How Ultrahuman Is Moving From Sports Science To Global Healthcare
Ultrahuman founders Mohit Kumar and Vatsal Singhal started out with a project that aimed to help athletes train more smartly; today, their business is rapidly transitioning into a healthcare company on the frontline of the battle against a global metabolic health crisis.
Ultrahuman, which is today unveiling a $17.5m funding round led by Alpha Wave Incubation, is a metabolic fitness platform, offering users a convenient way to monitor their glucose levels in real time – and, crucially, to live more healthily.
Kumar and Singhal are best known as co-founders of food ordering app Runnr, which was eventually acquired by Zomato. Following that acquisition, Kumar took some time out to indulge his love of MMA, training at the Tiger Muay Thai martial arts camp. “I was amazed at how many athletes were using data to an unprecedented extent in their training,” Kumar recalls. “It was also obvious to me that they were finding it complicated and stressful to do that, taking measurements, building their own spreadsheets and doing their own analysis.”
That experience inspired Kumar and Singhal’s next venture. Ultrahuman aims to automate and augment the use of data in health and fitness. Users wear a patch that continually measures their glucose levels and automatically transmits the data to the Ultrahuman platform. Kumar and Singh have built a metabolic health index so that each user constantly gets a score, based on their data. This allows them to monitor the effects of food, drink and exercise on their glucose levels and to adjust their lifestyles accordingly.
In other words, the platform provides a real-time, personalised read-out on users’ metabolic health. In addition, Ultrahuman provides tailored analysis and advice so that each user can understand the specific changes they could make in order to improve their health. “The idea is to nudge you towards better eating and better exercise choices,” Kumar explains.
With a subscription-based business model – users pay a monthly fee for ongoing access to the platform – Ultrahuman’s target market to date has been sports and fitness enthusiasts with the understanding and desire to monitor their glucose in this way. But Kumar was amazed to discover, even amongst this constituency, which should be an especially healthy cohort, that metabolic disorders are common. He reckons as many as 30% of users have some form of problem.
This realisation is leading Ultrahuman’s founders towards a new – and potentially much larger – market. More than a billion people worldwide suffer from metabolic health disorders, Kumar points out, and such conditions are a contributory factor in 85% of all chronic diseases. A simple way to monitor and manage your metabolic health could therefore be transformational for healthcare worldwide.
Ultrahuman's app provides a real-time read out on your metabolic health
“We face a global crisis around metabolic health,” warns Kumar. “The worst thing is that while people around the world are heading for disaster, they usually have no idea about it.”
Having built Ultrahuman through a limited subscriber basis, with users attracted through word of mouth as the company has fine-tuned its approach, Kumar believes he and his colleagues are now uniquely well-placed to help. “Anyone who wants to eat well and live more healthily can benefit from this,” he claims.
That value proposition also has obvious appeal to investors. Today’s fund-raising is a Series B round, taking the total funds raised by the company to date to around $25m. Fund-raising leader Alpha Wave Incubation is backed by DisruptAD and managed by Falcon Edge Capital, Steadview Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures and Utsav Somani’s iSeed fund. Marquee founders and angel investors are also participating in the round.
“We believe Mohit and Vatsal can transform the way people view personal wellness globally,” says Navroz Udwadia, co-founder of Falcon Edge. “We are thrilled to back what could be a pioneering biomarker-driven global healthcare business - their dual obsessiveness around product engineering and customer experience is already showing results in terms of product market fit and retention.”
The latest funding gives Ultrahuman the firepower it needs to take its story to the next stage. The company will use the cash to expand its geographical footprint, with plans for launch in both Europe and the US. Kumar is also keen to underline Ultrahuman’s ongoing commitment to investing in the product, identifying opportunities to develop ever more sophisticated uses for its data.