Virtual classes could make it easier to train anywhere, anytime, however for nobody. Mainstream fitness technology is often aimed at young and fit people, in advertising and cardio-heavy exercises. It effectively excludes older adults from participating.
In this gap between mainstream fitness and elders is Mighty Health, a Y combiner Graduate, come in.
Mighty Health has developed a nutritional and fitness wellness app that is tailored for older adults who may have aching hips or joint problems. The San Francisco-based startup announced today that it raised $ 2.8 million from Y Combinator, NextView Ventures, RRE Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital and others.
Founder and CEO James Li is the child of immigrants, a detail that has helped him put himself into entrepreneurship. He came up with the idea for Mighty Health after his father was hospitalized for an open heart emergency operation.
"When we grow up, we can often imagine our parents as invincible – they take care of you and take care of you, and you don't normally worry too much about them," Li said. His father survived the operation and Li thought about the evolving health needs and limitations of people over 50. He co-founded Dr. Bernard Chang, the youngest ED doctor ever, teamed up for a top-notch NIH grant and the assistant professor of research at Columbia University Medical Center to create Mighty Health.
Mighty Health's product focuses on three things: live coaching; Content focusing on nutrition, checkups and workouts; and celebrations where family members can adjust to the performance of their loved ones.
The app has built-in inclusiveness. One user logs in every day and receives three to five tasks that are divided between nutrition, exercise and training. The workouts are recorded videos with trainers who focused on the over 50s. Think of indoor cardio sets that are designed to protect the joints or reduce their effects.
A customer, Elizabeth, is a 56-year-old mother who came to Mighty Health after a heart attack. The app got her to walk 9,000 steps a day, lose weight, lower cholesterol, and most of all, discover her love for a vegetable she'd recently written off: Brussels sprouts.
The other focus of Mighty Health is fitness in addition to nutrition. The app combines users with a coach to help them develop healthy eating and lifestyle habits. The coaching takes place via SMS. Li says this was intentional because he saw in the early days of Mighty Health that it was difficult for users to exercise in the app.
"You have to meet them in the middle of where they are," said Li. Live coaching is also answered by phone calls, although 90% of coach interactions are based on text messages.
The nutritional program also takes into account a diverse user base. Unlike many other applications, Mighty Health has chosen not to offer or share prescriptions for members, as generic prescriptions may not be available in all countries and cultures.
"Instead, we focus on the ingredient level," he said. "We send them ingredients that they can put together, how they like it at home, how they prepare their cultural meals."
The company offers a free seven-day trail, followed by a monthly membership fee of $ 20. There are also talks with a number of health insurers to offer Mighty Health as an advantage.
With the new capital, the startup hired some engineers and a designer to build product integrations with fitness trackers and add new content. At the moment, Li is proud to see his father's progress.
"Although I am sure that sometimes he thinks that not only did I torture him directly with my product, he also ate and trained healthily almost every day," said Li. So far, his father has lost 25 pounds.