Bangalore: Are you trying to lose weight? Do your weight management plans go for a toss because you unwittingly eat high-calorie products? Or are you one of those who find the idea of keeping track of your calorie intake tough?
Striking a chord: LifeMojo is a one-stop shop for expert consultation and fitness products, says chief executive officer Namit Nangia. Hemant Mishra / Mint
LifeMojo, a venture of iStrait Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd, may be the answer for you. A Bangalore-based start-up, LifeMojo is a preventive health care firm that free provides online advice on fitness, tracking tools, health tips and weight management.
Also on offer is a platform for nutritionists that they can use for their customers to track weight, calorie intake and exercises, both online and on mobile phones through text messages.
Started by three engineers in November with Rs7.5 lakh, LifeMojo (www.lifemojo.com) has acquired 1,500 registered users in the last four months. “For people looking to live a fit and healthy life, LifeMojo is a one-stop shop for expert consultation and fitness products,” says Namit Nangia, chief executive, adding that anything related to fitness has huge potential in India.
Nangia’s confidence comes from alarming data: 158 million Indians are overweight, 1.35 million of them take the trouble to visit nutritionists, spending around $160 million (Rs804.8 crore), according to internal estimates at the firm.
Moreover, 40 million people in India suffer from disorders such as diabetes. According to a report prepared by the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, 49 million Indians will suffer from cardiovascular diseases by 2010.
LifeMojo offers the service free to end-consumers and makes money by selling its platform to nutritionists across India. Nangia refuses to give details on charges but says the company is aiming to break even by December. With the platform already in place, the firm says its main goal now is to sell it to as many nutritionists as possible.
The firm also plans to rope in nutritionists to provide online consultation on the LifeMojo website. Users will have to pay a fee for consultation, which will be shared between the nutritionist and the company. “We are planning to launch a paid service in a couple of months under which, consultation will be available from 10-15 nutritionists,” says Nangia.
LifeMojo expects 20-22% of its users to become paid customers. Nangia says the nutritionists may offer a discount of 5-10% for these online services. Nutritionist fees in big cities typically range from Rs500 to Rs1,000 a sitting.
While it’s early days yet, but LifeMojo’s calorie chart and tracker seem to have struck a chord with users. One of them, Varun Sharma, a software engineer, has lost 6kg in four months and weighs 75kg now.
“The biggest advantage is that I got to know the high-calorie products in my diet. I can now set goals on my calorie budget and plan my diet,” he says. He changed his eating habits after seeing the calorie chart, which includes high-calorie food products such as pakoras, parathas and kheer. “I do not exercise, just a walk in the evening. The diet change and sensible eating has made all the difference for me.”
Mumbai-based Ashish Tewari, a 29-year-old online division head of a media company, joined LifeMojo about two-and-a-half months back and has lost 5kg since.
“With the calorie tracker, one can get a quick feedback on what (one has) been eating and what’s (the) limit based on age, lifestyle, height and weight,” he says. Both Sharma and Tewari say they would not mind paying online consultation.
LifeMojo’s plan to offer nutritionist services online and on phone, makes for a convenient solution in the busy lives of executives, says nutritionist Shikha Sharma. “A doctor or a nutritionist cannot be available to thousands of patients in one day. For that, phone is the best medium. The power of technology has to be used,” she says.
Rajesh Srivathsa, managing partner, Ojas Venture Partners, says the LifeMojo concept is a little early for the Indian market where the usage of Internet is still limited. Also, it is difficult to estimate calories in Indian food products; these can vary widely depending on the way they are prepared.
“Validation is still needed to see how Indians respond to the idea of getting consultation online compared with a face-to-face interaction with a doctor or a nutritionist,” he adds.