BY Monica Melton
As New Year’s resolutions are made and broken, revenue for Noom, a mobile weight loss company, has ballooned to $237 million. Boasting more than 50 million users, who generate the bulk of the health app’s income Noom’s latest number is up from $61 million in 2018 and $12 million in 2017 quadrupling earnings.
“The industry is somewhat seasonal, although being in the behavior change business we don’t want people to think of January as the only time you get healthy,” cofounder Artem Petakov tells Forbes. “It’s a behavior change product that requires a very subtle touch to nudge people.”
Noom’s behavioral change weight-loss product was eight years in the making, Saeju Jeong and Artem formed the company in 2008 and launched the app in 2016. The last few years have been a race to keep up with the demand for their product and iterate based on user data. January, and all its resolutions, is always a busy time for the New York-based company.
Petakov, a former Google engineer, studied both psychology and computer science at Princeton. Noom is a marriage of these two fields, which aims to “disrupt the weight loss industry” by using AI, evidence-based guidelines of physiology, psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy. He positions the company as more like meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm than Weight Watchers.
“Weight Watchers might focus on the latest way of counting points, but if you think about it, all of this is a different way of saying ‘eat this not that’ and we know psychologically ‘eat this not that’ is not a great way to change your behavior, said Petakov. “We try to understand a habit, break it down into ‘What’s the trigger that occurs? What thought appears in your brain and what action does it cause you to do and can we interrupt any one of those things?’, that process is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy.”