Billionaire investor Vinod Khosla explains why he backed HealthifyMe after passing on the AI-powered startup

Vinod Khosla.

  • Vinod Khosla invested in HealthifyMe after passing on the startup a couple of years in the past.
  • The enterprise capitalist informed Insider he was impressed by the health-and-fitness app’s use of AI.
  • Khosla Ventures co-led HealthifyMe’s $75 million funding spherical in July.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Billionaire investor Vinod Khosla recently backed an Indian health-and-fitness app known as HealthifyMe. The Khosla Ventures boss told Insider in an exclusive interview why he plowed tens of millions of {dollars} into the startup after passing on it only some years in the past.

HealthifyMe combines human coaches with synthetic intelligence to offer dietary recommendation, health lessons, and diet-and-exercise plans to round 25 million customers. Khosla Ventures was the co-lead investor in HealthifyMe’s Series C funding spherical, which raised $75 million for the corporate final month. HealthifyMe has now raised over $100 million from buyers together with Unilever Ventures and Elm – an IT safety firm owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The startup’s huge addressable market, coupled with its aim of serving to individuals turn into more healthy and extra energetic, appealed to Khosla. “The bigger the issue, the larger the chance,” he stated. “Obesity and well being are giant issues.”

“Good for society, good for enterprise,” he stated about HealthifyMe’s mission.

Khosla was most excited concerning the app harnessing AI to supply tailor-made dietary recommendation based mostly on a consumer’s native delicacies and particular well being circumstances, equivalent to diabetes or hypertension. Without that expertise, the corporate must make use of a military of nutritionists, making it a lot much less scalable and inexpensive, he stated.

HealthifyMe’s use of AI offers it a superior development trajectory to a typical weight-reduction plan firm, whereas its app trumps typical weight-reduction plan and weight-loss books, as a result of it may replace its recommendation based mostly on the newest scientific analysis, Khosla added.

The enterprise capitalist informed Insider he seeks to spend money on proficient founders with grand visions of disrupting giant markets. He pointed to Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who began his funds firm with the aim of reworking small enterprise. Khosla particularly prizes entrepreneurs whose desires develop as their companies take off.

“They’ve stored increasing their imaginative and prescient of how giant the market is and what they will do with AI,” he stated about HealthifyMe.

Khosla informed Insider that he met with HealthifyMe cofounder and CEO Tushar Vashist a couple of years in the past, however he did not consider the entrepreneur would ship what he promised. “Silly of me,” he stated.

While the investor did not get on board the primary time, “the boat got here again round,” he added.

Read extra: Vinod Khosla and Warren Buffett are at opposite ends of the investing spectrum. In an exclusive interview, the legendary VC reveals the 3 key principles they both follow, why valuations don’t always matter, and why he isn’t worried about asset bubbles or market crashes.

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