Tata Digital—a subsidiary of Tata Sons—on Monday said that it will invest up to $75 million in healthcare and wellness startup CureFit. As part of the deal, Mukesh Bansal, co-founder and CEO of CureFit, will join Tata Digital as president, the company said in a statement. Bansal will continue to lead his Bengaluru-based startup as well.
“Joining Tata Digital marks an exciting new step for me and my team and is a recognition of the value we have created with CureFit for fitness enthusiasts in India. Being part of Tata Digital will enable us to nationally scale up our offerings for our customers. Tata Digital has a highly inspiring vision to create a next-generation consumer platform,” Bansal said in a statement.
Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal started CureFit in 2016 with Ankit Nagori, his ex-colleague and former Flipkart chief business officer. The startup aimed to build an integrated healthcare, fitness, and wellness platform for consumers using a mixed channel strategy of online and offline.
Since the launch of his five-year-old startup CureFit, Bansal has managed to woo well-established venture capital funds and angel investors such as Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, and Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts, to back the venture.
Over the past few years, CureFit has built multiple platforms to provide services in fitness, food, and primary and mental healthcare through products such as Cult.fit, a chain of fitness centres; Eat.fit, an online-offline food service; Mind.fit, a provider of online-offline services on mental health and wellness offerings such as meditation, yoga, and counselling; and Care.fit, a subscription-based service provider for primary care.
But since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in March last year, the startup’s business has been hit hard as gyms and fitness centres across the country had to shut down to contain the spread of Covid-19. It also had to shut down operations of its food delivery business, Eat.fit, across multiple cities. According to reports, CureFit laid off hundreds of its trainers and housekeeping staff across its fitness centres last year. It also cut salaries of its employees and downsized operations across business verticals.
However, this hasn’t stopped investors from backing the venture. The latest investment from Tata Digital is an example of the potential of the fitness and wellness industry in India despite the setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the last one year.
According to CureFit, the Indian fitness and wellness market is growing at approximately 20% per annum and is expected to reach about $12 billion by 2025. “The CureFit partnership with its industry leading platform in fitness and wellness aligns very well with our overall healthcare proposition where fitness is increasingly becoming an integral part of a consumer’s life,” said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, in a statement.
Tata Digital set up its operations in August 2019 to build consumer-centric digital businesses across multiple verticals. Last month, Tata Digital acquired a majority stake (approximately 64%) in online grocery store BigBasket for reportedly $1.3 billion.
“We are delighted to have Mukesh Bansal as a part of the key leadership team of Tata Digital. With his deep consumer experience and an entrepreneurial mindset of having incubated and grown two very successful businesses, his expertise will bring immense value to us,” Chandrasekaran said.
Bansal, a computer science graduate from IIT Kanpur, worked with Silicon Valley startups for eight years before he built one of India’s largest online fashion portals which he sold to Flipkart for $375 million in May 2014. It was then the biggest acquisition in the Indian e-commerce space.