How to age better, by Rosita Health

Ship2B Ventures has led a €2.5m round in Rosita Health to expand the Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) of people in their golden years. Let’s work this out.

Warm-up: What is Rosita Health?

Rosita is a virtual longevity coach that offers analysis, information and trainings or treatments to revert frailty and other degenerative diseases derived from ageing. The secret sauce is making it fun (rather than a chore), helping users achieve higher levels of stickiness for the demographic between 60- and 80-year-olds.

We learned about Rosita through their pre-seed investors, KFund and JME, who facilitated a warm intro with the team. We clicked right away with the three co-founders, Clara, Juan and David, who had a clear plan of how to bring a tried and tested offline methodology to reduce frailty and maintain a Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) across seniors. The physical implications of aging are poorly managed or not managed at all in our current societies. Rosita aims to change that and this fits perfectly with our health vertical’s Theory of Change: improve the quality of life for vulnerable groups, including the elderly.

Problem Definition

Life expectancy in Western countries is about 85 with Spain amongst their leaders with 84. However Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) is capped at 65 years. Seniors are expected to live with pain or diseases which could be preventable in most cases. Amongst the different causes for aging, we find genetic and epigenetic causes. Contrary to common beliefs, epigenetics – environmental and lifestyle choices – are responsible for 80% of probability of developing age-related conditions, versus genetics. This means we can act on the aging process without relying on biotechnological solutions.

A good place to start is pain. 70% of seniors suffer chronic pain like osteoarthritis 365 days a year and it is the starting point of a particular degenerative process: pain will often lead to sedentarism, which leads to muscle loss, balance loss, dangerous falls, prosthesis, long rehabs, further loss of muscle mass, sarcopenia, and eventual dependency. 49% of seniors are at risk of frailty and hence dependency. Yet frailty can be not only delayed, but also reversed.

Frailty by itself is estimated to have a $10k-30k surplus in health costs per person every year over the cost of a person the same age without frailty. This figure excludes the social cost of dependency, nursery homes, etc. Currently, health systems are not taking a proactive approach to treat pre-frailty or prevent frailty comprehensively to avoid the cost burden. They are not built to deal with a long-term chronic disease in non-pharmacological form, which leads to the treatment of osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases that lead to frailty with painkillers, effectively covering the problem until it is too late. There is a need to tackle this challenge from a different angle, leveraging on tested methodologies to reduce frailty and through the use of new technologies that help increase reach, efficacy and adherence.

WOD (Workout Of the Day): Solution, traction and rational

Rosita aims to help seniors increase their HLE by reducing the factors that shorten life through their own Longevity Plan. This is delivered with the help of a Mobile App that includes activity content (mostly videos) and a virtual longevity coach.

A Longevity Plan helps people understand where they are today, where they should be in 10 years and set up an action plan for how to get there, with personalized treatments that take into consideration their pathologies and drawbacks. Rosita has identified that maintaining personal autonomy is the prime objective of a satisfactory longevity, so they have focused on pain first.

Rosita app receives 7 to 10 touch points per person per week, which is high for a health service. This turns Rosita into the “Trusted partner” for everything health. Starting with exercise and frailty is even more important because it is a habit that requires constant maintenance. Once it becomes a trusted partner for health, there are other revenue opportunities that can be built on top, including subscriptions, products as a service, collaborations with insurers and others, already in Rosita’s strategic roadmap.

Rosita’s current focus is on solving the first stage of the longevity strategy, by delivering personalized physical condition and pain management plans. From an impact perspective, Rosita aims not only to delay but reverse the frailty cycle. This has been proven to be possible by their scientific advisor and renowned longevity Professor Viña within his research group and as part of international research initiatives. Reversion of frailty by a few points in the frailty scale will increase years of healthy life expectancy for those seniors. Rosita is taking this methodology online and making a significant impact that public health systems are simply not offering.

Rosita - Longevity App

What Rosita has achieved so far

The team launched a beta product in October 2020 in Spain with high customer retention, engagement, and stickiness with first users. They have a high NPS score across their beta testers (600 users), but most importantly 86% of users report an improvement in health after one month of using it.

They now need to scale to a full-fledged finished product, start monetization with a premium tier and expand internationally to the US as their first key target geography. In parallel, they need to build a team under the three core pillars (product, content/operations and marketing/sales) and create the right governance processes before the next round.

Why we invested in Rosita?

Stellar C-founding team: Juan (CEO) is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded Traity. Clara (COO) was formerly the CEO of Balnerario Cofrentes in Valencia where she led the Longevity School for over 8 years and created the Longevity Plan methodology which is now being digitized. David (CTO) is another serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded Qoolife, one of the first telemedicine companies in Spain. They also surround themselves with a world-class advisory board made up of doctors and leading researchers in gerontology.

· Proven methodology: at the Balneario Cofrentes, Clara and her advisors successfully carried out two clinical trials to demonstrate how frailty could be reversible with their tested methodology. They have then applied the same trials to existing customers at the Balneario Cofrentes and obtained a strong correlation between applied methodology and reduced frailty.

· Encouraging metrics: healthy and improving DAU/MAU ratio of 30%; 70% retention rate after four weeks; sticky product where over half of users are completing activities 3 days per week, and contributing to an engagement of 75 to 180 minutes per week of exercise only from Rosita activities (WHO recommendation is 150 minutes per week for seniors).

Clear social impact: At Ship2B Ventures, we consider senior people as underserved: health and social systems do not properly manage the physical implications of ageing. Seniors are left with the responsibility of managing their aging process, endowed with little support, training and tools.

Stretching out: What we plan to work on with Rosita

Post our investment, we have agreed a joint 12-month plan to continue supporting and strengthening Rosita. The main areas are:

  • Track agreed impact KPIs and make decisions towards higher social impact
  • Help establish the B2C and B2B Go-to-market strategy
  • Expand business internationally, starting with the US
  • Help in the hiring plan to strengthen gerontology domain expertise and international business development positions
  • Support Rosita in their journey towards becoming a B-Corp

We are very thankful for the trust placed in us by the core team and pre-seed investors and we hope to live up to the expectations. We are very excited to begin this journey with Rosita and make a dent in the world by improving senior health worldwide.

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Investor with more than 10 years of experience in the venture capital sector. He has worked for Morgan Stanley, Telefónica and Centrica in the areas of investment and corporate innovation. Currently, he works as the Investment Director at Ship2B Ventures.