Malaysia-based digital health startup Naluri Hidup has raised approximately RM1 million ($258,570) in seed financing from Singapore-based healthcare analytics firm BioMark and Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups through its Southeast Asia-focussed fund, 500 Durians.
Investment proceeds from this round, including seed capital from its founders, will finance the development of the Naluri digital platform, as well as commercial and clinical trials with Naluri’s industry partners. The company works with insurers, employers and hospitals to offer a health psychology based preventive health program for at-risk policyholders and employees, and a rehabilitative program for chronic illness patients.
Dr Christopher Ting, the co-founder of BioMark, said, “Our investment is based on the tremendous synergies that we see between BioMark and Naluri, from combining our personalised health recommendations derived from our proprietary analysis of a user’s biomarkers, with Naluri’s personalised coaching services to help the users implement the desired lifestyle changes.”
Its digital app connects users to health and clinical psychologists, who use evidence-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing techniques to help at-risk individuals achieve clinical outcomes such as, but not limited to, weight loss, reduction in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels or better stress management, over a personalized 16-week program.
Additional services include in-person counselling and clinical psychological services at their centre in Plaza Damas to help with post-surgery rehabilitation, stress and anxiety management, chronic pain management, eating disorders, smoking cessation and management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, stroke and cancer.
Co-founded in mid-2017 by the team of Azran Osman-Rani, Dr Jeremy Ting and Dr Hariyati Abdul Majid, Naluri was established with the aim of improving mass market access to health psychological services and to help users adopt healthier lifestyle habits through personalised guidance and coaching.
In a press release, Osman-Rani, who is the former CEO of iFlix, comments: “Malaysia is currently the most unhealthy nation in Asia, with two-thirds of adults having either hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes, and almost half are overweight. Existing solutions like corporate wellness programs, wearables, diet programs, and gym memberships have low retention rates. Many drop out because of mental resilience factors like self-esteem and confidence, stress and mental fatigue, and a lack of lifestyle problem-solving support.”
“There are models in developed markets that are achieving success with comprehensive online support for chronic disease users, but we see an opportunity to localize it for emerging markets with language, lifestyle culture, spiritual support to have better engagement for the mass market. You can’t tell the mass market user in Southeast Asia about kale, quinoa, or Fitbits and expensive gym memberships when it’s not relevant or accessible to their lifestyles.”
“You need local professionals who understand local language, diet and culture, as well as local stressors and constraints to build trust-based relationships with users in our markets,” he adds.