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Startup Spotlight: Count'd Aims To Solve Pain Points In The UAE's Meal Planning Industry Count'd co-founders on building a scalable healthy eating platform for all UAE residents who focus on on self-care, nutrition and wellness.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

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Varun Kapur and Fady Ghaly, co-founders, Count'd

This article is part of an ongoing series covering startups that have been a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.

With people around the world being more conscious about their fitness, they often worry about the looming possibility of unhealthy habits permeating their day-to-day lifestyles. In the absence of proper guidance and mapped out goals, this could become quite the health-related hurdle in the long run.

With this becoming a prominent issue in the UAE as well, health and nutrition platform Count'd has come up with a holistic approach towards solving nutritional challenges. According to Fadi Ghaly, co-founder and CEO of Count'd, the inspiration behind launching the startup arose from the need to solve certain pain points he and his team observed in the UAE's meal plan industry. "We decided to solve those challenges by building a scalable healthy eating platform which offers fresh food, and with lots of variety and flexibility," explains Ghaly.

This is how Ghaly ended up launching Count'd in late 2021, alongside co-founders Ahmed Wasfie and Varun Kapur. "Count'd is a health and nutrition platform that empowers people to eat healthy, lose weight, and achieve their wellness goals," explains Ghaly. "We leverage data-driven insights to enable behavior change and improve the overall health of our customers. Our services include a healthy meal subscription app, wellness and nutrition coaching, as well as health monitoring and gamification challenges."


It is these three facets of its business model that form the crux of Count'd operations. From a subscription plan that offers three meals a day for a week for AED675, to another plan that offers lunch every day for a week for AED225, there are a variety of options for users to choose from, depending on their schedules, as well as eating preferences and calorie targets. "Our core target market are busy professionals who lack time and creativity but want to eat healthy," he says. "Primarily, these are the health-conscious people who use a considerable portion of their disposable income on self-care, nutrition and wellness."

Related: Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Agritech Startup Alesca Life Technologies Is On A Mission To Ensure Sustainable Farming Practices In The UAE

But it is also important to note that the pricing for these meal plans isn't pertaining to food delivery alone- Ghaly explains that his startup's services have other distinguishing factors as well. "For starters, we offer flexibility in terms of delivery location and timing, and also the option to replace your meals up until 10pm the previous night," he explains. "We also offer a large variety for every healthy meal options from leading restaurants, and ensure your calories are counted and macros accounted for."

This is where the startup's next major source of revenue comes into play: health monitoring and wellness coaching. While the Count'd platform enables one-on-one video calls with certified nutritionists, it also offers the option to make use of wearable health devices and fitness trackers to map out your progress and set health goals. In simpler terms, this means that you can simply connect your Apple watch or FitBit to the Count'd app to integrate your readings into the platform's data. "No more manual entries!" Ghaly declares. "Count'd has been built for the busy working professional and those who want to find a simple yet effective way to eat healthy while having all calories automatically tracked. We also have a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering in the making for our in-house coaches, nutritionists and dieticians to manage all information on their clients using a real-time dashboard."

Related: Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Agritech Startup Alesca Life Technologies Is On A Mission To Ensure Sustainable Farming Practices In The UAE

Users also have the opportunity to make use of at-home lab tests, which cover over seven different types of blood tests offered by Count'd. Along with all of this, Count'd also hosts gamified challenges with rewards on its platform. "We offer engagement via educational content and gamification strategies on an ongoing basis," Ghaly adds. "We truly believe we have supreme customer service and an engaging brand that motivates our customers."

These varied yet integrated offerings are what have allowed the health and nutrition platform to generate more than US$20,000 in revenue in just over three months since its inception. "We are currently raising a pre-seed round of $500,000, and we have also raised from angel investors in the past," adds Ghaly. But this isn't all that there is to what Count'd has achieved so far though- it was notably one of the apps selected as partners for the 2021 Dubai Fitness Challenge. The startup has also been making partnerships with important entities in the ecosystem, the most notable being with cloud kitchen management platform Grubtech. "We have completed an integration with Grubtech, and have on-boarded over 700 meals from leading healthy standalone restaurants and cloud kitchens including Ikcon and Kitopi, along with our logistics partners including Careem, Quikup, and Ahoy," adds Ghaly.

Related: The Dubai-Based Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund Accelerator Program Enrolls Its Largest Cohort To Date

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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