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With a million active users, AI nutritionist tucks into $12m funding

Tushar Vashisht was overweight when he returned to India eight years ago, after a stint as an analyst with Deutsche Bank in Singapore. His sedentary lifestyle continued after he took up a demanding project management role with the formative team that built India’s digital ID Aadhaar.

He was determined to do something about his flab, and began by tracking the calories and nutrients in what he ate. But he soon ran into a problem: there was little help available online in evaluating Indian dishes.

Being a techie, Vashisht came up with an analytical tool to break down the calories and main nutrients in 900 foods, and presented it to the government’s planning council as a healthcare aid. It was also the genesis of his startup Healthify, which was established in late 2011. Ex-Googler Sachin Shenoy later joined him as a co-founder.

The app is designed to help users meet their dietary and fitness goals with personalized tracking and recommendations. HealthifyMe, which has a million monthly active users in over 200 cities and towns in India and the Middle East, today announced series B funding of US$12 million.

Russian conglomerate Sistema’s Asia Fund led the round along with Samsung Next Fund, marking the year-old Valley-based fund’s first major bet in India. Other new investors include Japan’s Dream Incubator and Singapore’s Atlas Asset Management. Existing investors IDG Ventures India, Inventus Capital, Blume Ventures, and Dubai-based NB Ventures also participated.

Apart from scaling and expanding the scope of what the startup offers, the new funding sets up HealthifyMe for its series C round from global investors possibly next year, Vashisht explains to Tech in Asia. This also ties in with its ambitions to be a global player in this space.

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