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Ushering in the Health Coaches

Vinayak Garg’s Zest MD provides an online platform for nutritionists to provide consulting for clients

Published: 19th May 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2014 03:54 PM   |  A+A-

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PUDUCHERRY: At a time and age when the healthcare industry is making rapid strides, thanks to evolving technology, Vinayak Garg envisions making a dent in the way nutritionists reach out to their clients, with Zest.md. Vinayak’s brain child, Zest.md, is an eClinic solution for nutritionists and health coaches around the world. It helps nutritionists to have their own online consulting business.

A BTech graduate of the 2008 batch from IIT-Delhi, he spent one year on an exchange programme at INSA, Lyon, France in 2006-2007. Post his graduation, he worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Consultant for Government reforms. Vinayak won Indiafrica’s Young Visionary award in 2012, given by the government of India.

He started Zest.md in late 2012, and currently they have more than 350 health coaches registered across 24 Indian cities. They also have professionals from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Canada, Dubai, Iran and Kenya using their platform. In Zest, each health coach can create a portal to monitor and consult with their clients.

The majority of the internet searches are about how to get healthy and there is no structured way for health coaches to reach out to potential clients. Zest aims to bridge that gap. They have also added a way where client data from fitness apps such as Fitbit and RunKeeper can be accessed by the coaches. This gives the coaches real-time data that will go a long way in keeping them updated on their client’s health. Initially, they started Zest as a place where second opinions for cancer patients can be sought. Seeing the response they received, they pivoted their strategy. It works on the simple premise of “Prevention is better than cure”.

India’s diabetic population is as good as the entire population of a few countries, obesity is rapidly increasing and there are various other issues that are making our country less healthy. Vinayak says, “We are not at all competing with the in-person health consultation market. Except for a few big cities in India, it is impossible for many to get the services of a health coach. Providing it online gives people the much needed health advice and it gives health coaches a means to earn money and improve their clientele’s health.”

The technical backbone behind this platform, Piyush Bansal, is also an engineer. He says, “Our aim is to make the nutritionists understand the potential of the online space and help them leverage it for their benefit.”

In 2014, Zest won the Challenge Cup (Health) at Delhi, organised by 1776 (a US-based accelerator). With no tangible competitors to name, Zest aims to make nutritionists and dietitians accessible to every person across the globe. Their immediate target is to enrol 1,000 nutritionists in India and to strengthen their base in the US where the market is in its nascent stage. Vinayak’s parting words for aspiring entrepreneurs, “The only way to realise your dream is by getting started. Doesn’t matter what your idea is, if you believe in it, put it to the test. If you have excuses stopping you, then you don’t believe in your idea!”

— mathew.maniamkot@gmail.com



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