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Rise, A Nutrition Coaching App, Acquires HealthyOut

Suneel Gupta

(Techcrunch) – Rise, a service that connects users with diet coaches, has acquired healthy restaurant food recommendation startup HealthyOut.

HealthyOut combs the menus of nearby restaurants to find healthy foods and then gives recommendations on what is the best option for different kinds of diets and eating habits. It uses machine learning to process restaurants, and is processing 140,000 restaurants around the country. HealthyOut has been downloaded around 730,000 times and helps Rise provide more of what they think is necessary to help create a healthier diet in a range of different scenarios, CEO Suneel Gupta said.

Rise offers its members a dedicated dieting coach for $50 per month, and said it hit a $1 million revenue run-rate in its first year running. It also offers recipes curated by its coaches for each user’s preferences and eating styles, and access to a dietician in for decisions about food in real time.

“Many members are out and about, and want to know to know what to do,” Gupta said. “You and your coach now worked on a profile that fits you, and recommend things you stay away from. Your coach will be able to create this perfected profile for you, all you need to do is tap a button and it shows you what menu items are in your area.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

These kinds of acquisitions help a company complete a road map without requiring a significant time investment in building a similar product. It also ensures that startups like Rise stay ahead of the competition, even though it’s a pretty early stage to make an acquisition (Rise has raised $4.3 million to date). To be sure, there are other fitness tracking applications like MyFitnessPal, but Rise’s approach is to be more personalized.

The whole conversation between the two companies started with a phone call, but perhaps the most important point was when Dan Myers, one of HealthyOut’s co-founders, and some of his team came and visited the Rise office. Members of the teams sat in a conference room talking about how to help people become healthier, and one thing led to another, Gupta said.

“The average person who’s motivated is trying four times in a given year [to diet] and failing,” Gupta said. “So we’re really looking at this from a product point of view, if we begin with that person and begin with their challenge. When you start to feel like the roadmap that you and the company you’re talking to has a really tight overlap, that’s when you start to feel like hey this could make a lot of sense.”

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Gupta’s story behind Rise is a personal one. When he was growing up, both of his parents were dealing with health-related issues. It occurred to him that, if anything was going to change, he and his family had to change the things they did at home — and it was a dietician that finally helped them get on track to being healthier.

“We did what a lot of americans do, we went on a diet,” Gupta said. “We tried a few different things, we tried South Beach, and nothing really stuck. For us, what really helped, we finally had a coach, a registered dietician to hold us accountable.”

There are other one-on-one diet coaching services as well — like Weight Watchers — but Rise’s bet is that with HealthyOut and the rest of its products, the company will offer a much larger suite of tools that will make it the go-to application for diet and nutritional coaching. “We did see what they were doing as two sides of the same coin,” Gupta said.

HealthyOut launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 and was a finalist in the startup battlefield competition.

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