The Hindustan Times Trailblazer Award 2021 : Tushar Vashisht
Born to a family of distinguished people who have served the nation in various capacities, the young Tushar Vashisht, CEO and Co-founder of HealthifyMe, can confidently say that he’s been there, done that - all from studying abroad and working at the Wall Street, to living in a servant’s quarter in India, surviving on 32 rupees a day, while engaging in a poverty line experiment. The journey of the 35 year old from his school days in Haryana and Delhi to heading a tech app company in Bangalore is a heartwarming one. Amid the pandemic Vashisht’s health and wellness app has helped several Indians normalize their body weight, adopt a healthy diet and become fit by joining the app’s virtual fitness classes. “HealthifyMe has grown quite rapidly, since the pandemic began. We have about 20 million downloads, and are helping millions of people lose weight, get healthier and fitter and reduce their risk for lifestyle diseases and Covid mortality. We are doing about 25 million dollars of revenue now,” says Vashisht.
A lesser known fact about Vashisht, is that he was a member of Penn Masala - the popular A cappella group, and can often be found recording Youtube covers and signing labels, if not in board meetings. Talking about the app’s USP feature and massy appeal, the young entrepreneur says “Healthifyme is the first Indian calorie counter in the world having a strong Indian food database. This is the biggest connect for Indians who can use calorie counter for Indian delicacies and desi food. We have a number of indian nutritionists and trainers that allow us to cater to local, regional lifestyle. Our USP has been the artificial intelligence based subscriptions that we have introduced, which has made our app highly affordable for everybody.”
A big worry of people in the pandemic was their health. With the increased worry on fitness, what were the new things that Healthifyme started amid the pandemic that played a significant role in contributing towards a fitter India? “People amid the pandemic suddenly realized that it is important to eat healthy, work out and lose weight so we saw a lot of organic demand for our product go up. People started to count their calories and exercise right from their homes. The biggest feature we launched amid the pandemic was healthify studio, an online studio where you could connect with top fitness experts from India and around the world at a fairly low cost. There were dance classes for children, yoga lessons for the elderly, HIIT, Zumba etc – a variety of workout classes. We had a thousand trainers and coaches on our platform and we connected them to our consumers.”
The HT Trailblazers awardee has added yet another feather to his cap as the HealthifyMe app has become the most used, downloaded and popular health and fitness app across platforms. Talking about his plan for his app in the future, Vashisht says, “20 million users in a country of billions is a drop in the ocean, we still have a 100 million people who badly need our service. Indian obesity doubled between 2005 – 2015. We went from 14% to 29% and we are becoming the diabetes, hypertensive and PCOS capital of the world. So, HealthifyMe aims at reversing all these problems and getting to a 100 million users and gradually to Healthify all of India.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha