Murugesh Kumar SK, CEO and Co-founder, SCERMLIND Healthcare Innovations, or Urufit as it is known, cycles to his office in Chennai’s IT corridor every day, from his home a few kilometres away. Even when he has to commute to some other place on work, he prefers to use his bicycle. He is not just proving a point about being fit. He says he cycles wherever possible because he wants to save every paise possible as he builds a company that will use technology to help improve fitness levels in people.
This is Murugesh’s second venture; he closed down the first, which produced temperate vegetables, as he could not scale it up beyond a point despite having raised funds from investors. This time Murugesh is particular that he gets the right kind of investors on board, ones who understand both technology and fitness and are in sync with what he is trying to do. Urufit is bootstrapped and has developed a technology platform. But to get the product – a wearable device – ready, take it to market and further improve the technology, Murugesh says they need funds.
Different from others
What will be different in Urufit’s wearable compared with others already in the market? Every fitness regimen will have an objective, says Murugesh. Most of the fitness models now available, he says, rely on data that is not entirely Indian. That is where Urufit hopes to be different and make a mark. It has tied up with a few sports academies, including Inspire Institute of Sports, Bellary, a high performance training centre for athletes founded by the JSW Group. “They are willing to share data with us. They are also going to help us build the model with which we can take the product to market,” says Murugesh.
Urufit, according to him, has started collecting data, the machine learning models have been built and the next stage is to test and do the Beta launch.
For making the wearable, Urufit has tied up with a Finnish company. He is keen that the wearable is priced lower than Rs. 10,000 to make it affordable to more people. The technology, he says, consists of different parts. One is the wearable, the first version of which will be a wrist-worn device. This version of the wearable will be able to capture various parameters including heart beat for seven types of activities, including running, cycling and walking. With the heart rate measurements, the company will calculate heart rate variability, for which the reference data will come from the sports laboratories and academies. Urufit will also capture aspects like VO2max, which is a measurement of the maximum volume of oxygen that a person can use during intense exercise.
According to him, Urufit will also build the analysis of the various readings to help athletes and sportspersons train better and more scientifically. The information will be passed on to the users either through an app on the mobile or the computer. Urufit hopes to get revenues from selling the wearable and through subscription for capturing the data and analysis. “We are building intelligence based on sports physiology. The analytics is what we are building. That is the differentiating factor. Have you attained your maximum, have you pushed yourself to the limit, has your body recovered for the next day’s training, how much energy have you expended, these are the kind of things we will provide,” says Murugesh.
Beta launch in December
He says Urufit hopes to do a Beta launch of the product in December and go for commercial launch by February. The company is looking to raise about Rs. 3 crore, from investors who understand sports, who are knowledgeable about technology in sports and who are passionate about fitness and training. He feels the biggest challenge is to get support from the ecosystem.
“If we do not have the right funds at the right time, it will delay the process of building the product,” he says. The other issue is adaptability of technology. All their discussions so far have been with those who understand technology. “We cannot stop there. We need to go beyond that,” he adds.