As with most innovations, Bengaluru-based health start-up ‘healthi’ was born out of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Co-founder Krishna Ulagaratchagan’s family has a history of heart disease and high blood pressure, a common ailment for most Indians. Anxious about whether he would suffer the same fate, Ulagaratchagan diligently invested in a health check-up every year. He grew increasingly frustrated that the health reports were full of medical jargon that was unintelligible to people like him.
In conversations with his friend (and later, co-founder) Rekuram Varadharaj, Ulagaratchagan found that this dilemma was not an exception. Varadharaj too had gone through his share of routine annual health check-ups. Since he had always considered himself to be reasonably fit, leading a healthy lifestyle (vegetarian, non-smoker, etc.), he was taken aback when some of his results were not as rosy as he had assumed. He felt that he could have taken appropriate preventive steps if he had access to timely information. Health checkups are supposed to provide this very forewarning and in this age of technology and predictive analytics, there had to be a better way to empower people to seek personalised help in time. This is how healthi was born in 2014.
Today, healthi has morphed into a fast growing digital preventive health start-up working towards empowering its users to make smart choices and avoid chronic illnesses. “It is a one-stop digital preventive health guide providing access to the best practitioners and raising awareness on the prevention and management of lifestyle diseases,” says Varadharaj. Ulagaratchagan and Rekuram, who are alumni of Stanford (US) and INSEAD (France and Singapore) respectively, plan to raise funding for healthi this year, which has been bootstrapped till now .
Making it easy
With healthi, the user embarks on a personalised and comprehensive preventive health journey, which begins with a health check-up. The start-up helps users choose the most suitable packages available at leading providers. It provides easy-to-understand and comprehensive reports to clearly translate the results for the user, so that they may seek expert help and guidance after understanding their health status.
“The venture has grown 9x year-over-year in the first two years of operations and matched its second-year performance in just one quarter,” says Varadharaj. healthi boasts of having facilitated more than 10 lakh tests with an over 95% user satisfaction rating and over 90% customer retention. healthi has also been proud to partner with the industry and research leaders of repute in healthcare. For its health check offering, it has tied up with most of the leading diagnostic and imaging laboratories, clinics, and hospitals in India, thus offering 400+ high-quality venue options for users.
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Building on research
The start-up has a research partnership with the government of India on the efficacy of chronic disease prediction models. It also has a content partnership with Mayo Clinic to deliver personalised, clinically validated, and relevant preventive health content to users. “Combining scientifically validated predictive analytics, machine learning technology, user-friendly design, strong partnerships with healthcare majors and cutting-edge research, we are revolutionising the preventive healthcare market. Our venture has made significant strides within a short span of time and now serves users in over 130 Indian cities,” Varadharaj informs.
Healthi now aims to be the go-to smart personalised preventive health service for the digital Indian. It plans to empower 1.5 million users to make smart choices about their health by 2018. To do so, it is ramping up its engagement with companies who invest on behalf of their employees and will also be reaching out to users directly through digital and select offline channels.
“Healthi also intends to double down on its research partnerships to improve efficacy of chronic disease prediction and management in India. Outputs from research and product development would build on our personalised and easy-to-understand approach to preventive health, thus further empowering users to make healthy lifestyle choices,” says Varadharaj.