Indonesian weight loss app closes $2.6M seed funding

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Personal health coaching app Sirka from Indonesia has scored $2.6 million in a seed funding round led by venture capital firms AC Ventures and Wavemaker Group.

The investing bout was also participated by Sequioa, YC, Goodwater Capital, and Indonesian singer Maudy Ayunda.

WHAT IT DOES

Available on Android and iOS devices, the subscription-based digital health platform offers tailored weight-loss programmes, which includes meal recommendations, for three to six months and counselling with its current 12 nutritionists. Since it launched in June, it has claimed to help over 1,000 app users lose weight.

WHY IT MATTERS

Sirka aims to help in preventing risks of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases by targeting obesity. Based on a recent Indonesian Family Life Survey, obesity cases in the country have more than doubled over the past two decades, growing into an epidemic. The condition is more prevalent in adult women (10.9%) than in adult men (6.3%), according to the Global Nutrition Report. Obesity rates have rapidly increased in both rich and poor Indonesian households, said the World Health Organization, as people are moving towards a diet containing processed products that are high in fat and sugar. 

With its fresh funds, Sirka is working to enhance its programmes by conducting more research and partnering with medical advisors and players in the food and beverage sector. In the future, it said it will explore long-term support medications to treat chronic diseases like diabetes.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

Fellow health coaching app SugoSure by digital health firm ConnectedHealth has recently launched in Singapore. It offers a subscription-based service that helps manage the conditions of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Another Singaporean player, Autumn, has partnered with health tech provider dacadoo to offer digital health coaching on its wealth and health platform. In June, digital therapeutics firm Epillo, which is now available in Singapore, Malaysia and India, told MobiHealthNews that it will soon offer a premium subscription service offering health assessment and monitoring.

ON THE RECORD

“Sirka democratises access to nutritionists and provides convenient access on mobile. It’s a highly localised and personalised solution to prevent chronic conditions and improve users’ health while being relatively affordable for the wider population,” Wavemaker General Partner Gavin Lee said.

“Nutrition and well-being [are] increasingly being [on] top of mind for Indonesians as we continue to have almost triple the global obesity rate and a very high at-risk population for chronic illnesses. Starting with nutritionists that are reachable at convenient times of the day through their app – we love Sirka’s approach of leveraging technology and knowledge to bring functional well-being within reach of millions of people,” AC Ventures founder Adrian Li also commented.

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