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Interview 2016-05-27

We are building a holistic offering with a right mix of advisory services: FitCircle Co-founder

Zywie Ventures Pvt Ltd has introduced well-being assessment and group fitness platform FitCircle, which uses chat bots to take automation beyond just the mechanical aspect of removing human interaction.

We are building a holistic offering with a right mix of advisory services: FitCircle Co-founder

In a world of fit tech, there is no limit to technical advancement. With the launch of fitness wearables like wrist band, Google glasses, apple iWatch, hi-tech gloves and jackets, there is adequate avenue of opportunities for those who think out of the box and bring something exclusive for the fitness enthusiasts.

Zywie Ventures Pvt Ltd has introduced well-being assessment and group fitness platform FitCircle, which uses a mix of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and chat bots to take automation beyond just the mechanical aspect of removing human interaction.

The Mumbai-based startup has over 600 diet plans that the bots can choose from and recommend, have done over 22,000 consultations in less than four months.

Nevertheless, for those who have more specific queries, the app has actual experts on hand to help.

“We are creating a strong trusted health and fitness Indian brand that users can rely on for expert guidance, motivation and health solutions,” explained Aarti Gill, Co-Founder at FitCircle, told WI Bureau in an exclusive interaction. Here is the edited excerpt:

The conceptualization

My mother is a doctor and I have many family members who work in the healthcare industry. Right from childhood, I have seen her helping patients to live a better life. As I grew up, I felt a lot of these problems are lifestyle related and can be cured just by adopting a healthy lifestyle. While, I was studying and working in some of the countries like US, Europe and Singapore, I realised, how things are different globally for fitness. And, I decided to move back to India, to help my country move forward in this space.

Business DNA

We are building a holistic wellness brand - right from extending a digital advisory or coaching platform to offering the best nutrition products that can help people achieve fitness goals with ease.

Our digital ecosystem is used by many people to get advice on weight loss, weight gain or any other desired fitness goal. At the same time, corporates are leveraging it to drive employee wellness.

Funding saga

We have received Pre-Series A funding from Ravi Mantha, author about The Baby Elephant Diet, All About Bacteria and Webaroo founder Beerud Sheth. When we launched FitCircle in 2013, we were selected by JFDI Singapore to incubate the venture there. However, as our first target market is India - we decided not to take that offer and build a solid foundation in our country before moving to other geographies across the globe.

eWellness in India

Startups in the eWellness space are revolutionizing the way services are offered to the users with the help of technology and innovation. We have a right mix of human experts and fitness bots driving the paradigm shift from curative to preventive healthcare. Our focus currently is on keeping the users engaged and motivated with the right kind of content and expert intervention and offer them the right nutrition products based on their health needs.

Technology play

Today, the market is much fragmented and people are often confused - what is the best offering for them to achieve their wellness goal - be it weight loss, weight gain, better hair or skin. Even if they get the right advice on how to achieve it, they are not able to do it because of difficulty in sticking to it. Imagine a complete offering - right from great advice on your smartphone to quality nutrition products delivered at your doorstep. This initiative will help them achieve their goal in much convenient manner.

Gaining competitive edge

There are players who are just focusing on services while there are others who are developing products. We are building a holistic offering with a right mix of advisory services and having the best in quality nutrition products.

We are well positioned to be amongst the top 3 industry leaders because of our drive to keep innovating. We are the first ones in the country to offer fitness coaching and advisory for free & develop smart fitness chat bots

Revenue model

We earn revenue from Corporates and sales of nutrition products.

Challenge

Wellness is a big category. For a start-up with, the positioning and offering needs to be clearly defined as it becomes easier to reach out to target market. In our case, our focus is on providing the right advice and quality nutrition products to begin with.

Geographical expansion

Focus in on India currently. 50 per cent of our users are from Maharashtra and South India. We are seeing a growing usage from tier II and III cities because ease of usage and convenience offered by a digital platform.

Technical upgradation

Yes, in any business you need to keep evolving and innovating. Our focus right now is to make our advisory channel available on different chat platform rather than just on FitCircle App. Also, we are continuously investing in developing nutrition products that can make living healthy far more easily.

Future plan

We are about to launch our nutrition supplements brand - O'Ziva. Right from weight loss shake to protein supplements, our nutrition products are enriched with the goodness of Ayurvedic herbs. We see a huge gap in the nutrition space and will be heavily investing on consumer education and awareness.

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