SLINGSHOT Spotlight Series: Naluri
The SLINGSHOT Startup Spotlight series is a collection of stories featuring SLINGSHOT alumni who continue to blaze the trail post-SLINGSHOT. In each instalment, the founders and teams from the alumni share their experience in building and growing their companies. To apply for SLINGSHOT 2021, please click here.
The startup that wants to provide effective, affordable, and accessible chronic disease and mental healthcare to all.
It all started in 2017 when Azran Osman–Rani, co-founder of Naluri, watched his own father contend with a double diagnosis of cancer and diabetes, without support systems in place to help him emotionally and psychologically.
This made him vow to contribute more to revolutionise existing healthcare models which currently treat mental and physical health separately. Together with his co-founder Dr Jeremy Ting, Naluri focuses on providing customised programs to individuals to help them become mentally stronger and more resilient.
Their digital health coaching programs are particularly timely amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which had prompted many companies to prioritise the mental health of their employees. For that reason, Naluri was also selected as the winner of the Corporate Challenge for proposing an innovative solution that addresses the mental well-being for employees stationed out at sea.
Earlier this year, despite the challenge to fundraise during the pandemic, Naluri also managed to garner the support of its existing investors as well as secure funding from new strategic investors to close a US$5 Million Series A funding round.
We caught up with Naluri in a recent interview where we asked them about their exciting journey since SLINGSHOT 2020…
(Caption: Naluri Co-founders Azran Osman-Rani and Dr Jeremy Ting. Image courtesy of Naluri.)
Q: What were some of the challenges your startups faced over this arduous time since the pandemic and how has the startup ecosystem support your endeavors to overcome obstacles?
A: Like many other businesses, the pandemic brought about challenges that forced us to rethink the way we deliver our services to our clients. While most of our services are indeed delivered digitally, many aspects of the programmes that we run with our corporate partners involve on-site activities such as health screenings and programme kick-off events. Suddenly, many of the programmes that were scheduled to launch had been delayed until further notice. The team quickly developed a novel way of launching our programmes, which allowed us to do so during the various lockdowns, which they now endearingly refer to as a Virtual Kick-Off or ‘VKO’. Funnily enough, our first ‘VKO’ also became our first international client based in Singapore.
There was a sense of camaraderie among the startups experiencing similar challenges and many of the founders and mentors were willing to share suggestions on how to overcome the challenging period.
Q: Share with us your funding milestones and how it has shaped your startup to what it is today.
A: In many ways each of our funding rounds have served an equally important purpose in our journey, from our first seed round led by Biomark and 500 Durians, to our recently closed Series A round led by Integra Partners. With the initial funding, we were able to start building out our coaching and tech teams. With the additional funding from our pre-Series A rounds, we were able to introduce more senior Business Development roles across Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to rapidly accelerate our growth.
With the recently closed funding round, we will focus on expanding our operations in our existing markets and launch our services in Thailand and Philippines. The funds will also allow us to deepen our tech and data science capabilities and broaden our evidence base through clinical trials.
Q: What are Naluri’s aspirations in the next few years?
A: The funding round will empower us to expand operations in Singapore and Indonesia, as well as launch our services in Thailand and the Philippines.
The fresh capital also enables us to deepen our technology and data science capabilities for product and enhance our predictive algorithms.
We will also expand our efforts in clinical research to strengthen our developments in specific clinical pathways such as diabetes, renal, cardiovascular, cancer and mental health therapeutic areas. We intend to launch a clinical research project in Europe as part of this initiative.
Q: Finally to wrap things up – What are Naluri’s words of encouragement to the next batch of SLINGSHOT 2021 finalists, or to any entrepreneurs wanting to start something ?
A: Do not get disheartened by rejections!
During Azran’s time at iflix, he faced rejection more than 115 times before finally finding an investor. Similarly, when he was the CEO of AirAsia X during its early days, nobody believed in a budget airline experience for long-haul flights. Azran was glad that he did not get discouraged by these detractors, as the companies he ran discovered an unmet need that the larger players did not fully see.
This article was brought to you by SLINGSHOT 2021. As we gear up towards this year’s edition, don’t miss your chance to apply for Asia’s most exciting deep tech pitching competition! Like Naluri, your SLINGSHOT journey could open doors to new corporate and investment opportunities!
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