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US-based RoundGlass backs weight loss coaching app Obino

Ritu Srivastava, founder and CEO, Obino

Ritu Srivastava, founder and CEO, Obino

Manna Healthcare Pvt Ltd, which runs weight loss coaching and fitness app Obino, has raised early-stage funding from US-based VC firm RoundGlass Partners.

Ritu Srivastava, founder and CEO, said the funds will be used for product development and marketing.

Obino was started in August 2012 as a value-added services (VAS) player providing weight-loss plans to subscribers of telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd, but later pivoted to become a mobile app. Obino provides users with access to a dedicated health coach and personalised fitness plans, besides its mobile app-based tracking and reminder tools.

Eventually, Obino wants to move away from human-based interaction services to an artificial intelligence (AI) based-interface so that users can be coached via the app. This will ensure that a large number of customers are attended to in a consistent manner. “The challenge is to build an AI tool that’s absolutely human so people can’t tell the difference,” said Ritu. She added that there already are artificial intelligent machines in place, from which they have learned, the most common being Facebook’s virtual personal assistant, M.

The startup operates on a freemium-based model. Paid packages for coaching come in the price range of Rs 499 to Rs 1,499 per month, said Ritu. “Currently, revenue is generated from paid services provided to premium customers but there are several other monetisation channels which will be rolled out in 2016,” she added.

Obino’s Android app has clocked about 50,000 downloads since inception. As of December 2015, the firm had 10,000 weekly users and about 500 paid customers.

In October 2014, Obino had secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding from healthcare incubator Healthstart.

Obino was founded by Ritu Srivastava, Vishal Soni and Yogesh Sachdeva. Prior to Obino, Ritu held brand marketing positions at Bharti Airtel and Radio Today (Delhi) Broadcasting Ltd. She completed her postgraduate management programme from TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal.

Sachdeva leads the technical team at Obino. He develops features with machine-learning capabilities, designs the user interface for the mobile app and website as well as defines the product and business vision of the startup, as per his LinkedIn profile. Prior to Obino, Sachdeva was part of the IT divisions at Aircel and Bharti Airtel. He has also worked on projects at HCL Technologies Ltd, Birlasoft and Idea Cellular Ltd.

RoundGlass Partners is a Seattle-based venture firm that focuses on healthcare startups. It recently invested in Gurgaon-based 911 India Healthcare Pvt Ltd, which owns doctors networking app Curofy.

Last August, RoundGlass invested $1 million in Uber Health Tech Pvt Ltd, a startup that builds social wellness apps for corporate staffers under the brand Zoojoo.be. Earlier, the VC firm teamed up with Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal and others to invest $2.3 million in medical technology startup Wrig Nanosystems.

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