For many people, the coronavirus pandemic has changed their nutrition and exercise habits. One app helping people track their food and lose weight is called Lifesum. The company has scaled rapidly to 45 million users and boasts partnerships with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Nike (NYSE:NKE).
Fool.com’s Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina chatted with Lifesum’s CEO Henrik Torstensson about the digital health and wellness space and their partnership strategy.
Corinne Cardina: Partnership has been a big strategy for Lifesum. The company has developed some really impressive partnerships with big tech companies, notably Amazon recently. Can you tell us more about Amazon Halo?
Henrik Torstensson: I’m very happy to be one of the nine launch partners for Amazon Halo, which is Amazon’s new health device and program that is coming this fall. They’re really interested in taking a very holistic approach to health and we are their nutrition partner on the lab side.
Cardina: Great. What does that mean? How does that work in practice?
Torstensson: With Amazon Halo, when you want to change your approach to nutrition and food, they have a part of the service called labs where we’ve made the content and the program that the subscribers and users of Amazon Halo are using to actually go on and change how they eat.
Cardina: Okay. It’s an education component?
Torstensson: It’s an interactive education component. You pick something you want to do and then there’s this daily guidance to actually help you do that.
Cardina: Awesome. That’s super exciting for you all. The Amazon Halo, it harnesses artificial intelligence to inform what we know about our bodies. What excites you about artificial intelligence in the healthcare space?
Torstensson: What I think is so fascinating and really promising is that there’s this great amounts of data, and we collect hundreds of millions of data points every month from our 45 million users, and with artificial intelligence we are able to personalize the experience for individuals and actually dig out what we will learn from others to actually make it easier for everyone to live healthier lives.
Torstensson: Get sick or get really on the preventive side, which is probably the best thing if you get it right.
Cardina: Yeah, absolutely. What might you say to folks who are skeptical that tech companies will protect their most private data, their biometrics, their health information?
Torstensson: I can only speak for Lifesum and we always start with users’ rights and privacy. We collect the data that the user gives us to actually provide a service, and if they want us to share that with other services to make their lives better, we think that’s fine, but it’s not for us to go and share that data without user consent.
Cardina: Great, very important. I enjoyed looking around that Lifesum social media. It looks like social media is an important component of your strategy, really educating folks on some timely wellness trends, education. I saw an explainer on intermittent fasting, which is something I’ve been really interested in recently as well. What do you think about social media and the role it’s playing in Lifesum’s success?
Torstensson: To us, it’s a digital service, and as eight years old, as a digital-native company with the millennial generation, it’s obviously a core part of what we do and how we interact with our membership. It’s important, but there are our partnerships as we discussed before. So it’s really the mix of finding a great product, great social media, great partnerships, to make the magic source.
Cardina: Absolutely. How do you envision the future of digital health? What trends do you think will continue to gain momentum once the coronavirus pandemic subsides?
Torstensson: I think one thing that I’m really excited about, what we’re doing is actually one of the AI-driven products, it’s predictive tracking. By looking at everyone else that’s used Lifesum and what you have done before as an individual user, we can actually predict what you’re going to eat and that really creates this magical fluent experience. That level of being a daily part of a user’s life is really exciting. I think that one segment of digital health that really got this pushed, which I think will stay with us and continue to grow is really telemedicine. I think that’s going to stay with us because it’s just more convenient for a lot of interactions with our doctors.
Cardina: Yeah, absolutely. Lifesum is all about eating, right? Eating is a big part of our lives. When you’re ready to make a big change in your life for your health, food has a really big part of that. How does Lifesum help users change their way of living for the better as it pertains to food, nutrition, and eating?
Torstensson: We’re all about food and nutrition and what we’re saying is we want to improve lives through better eating; nutrition is the numbers aspect, but it’s really about emotions and actually how we were brought up, our culture that impacts what and how we eat. What we do is we help users and we say it’s really about the user. It’s about being personalized, which way actually works for each individual. It might be intermittent fasting that you’re interested in, that is something that you want to go down that road. Then we bring in the best knowledge, build a great experience, actually make that really, really easy.
Cardina: Excellent. What does the interface of Lifesum look like? Is it planned menus? Is it for people to track what they’re eating and look at calories and the macro breakdown? I’d love to just hear about it from a user perspective.
Torstensson: It’s a mix of that. We have a food tracker and you can search, you can use our barcode scanners or our image recognition to actually take a photo of what you’re eating to pick that up, and then we’ll give you individual feedback on that. That feedback differs depending on what your goal is, if you’re trying to lose some weight or if you’re trying to eat healthier or if you’re trying to build muscle or gain weight, depending on if you’re on intermittent fasting or high-protein or a balanced diet, actually what you want is very different feedback and that’s what we built with our food rating algorithms. Then we also have recipes. We have plans that tell someone gets going. What we know is that if we look at 30 days of using Lifesum, you really moved. Even if you start out with very little understanding of nutrition and food and how what you eat impacts your health, after 30 days, you have taken an enormous step in understanding that.
Cardina: Yeah. I love looking at the data on all of my different wellness apps. When I go for a run, I love to see, did I go a little bit longer, a little bit faster than the last time? I think that touch point probably makes the product really sticky so your users continue to use the app for a long period of time. They don’t just forget about it and move on. Is that right?
Torstensson: Yeah, absolutely. We have very loyal users. Sometimes people use it for a while. They use it to understand. We’re nutrition partners of Nike, and as an example, really, if you’re going to run a marathon or longer race, understanding what you eat and how you eat and how that impacts your performance is really critical.
Cardina: Yeah, absolutely. Are there any other partnerships beyond Amazon Halo that Lifesum has created that you’d like to talk about?
Torstensson: We’re very proud and happy of being the nutrition partner of Nike, which we’ve been now for a little bit more than a year and obviously, an iconic company, then we are very happy with more of maybe relationships and partnerships with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), and where we were part of the presentation on the WWDC Developers Conference this summer with our new widget which is part of the latest iOS.