Y Combinator backs Breathe Well-being – fastest growing health-tech startup from India!

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We have some exciting news to share – Breathe Well-being has been backed by Y Combinator for the Winter 2020 batch! My co-founder Rohan and I are currently going through the program in Mountain View, California and preparing for the upcoming Online Demo Day.

We’re going to be applying the mentorship and connections received during YC to further our vision of helping Indian people prevent or manage chronic lifestyle diseases through weight loss.

 

Why did we get into this?

This problem has been quite close to our hearts. Rohan and I saw a growing need for such a solution within our own family and extended circles. We saw the number of times they missed clinic appointments since it was an inconvenience driving over to the centre, or when they dropped off from following complex diet/fitness plans assigned by the dietician. They weren’t able to create long-term healthy habits and would often fall into relapse.

There are a 150M patients in India suffering from chronic lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension. The number of people at risk of such diseases is even greater, and steadily on the rise, owing to unhealthy eating-habits and a sedentary lifestyle. These diseases, combined with their comorbidities are an immense pressure on the current healthcare system. Medication is not a long-term solution.

Our clinically-proven online lifestyle program was able to address these issues in a cheaper, convenient and more effective way compared to existing options.

To those who are just getting to know us now, here’s a little bit about our program and why it’s been such a success!

 

How does it work?

The program is delivered remotely over the phone and through the mobile app, so users are able to follow the lifestyle program centred around diet, fitness and stress reduction from the convenience of their home.

The user receives 1-1 coaching employing CBT, focused on diet, exercise, stress reduction and behavioral change. A key lever for fun and motivation (extremely important for program stickiness) is our online community, where aside from the support, people get to take part in weekly healthy habit-building competition – users are rewarded with gifts to achieve health outcomes! The mobile app stays with the user throughout the journey as a guidance and tracking tool.

 

What are the results so far?

We are getting immense interest in our program and working round the clock to meet demand! People who joined our program have lost >5% excess body weight on average within the first 4 months, which, studies show, dramatically reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. We didn’t realize this at first, but people love to talk. People undergoing the program talk about it with their family and peers, and have led to a strong referral base. Some don’t even have to talk – their new fit selves are doing the talking. Two such examples of our star patients are Jitendra Jha and Ajay Dogra, who each lost close to 10% of their excess body weight within the first few months.

Referring to our educational content, Dr. Preeti Khanna said, “Nutrition is of paramount importance; with a correct lifestyle and natural techniques, patients are often able to get off their Diabetes or Hypertension-related medication, which this program is enabling.”

Dr. Sabrina Sabharwal of Max Healthcare particularly showed interest in our habit-creation methodology that also focuses on stress reduction. “Patients often fall back into relapse while on a diet, but Breathe’s curriculum of habit creation through CBT, its motivational community and addressing of past failures has been a game changer.”

 

What’s next for us?

It’s been quite a journey for Rohan and me. Friends since middle school, we have both always been passionate about health and fitness. We’ve been working together for the past 3 years, and built a profitable corporate well-being venture, helping us better understand the space. We gained more expertise along the way – Rohan’s a CrossFit L2 trainer and a mindfulness coach, and I am an ACE-certified Health Coach focusing on behavioral techniques.

But there’s a lot of work to do! We want to replicate the experience and results achieved by our first 750 subscribers to the next 1M in need. We’re working hard to build the ideal patient experience end-to-end and using technology to scale our vision.

We will be focusing heavily on getting more coaches into the team (that’ll undergo our methodology training process) and on building further on content. The average weight-loss aspirant in India will really be able to benefit from our upcoming educational modules around the physiology of the human body and how different lifestyle changes affect it. At the same time, we’ll invest into our technology to enhance the user experience and bring many more exciting features that our users have been asking for!

 

We’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or questions!

 

Stay healthy,

Aditya Kaicker
Co-founder, Breathe Well-being (YC W20)

 

You can reach Rohan Verma (Co-Founder, CEO) at:

References:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2001.138

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