Tushar Vashisht has been having trouble keeping himself fit. Overweight for his 32 years, the chief executive of HealthifyMe found his girth increasing as his fitness app company grew 20-fold in the last two years. Vashisht works out of a building that’s right in the middle of lip-smackingly famous eating joints of Indiranagar in east Bengaluru.

But it wasn’t the binge that added extra kilos to the otherwise lean entrepreneur. It was pulling HealthifyMe from the brink of bankruptcy three years ago. Today, the five-year-old company has over two million app downloads, according to Appbot. Its paid users range anywhere between 20,000-40,000, considering the 1-2% standard conversion rate for such apps. Vashisht insists they are on the higher side. For the sake of clarity, let’s take it as 30,000 paid users. Which ranks it just a little behind the so-far most successful company in this space, GOQii, which has over 50,000 downloads (equal to its subscriber base* since it’s a paid service), as per Appbot.

While GOQii positions itself as a healthcare platform, HealthifyMe is labeled as a weight-loss company. Although both started out with a similar idea: providing fitness services online through professional experts. Incidentally, Vashisht and Vishal Gondal, who sold his first company IndiaGames in 2011 for $100 million, met in Kochi at Ink Conference in October 2013. Until then, HealthifyMe was already offering this service to hospitals, but it wanted to get into consumer health. In January 2014, when Vashisht launched his app, little did he know that a month later Gondal would start GOQii, a remote fitness coaching platform like his, albeit integrated with a wearable.

HealthifyMe was the first Indian fitness app on Google Play, but it didn’t fly off the shelves. Staring near-death in its face, it made a last-ditch effort with Rs 60 lakhs in loans to relaunch the app with some frills. But once again, GOQii loomed large. After a test-run in early 2014, GOQii launched commercially in India, in August 2014. With marquee investors behind and a successful entrepreneur in front, GOQii overshadowed HealthifyMe.

But it also saved Vashisht.

HealthifyMe co-founders: Tushar Vashisht, chief executive (left) and Sachin Shenoy, head of engineering (right)

The boomerang moment

With Amit Singhal, former Google senior vice president, and Mike McNamara, chief executive of Flextronics, as investors, among others, GOQii suddenly brought health tech on the investors’ table. HealthifyMe, which had a similar model as GOQii, but without the wearable, also benefited. By September 2014, it managed to raise $750,000 in a seed round. Two years later, it raised $7 million from IDG Ventures India, Inventus Capital, Blume Ventures and NB Ventures. Buoyed by two million downloads, Vashisht says, “By March 2018, we will have five million users (downloads).”

Now five million is a lot of users.


Moulishree Srivastava

Moulishree has over five years of experience in journalism. In her previous assignment, she was a Principal Correspondent for Business Standard where she wrote on technology and telecom. Prior to Business Standard, she was at Mint, where she wrote on various subjects — tourism, hospitality, real estate, science, cyber security and technology. Moulishree graduated as an engineer in Information Technology from Chandigarh Engineering College. She worked as a software engineer briefly but then took a detour and got her journalism degree from IIJNM, Bangalore. She will be based in Bangalore and you can reach her at her first-name@the-ken.com.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20



What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at support@the-ken.com detailing the error or queries.