At Together, we like to take a view on transforming spaces. Taking a tech-first approach to solving the global movement health problem is one such example. And we are beyond elated to share our partnership with Spry. This is really special for us, not only because of the gigantic mission of the founders but also because it is amongst our first few investments as a fund.
Given the rise of chronic health conditions, it was not surprising to see how pervasive musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders are in today’s world (given our sedentary lifestyles). But what surprised us, even more, was the dearth of accessible treatments & solutions for such a huge pain point.
The industry is fragmented and suffers from the lack of standardization and personalization when it comes to treatments. The traditional forms of treatment are ineffective due to the cost and scale challenges. Thankfully, the massive advancement in Artificial Intelligence and democratized access to smart devices enabled the adoption of remote care & telehealth which was further accelerated during the pandemic. These factors taken together, we believe we’re at the cusp of a digital healthcare revolution.
The moment we met with Brij and first discussed the idea of using computer vision to solve musculoskeletal disorders, we immediately knew they were onto something. The problem of movement health affects over 2 billion people worldwide, with MSK care costs exceeding $980 billion a year (in the US alone, which is Spry’s initial focus area). Closer to home, there are only 0.59 qualified physiotherapists per 10,000 people in India. Interestingly, as per the WHO guidelines, the ratio should be 1:10,000. Put another way, there aren’t enough professionals to give personalized attention to everyone.
The conviction & unique insights that Brij & Riyaz had on the problem statement excited us even more. It is not always that a founder with deep mobility experience considers building an MSK platform but every conversation with Brij was inspiring as his deep understanding of the space was striking. To think of it in retrospect, it wasn’t very surprising after all as Brijraj Bhuptani was the founder of Ridlr - end-to-end public transportation and commuting app which eventually got acquired by Ola. Brij then went on to serve as the Chief Product and Technology Officer (CPTO) at Ola until very recently. Riyaz was an integral part of the Ridlr journey as the Chief Business Officer (CBO) navigating complex relationships with large public organizations. Armed with that experience and onto their second innings as entrepreneurs, both Brij & Riyaz are super pumped and ambitious about building a global healthcare business from India.
The biggest disconnect in the existing treatment setup is that while the majority of the care/recovery happens outside the clinic, there are not enough digital assessment tools or customized exercise content available for care providers & patients. This means that the care provider has limited visibility on whether the adherence & form of the patient is on track and the patient doesn’t have access to personalized treatment plans at the comfort of their homes.
Furthermore, musculoskeletal conditions are fairly expensive to diagnose, treat & manage, and have long-lasting repercussions in the lives of patients. MSK care costs US employers upwards of USD 100 billion a year and these issues form 30% of workers’ compensation costs. An isolated issue of Back pain alone leads to loss of 264M workdays per year. Therefore, it’s imperative that we focus on prevention and care along with treatment.
Spry is bridging this gap using computer vision and machine learning to digitize workflows for care providers and automate assessments and feedback for patients leading to better adherence and improved outcomes. Through this, Spry is on a mission to truly democratize movement health by providing individuals access to this healthcare, just the same as sportsmen and athletes, when it comes to fitness, injury management, and strength & conditioning.
Being a full-stack care provider, Spry is taking a tech-first approach to solving the movement health problem. The approach is based on a blended care model, where digitization of clinical and administrative functions will save significant time and money for doctors resulting in better business, while the patients will also have better access, better connections with greater and quantifiable visibility into their progress. Spry’s key focus will be on the Physical Therapists and Sports and Strength coaches on the care providers' side and on those affected by musculoskeletal conditions on the patient side.
Even the employers benefit from lower costs due to adverse events (eg: surgery) as Spry empowers employees by providing better prevention strategies and lifestyle management, which is crucial for the US which is an employer-paid insurance market.
We have been fortunate to be the chosen partners in this journey with Brij & Riyaz. Since the first day, we have been working closely to build Spry bone by bone and it's been a joyful experience so far! Congratulations Spry! Let’s build a healthy future, Together.
By Manav Garg, Shivam Kant, Pratyush Choudhury