COVID-19 has accelerated HealthifyMe’s path to profitability – CEO shares how paid subscribers doubled during lockdown

Tushar Vashisht, Cofounder & CEO, HealthifyMeHealthifyMe
  • The startup, which turned operationally profitable in April 2020, is looking to clock $20 million in run-rate by January.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder & CEO, HealthifyMe shares how the startup has grown in the past few months as health became the focus of every Indian.
  • Their EBITDA has gone from -300% to -40% as of August, which is why Vashisht is bullish on EBITDA profitability soon.
The coronavirus pandemic brought health to the forefront of almost everyone’s priorities. From the rising demand for ‘immunity boosters’ to finally starting their exercise regimen to keep a check on lifestyle diseases, health has been the prime focus for most over the past few months.

And this focus bodes well for health tech startup HealthifyMe.The startup, which turned operationally profitable in April 2020, is looking to clock $20 million in run-rate by January.

In an interview with Business Insider, Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder & CEO, HealthifyMe claims that the app continues to be India’s number one health app and shares their aim to become EBITDA profitable in the next 12 months.

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COVID-19 brought in profitability

The focus on health during the pandemic has pushed the startup towards profitability. “Our topline and quarterly revenues have been growing and in fact, the last three quarters have been phenomenal,” said Vashisht. He added that they are looking at a revenue of 5 million dollars for the last quarter of the current financial year.

Vashisht shared that during the lockdown, the sessions and engagement on the app improved dramatically. As reports started doing the rounds about comorbidities during COVID-19, people started paying more attention to their health issues.

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HealthifyMe

“One thing that COVID has taught us is that lifestyle diseases and obesity are death sentences in this environment. There are over 240 million obese or overweight people in India with urban India accounting for 100 million of them, 77 million are diabetic – all of these people are at the risk of hospitalization if they contract COVID,” said Vashisht.

Their EBITDA has gone from -300% in 2018 to -40% as of August, which is why Vashisht is bullish on EBITDA profitability soon.

What is driving the growth in paid subscribers?
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Healthifyme’s paying subscribers have doubled during lockdown, currently standing at 100,000 users. And Vashisht expects this number to double once again by the end of the current fiscal year.

Total registered usersMonthly active usersPaid subscribers
16 million1.5 million 100,000

The growth in subscribers has come through their AI-powered smart plan with the chatbot Ria which is priced at about ₹200 per month. This smart plan accounts for 60% of their paying subscribers, which is why they are doubling down their investment on the AI platform. “Our low cost high margin plan is something that none of our competitors have. With income levels also having been hit due to COVID, consumers want cost effective plans,” he said.

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70% of HealthifyMe customers are from non-metros79% of their customers are obese/overweight

Word of mouth referrals have also grown for them as Vashisht said that organic traffic has grown from 25% pre-COVID and stands at 42% today.

“All of this is because consumers have also been seeing results. 80% of our customers have seen a drop in their diabetes, cholesterol, thyroid metrics. On an average, a customer loses 4.5 kgs weight within 180 days of joining HealthifyMe,” he shared.

Investing heavily in technology

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For HealthifyMe, another thing that has worked is its UI/UX, which has often been appreciated by many. And Vashisht admits that most of their capital (they have raised $30 million to date) has gone into tech investments. “Half of the team of 150 people are in data science, engineering, and product who all work towards building and maintaining a high-quality app,” he said. He also added that they are currently hiring for various tech roles.

Global revenues and dealing with competition

HealthifyMe has expanded recently into South East Asia and launched in Malaysia and Singapore. That is already bringing in money for the company. “Of the $15 million run rate we are doing currently, $2.5 million is coming from outside India. We want to expand more into SouthEast Asia,” he said.

But HealthifyMe also sees competition from a rising number of health tech startups, including the very popular Cult.fit. However, Vashisht remains confident. He believes that they were among the first to secure the market in the digital space, and other startups will go through their growth curve before making a mark digitally. “We are already the market leaders. My revenue is possibly higher than other players because we have been in the digital space for seven years,” he said.
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