibhav Kashyap and Javed Akberali bill their Dubai-based enterprise, Wellx, as the Middle East's first prevention-focused insurance solution- and that characterization alone should be enough for one to sit up and take notice of this insurtech platform that rewards individuals for realizing their health and lifestyle goals.

Having launched in 2022, the startup has been able to bring to market wellness-backed health and life insurance offerings, in conjunction with some of the largest players in the insurance space. "For the first time in the region, there is a health and life insurance that keeps members healthy, instead of just covering their sick days," the co-founders say. "We have partnered with an incredible ecosystem of global and local wellness players to facilitate holistic well-being. From cutting edge-technology like WHOOP and Google's Fitbit, to local partnerships with mental wellness services, healthy eating and nutrition platforms, as well as gyms, fitness clubs, and personal training."

Kashyap and Akberali, who used to work in the financial services space, say that they were driven to launch Wellx after noticing how, after the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, well-being was becoming "the single biggest driving factor behind the choices people make, from picking a place to live, to applying for a job." The co-founders thus came together with the aim to create something that would support and build healthier, happier, and resilient communities- and insurance was the sector they chose to do just that. "After your friends and family, your insurer should be most concerned with your well-being," they explain. "They pick up the bill when you fall sick. And health insurance has a 100% penetration in the UAE. That is how we identified insurtech as our way to impact the well-being of millions of people, and a way to reduce healthcare spend at a national, regional, and global level."

Related: Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Healthcare Fintech Klaim Focuses On Maintaining The Human Touch As It Continues To Expand Across The GCC

Google's Fitbit is a part of Wellx's ecosystem of global and local wellness players. Image courtesy Wellx.

With its promise that one can "walk, workout, meditate, and sleep one's way to two months' premium as cash back," Kashyap and Akberali say that Wellx has been received well by the market at large, which includes the end consumers, as well as the enterprises that have tied up with the platform, which include wearable tech players like Whoop and Fitbit, and insurance providers like Dubai National Insurance and Salama. "We plan to cover our home base in the UAE, and enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (amongst other GCC countries) during this year," the co-founders add. "In addition, we are on track to add life insurance to our product suite with a leading insurer in the UAE. Meanwhile, our product continues to gain momentum and strength, with personalized programs covering some of the most challenging chronic ailments (and highest cost to insurers) in the region, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer prevention and care programs."

EUREKA! Vaibhav Kashyap and Javed Akberali on how to make an idea a great one

1. BE CLEAR ON THE PURPOSE "Find this early on, and be stubborn about it. Be flexible about the journey, and how you get there."

2. BUILD WITH PASSION "Whatever your idea is, be passionate about bringing it to live. There is no fun in trying to do the boring."

3. SOLVE FOR A PROBLEM "There are a lot of things out there that are working- find a gap that needs solving. Don't try to fix what isn't broken."

4. SEEK HELP "Surround yourself with like-minded and equally passionate people. Find a co-founder with whom you are aligned with on the purpose. Mentors and experience helps- but be guided, and not directed, by them."

5. THINK BIG "You were put on this world to achieve greatness; do not fall for mediocrity. The idea must be scalable."

6. FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER "The ultimate beneficiary is the customer; so, listen to the customer, and allow yourself to adapt to their ever-changing needs."

7. MONEY MATTERS "It has to make commercial sense. Money will always be a motivator, but let that be the last but very important piece of the puzzle. Focus on unit economics and long-term sustainability."

8. BE FUTURE-FOCUSED "Make sure it works today, but build for tomorrow. Futureproofing the idea is a must."

Wellx is one of the companies included in the 2023 edition of our annual 10 Great Ideas feature, which, as an ode to the UAE Innovation Month, celebrates individuals and innovations that impress with their ingenuity. Check out the full list of 10 Great Ideas in our print issue here.

Related: US-Based Startup Spike Enters The UAE To Offer Healthcare Providers Better Access To Data From Wearable Tech

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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