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COVID-19 gives a legup to Indian health and wellness startups

More than half of total angel investments went into health-tech startups in the first half of 2020.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Amidst the ongoing pandemic, which has claimed over 50,000 lives in India, a growing number of healthcare and wellness startups are landing checks from angel and early-stage investors.

New Delhi-based Habbit Health and Nutrition, which offers a range of healthy food and beverages, said it has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Seed round led by Indian venture capital firm 3one4 Capital and Utsav Somani, India head of AngelList.

Singapore-based RB Investments, early-stage investors Better Capital and First Cheque, along with other angel investors also participated in the round through AngelList, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Habbit Health and Nutrition was set up in November 2019 by serial entrepreneur and angel investor Dhruv Bhushan and leading brand consultant Dev Kabir Malik. The startup said it applies modern science to help consumers be healthier through a range of proprietary food which includes “alternate natural sources of proteins, fats and sugars.” It said it makes every consumable item as healthy as possible, without compromising on the taste. The company will launch a wide portfolio of personalized products –from natural proteins for everyday use, to snacks, beverages, and ice creams.

The company said, the preventive healthcare market in India is expected to reach over USD 100 billion in 2022, while the expenditure on nutrition, healthy foods, functional foods, and supplements is expected to quadruple to USD 50 billion over the next decade.

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COVID-19 has also made consumers, especially in bigger cities, more open to spend on nutrition-rich food and beverages that increase immunity.

“Health and wellness is the growth sector of the future. The COVID pandemic has made everyone realize that good nutrition is a must-have and not just for those who work-out,” said AngelList’s Somani.

Habbit is one among a slew of other health and wellness startups that have raised money over the last few months. According to VCEdge, in 2020, 57% of the total angel investments went into healthcare technology sector till June. Q2 2020 saw nine angel or seed-stage deals in health-tech as compared to 3 deals being carried out in Q1 (2020).

Earlier this month, another New Delhi-based health and wellness brand Fitspire raised USD 200,000 in its pre-seed round led by Nikhil Parmar and Priyanka Madnani, co-founders of EasytoPitch, along with Bollywood singer Sukhbir Singh and other investors.

Founded last year by Vipen Jain, Fitspire provides plant-based food products. It claims to be India’s first vegan and vegetarian health wellness brand and offers various health and wellness products.

Last month, Pune-based wellness startup ThriveFNC which claims to reverse lifestyle disorders through science-backed nutrition guidelines, raised an undisclosed amount of money from Rajesh Ranavat, executive director at Fung Strategic Investments. The same month, Delhi-based wellness startup Green Cure raised an undisclosed amount from Venture Catalysts to scale up its operations and launch products in new categories. The startup claims that its products are created by a team of German scientists and Ayurveda experts who blend modern science with ancient Indian Ayurveda to develop proprietary solutions for chronic ailments.

Similarly, Yoga and wellness startup SARVA  landed an undisclosed amount of funding from US-based VC Fund Mantra Capital, and its strategic partner Patni Family in April. Apart from startups focusing on healthy food and lifestyle products, there are a number of mental health startups, including Bengaluru-based Wysa, Mumbai-based IPHM Services, and New-Delhi based No Worry No Tension, that have received checks from angel, early-stage, and institutional investors.