CureJoy, an online community that connects users with alternative medicine experts, has raised $4.4 million in Series A, led by its existing investor Accel Partners India. Several other individual angels also participated in the round, a top company executive told VCCircle.
Curejoy Inc, the company behind CureJoy, will use the funds to grow the healthcare verticals it focuses on—fitness, beauty and nutrition; strengthen the team and build a strong tech infrastructure with an emphasis on video content, said Dikshant Dave, co-founder of CureJoy.
San Francisco- and Bangalore-based CureJoy provides curated content on natural health and wellness, mostly in the preventive healthcare segment.
With the freshly raised capital, it plans to grow the existing verticals and create small business units across six-seven sub-verticals including yoga, pregnancy, recipe and more and explore more advertisement-based revenue streams around video content.
CureJoy primarily targets the US market with natural health content with a focus on preventive healthcare.
According to Dave, 42% of its users come from the US, 20-25% from other Western countries, 19% from India, and the remaining from the rest of the world.
It has recently hired Robert Lutsky, former director, east coast sales at Washington Post Digital, as VP-sales in the US and plans to further expand its four-member US team.
Dave and Shrinivasa Sharma founded CureJoy in October 2013. Prior to starting CureJoy, both had founded Funstar, an interactive content and digital media company. They also worked together at Digital Chocolate Inc, a mobile games developer.
The startup had raised about $350,000 in seed funding from Accel Partners India with participation from a group of US angels and then raised $1.15 million in pre-Series A from Accel and others in September 2015.
It doesn’t charge users currently, but plans to launch personalised preventive healthcare services on a freemium model towards the end of this year or early next year. “At this point, we are building our systems, data science and aggregation capabilities. The free content will help users discover various aspects of alternative medicinal services upon which they could chose personalised services to explore the natural healthcare options,” he said.
In addition, the company plans to launch Spanish language content to target Spanish-speaking population in Europe and the Americas.
It also plans to partner with celebrity experts, offering them dedicated channels on the platform.
CureJoy was started as a Q&A portal where people could ask questions on health issues and the portal would facilitate answers from experts. Upon realising that the natural health science takes more of a holistic approach than offering specific solutions, it began providing curated content from experts.
Dave claimed that the portal currently has over 5,000 experts from various streams of natural health science, including yoga, ayureveda, naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and acupressure. He wants to take the number to 50,000 by 2017. The experts are not paid for their contributions; they rather expect to gain a digital footprint and access potential customers from the association with CureJoy.
It connects with professional healthcare organisations like American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) in the US to identify and screen the right experts. Nearly 80% of the experts on the platform are from the US. In India, it depends on strong personal references to take experts on board. CureJoy follows a model wherein it recommends Indian experts for Indian users and US-based experts for western users as the cultural understanding helps experts suggest appropriate solutions to users.
Dave claimed the company is currently doing about $1.4 million in annualised run rate and targets to hit $10-15 million in revenues by the end of next year.
The content is offered on its website and mobile applications. Dave said over 80% of its traffic comes from its mobile website and apps.
He also claimed that the portal has about 14 million monthly visits, growing 100% quarter-on-quarter. The startup expects the website traffic to touch 25 million by this year end.
CureJoy has a strong social media presence and according to Dave, the company has doubled its Facebook community size from what it used to be a year ago.
CureJoy competes with health and wellness portal Everyday Health Inc, WebMD, an online portal offering medical news and information and lifestyle media brand Mind Body Green.
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