Weight-loss is a much-talked-about topic for adults, especially with the growing obesity problem in the U.S. market. Weight Management services such as Retrofit, and apps from Weight Watchers target this demographic. For both kids and teens alike, it’s a touchier subject. This is an opportunity for a business who understands how to appeal to a specific market, the Kurbo mobile app is doing just that. It’s designed to help kids and teens to lose weight and it wasn’t until the founder decided to pivot her marketing efforts that the app reached its full potential, allowing the company to now hit a projected 300 percent revenue growth for the second half of 2015 compared to the first half, and 50% growth month over month this year.
Joanna Strober, mother of three, started the company in 2014. Originally, she intended to market the app directly to kids and teens. It’s an easy-to-use coaching app that encourages healthy habits and good food choices. Strober decided early on to make sure every customer pays for the app (which costs $75 per month), but marketing to them directly proved time-consuming and expensive. She decided to pivot and started marketing to large companies, insurance providers, and parents to offer Kurbo as part of an overall wellness program.
It’s working. Strober says, in the past six months, three major insurance companies and five Fortune 500 firms have signed up to offer Kurbo to employees and their families as part of a wellness program. Large companies like Jiff now include Kurbo as an employee perk.
She says this means there is a much larger addressable market — a way to reach the 25 million obese kids through a more institutional approach rather than through direct marketing. Of those 25 million, she says at least 5 million families can afford the monthly fee. There’s a pilot program at a military base in Oklahoma; Cardinal Health, Stanford Hospital and Goodyear Tire have all started offering Kurbo to employees as well. It’s essentially a B2B2C pivot that is still fulfilling the original charter to help kids and teens lose weight.
The company has secured $5.8M in funding from investors such as Susan Wojcicki (the CEO of YouTube) and Bessemer Ventures. Kurbo is on track to capture a specific market. As Strober explained, it took a hard right turn and a big change in marketing to make it happen.
Editor’s note: Traction Watch is a new column focused obsessively on growth, and is a companion to the DEMO Traction conference series, which brings together high-growth startups with high-potential customers. The next DEMO Traction will take place in Boston on September 16, 2015. Growth companies can apply to present, or those similarly obsessed can register here to attend.