Invasion of the Wellness Apps
The rise of wellness startup apps also offers some important lessons for brands regardless of what industry you are in — such as providing a mobile-first customer experience and responding to changes in consumer behavior.
8th Apr 2021
Invasion of the Wellness Apps
Want to stay healthy? Hey, there’s a startup app to help you do that. In fact, there’s a startup app to help you keep on top of every aspect of your health these days: managing your blood pressure, exercising, staying mentally balanced, eating right, sleeping right . . . you name it, and there’s a hot startup that has you covered (here’s a chart from CB Insights that categorizes 150 of them). The rise of wellness startup apps also offers some important lessons for brands regardless of what industry you are in — such as knowing your audience, providing a mobile-first customer experience, and sensing and responding to changes in consumer behavior. Let’s take a closer look:
Physical Exercise and Health
- FitOn believes that good health should be for everyone. To that end, FitOn shares fitness exercise, yoga, Pilates, and exercise through dance, not to mention personalized plans, a content library, and advice from the experts — all at no cost.
Why we love it: This. App. Is. Free.
- Taking care can have a ripple effect. Consider Betterfly, which syncs data from physical exercise apps, transmuting calories burned and physical activity into charity donations and meal delivery to hungry kids.
Why we love it: Taking care of one’s health means putting good out there in the world, too? Hard to argue with that.
Diet and Nutrition
- Better living through diet: the Lifesum app helps users reach weight and health goals by focusing on better eating. Features include nutritious recipes; a barcode scanner to access and log nutritional information; trackers for food, exercise and water intake; and simplified meal plans.
Why we love it: Lifesum shows us that, really, “diet” doesn’t have to be a four-letter word.
- Using Cara Care, individuals with GI issues can manage and track conditions by logging everything from food intake to stress, pain, and other symptoms to help identify what factors contribute to their “good” and “not so good” days. Got questions? Round-the-clock support connects users with personal dietitians who typically reply within a day.
Why we love it: Knowledge is power, and Cara Care helps people connect the dots between diet, their gut, and overall wellness.
Emotional Well Being
- Want to form a habit? Stop worrying? Sleep better? Former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe brings his techniques for meditation and mindfulness online via Headspace, an app with the stated mission to “improve the health and happiness of the world.” A friendly, well-designed interface guides users through exercises devoted to everything from embracing gratitude to relieving stress.
Why we love it: smart, cheerful graphics and genuinely thoughtful content earn Headspace special kudos — this app is a pleasure to navigate.
- First of its kind, Exhale is an emotional wellbeing app designed for BIWOC users. Curated content includes meditations, affirmations, guided visualizations, and breath work, all directed toward the goal of self-care and mindfulness.
Why we love it: Exhale is a true passion project. McCarty wrote and narrated the meditations herself and though she’s not a coder, she Googled how to build an app — and then she made it happen.
- Vida Health is dedicated to the whole person, not just point solutions. Bringing together mental and physical healthcare through technology and human interaction, the app helps people track key data like weight, sleep, and diet, and it pairs individuals with a health coach. Users receive a wellness plan including video/phone consultations and personalized tips.
Why we love it: by acknowledging both physical and mental conditions, Vida Health helps people make the kinds of changes that change lives — for the better.
What Can We Learn from These Wellness Startups?
- Know your audience: these apps appeal especially to the surging Millennial generation, which continues to grow in economic power. But they are a cost-conscious generation, too, which means they are very mindful of the cost of healthcare.
- Incorporate the right technology to make the customer experience better. For example, Headspace uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help users do voice queries to find the right meditation experience for their mood (e.g., “I am stressed out”; “I am depressed”). Lifesum uses AI-powered visual search to make it possible for users to scan images of different foods in their diet and quickly retrieve health data including calories in each food.
- Provide a mobile-first customer experience. These startups have capitalized on the rise of the mobile economy, and they’ve created experiences tailored for mobile, such as tracking and reporting key personal health data that is easily scrollable on mobile screens; and integrating that data easily with other smart devices if needed .
- Sense and respond: it’s no secret that these apps are flourishing at a time when we’re seeing a rise in stay-at-home services such as telehealth during the pandemic. It’s not that these apps quickly got their businesses up and running when Covid-19 hit – they had already sensed and responded to remote services such as telehealth and self-service and responded.
As the wellness apps space continues to grow, a natural question arises: how many can the marketplace accommodate? The answer depends on how effectively wellness startups can analyze data about people and customize solutions that meet very targeted groups of people. We’d expect that going forward, artificial intelligence will exert a more important role helping startups understand and segment people and their needs. It’s an exciting space that promises to get bigger as society continues to look for alternatives to expensive hospital care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your succeed by creating a more personalized experience, contact Asher Wren to schedule a free consultation.