Y Combinator startup Weilos, founded by Ray Wu, who received his MD from Cornell, announces today its re-launch, aiming to re-imagine the way we approach fitness and weight loss.
Weilos is an app designed to help people reach their goals, largely because users find it highly engaging. Today, progress photos are the most popular weight loss and fitness posts on the web because they demonstrate in a concrete way what is possible for viewers. In preliminary research tracking 180 people, people that took self-progress pictures lost an average of 1.2 lbs per week, compared to .1 lbs lost per week for Belviq, an FDA approved weight loss drug, and .27 lbs lost per week for weight watchers.
Weilos is the first app that provides an enhanced mobile experience for creating and viewing progress photos. Beyond technical features, Weilos provides people with a safe place to post all of their personal fitness related updates for the support they need to finally reach their goals.
With the cost of healthcare in the US forecasted to double according to Louis Radnofsky of the Wall Street Journal, one’s health has become more important than ever before. Weilos is a fitness startup that inspires people to lose weight through viewing the real life transformations of others.
Says founder Ray Wu, “When I studied medicine, it was clear that the patients who were most effective in combating obesity, which is a leading cause of preventable death, also had the strongest social circles. The problem is that most people do not get enough from their personal network to reach their weight loss goals. Weilos’ mission is to build the most supportive community that anyone in the world can access to get the encouragement and motivation they need to suceed.”
With Weilos’ mobile application, users can take perfectly lined up progress photos to visualize the smallest improvements in their weight loss journey. They can then post these photos, along with day-to-day weight loss photos and activities, to an open newsfeed, where they receive support from like-minded individuals as part of a supportive community. Thus, the app gives users the tools and social support they need to succeed in their weight loss journey.
As founder Ray Wu explains, Weilos is an innovative solution to the rise in obesity worldwide because it combines scientifically proven fitness research with an intuitive, photo based mobile experience. “In recent decades, obesity has skyrocketed in the US and around the world. Today, over 1/3 of Americans (35.7%), are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control,” says Dr. Wu, who also worked at McKinsey before co-founding Weilos.
Weilos’ true potential lies in the way it utilizes science, social and practical technology to “truly help a person optimize their health and fitness”, adds the entrepreneur and doctor.
The fitness industry is increasingly receiving attention, with a report from IHS Electronics projecting that the sports and fitness app industry will grow by 63 percent in the upcoming years. The report predicts that global downloads of sports and fitness mobile apps will rise from 156 million in 2012 to 248 million in 2017. According to Rock Health, in 2013 venture funding for digital health surpassed medical device funding.
As part of Y Combinator’s summer 2013 class, Weilos is a startup on the rise, that is poised to change the way people reach their fitness and weight loss goals.