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Bengaluru-based healthtech startup Grow Fit has raised $4.5 Mn in Series A funding. The investment was led by Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), the PE arm of Manipal Group.

Existing investors, SAR Group and The Grover Trust also participated in this round. With this investment, Dr. Ranjan Pai, the MD & CEO of MEMG, will be joining the Board of Directors.

Earlier, Grow Fit was backed by Krishnan Ganesh and Meena Ganesh’s GrowthStory platform. K Ganesh said, “Companies which have the right genes can always raise funding, even in a somewhat tight market. Grow Fit’s laser-like focus on customer outcomes sets it apart from others. It takes a unique dedication to go against the conventional wisdom of transactions and the team at Grow Fit has demonstrated this commitment time and again.”

With the newly raised funds, Grow Fit plans to integrate different sources of data from wearable technology and medical reports. The aim is to make the app a one-stop, comprehensive companion for wellness. Also, it aims to expand mobile solutions for fertility, joint health, stress management and more.

Grow Fit In A Nutshell

According to the World Economic Forum, in India alone, over six million lives are lost every year due to lifestyle diseases. And the economic burden of lifestyle diseases has been estimated to be over $4.58 Tn by 2030.

Launched in September 2015 by Jyotsna Pattabiraman, Grow Fit is trying to address this gap with its healthtech platform. It aims to help over 300 Mn Indians who are at risk of contracting lifestyle diseases, with its expert coaching, health foods and behavioral insights.

The platform consists of a group of nutritionists, food technologists, counsellors, technologists, and product people who want to use the power of the mobile to make health a daily habit.

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Grow Fit also entered the functional beverages field with the acquisition of Drink King, recently. The move aimed to expand Grow Fit’s offerings to areas including expert health advice, customised diet plans, therapeutic and functional foods, and nutritional beverages.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder, Infosys and an early investor of Grow Fit, commented, “Grow Fit has the ability to address both national and international markets. As prosperity increases globally, our nutritional habits have to compensate for our sedentary lifestyle and dependence on fast foods. Grow Fit has a relevant model that could address this gap and be effective anywhere in the world.”

Grow Fit: Technology And Traction To-Date

As explained by Jyotsana, “Grow Fit combines data science, medical science, and behavioural insights to help people achieve their health goals and live their best lives. We are an outcome-oriented company and have always stressed a science-and-data approach.”

It’s easy-to-use, one-on-one, chat-based coaching programme connects users all over India to experts in mental and physical health. The categories cover sleep, skin and hair, nutrition and exercise. Grow Fit also offers health foods and concierge services. Besides physical health, Grow Fit also encompasses mental health through a separate app called Grow Self.

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The company claims to have an 80% success rate. As per a company statement, the Grow Fit mobile app has been downloaded over 300,000 times (Android and iOS) and more than 150,000 diet charts have been generated for users. The company uses data science and machine learning to identify and validate strategies for customer success.

Dr. Ranjan Pai, CEO and MD, MEMG said, “Grow Fit has the right approach to reac millions of Indians who can benefit from better nutrition and coaching. I was impressed by their novel approach, their investment in R&D, and their technology platform. Indians need to make drastic changes to their health habits and Grow Fit makes it effortless for them. This is a huge opportunity and we are looking forward to unlocking it.”

Lifestyle Hacks: New Opportunity In Healthtech

Traditionally, Healthtech startups are associated with those providing diagnostic, enterprise, medicine delivery solutions, etc. However, a new breed of startups has emerged trying to solve issues on the root cause – the consumer lifestyle.

For instance, in May 2017, Milind Soman Joined the startup bandwagon With His first investment in health food startup ONTHERUN. In April 2016, wellness guru Deepak Chopra joined hands with former Nortel and Motorola executive Poonacha Machaiah to launch Jiyo, a health and wellness startup. Then there are startups providing nutritional foods and drinks like Keventers, Yoga Bars, The Green Snack Co, Juice maker, and more. Going a step ahead, there are tech startups like Zenoti, Poshtick, Visit, MyChild App and more.

According to a recent PWC report, India ranks among the top 10 global growth markets for nutritional food & beverages. On the investment front, the healthtech segment has attracted $600 Mn funding during the period January 2014- October 2016, as per Inc42 Data Labs. Also in 2017, the funding amount has already reached $163.8 Mn across 45 deals. With the fast-paced lives of today’s generation and increasing focus on preventive healthcare, the category is expected to only expand. How Grow Fit will be able to capitalise on this opportunity in healthtech, is something to look out for.

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