September 2: Shayan Italia is the creator of the START Wellness intermittent fasting app that has just launched. Shayan is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur and musician who sold his first startup in India within a year of setting it up. START is Shayan’s life path and the lifestyle he adopts. It aims to change a lot of people’s lives for the better. Here we interview Shayan on his new venture, START.
How & when did Start Wellness happen?
START Wellness is a project that has been almost three years in the making. But my journey into Wellness started when I lost my Mum and Dad to diseases at a young age. Since then, I’ve been on a journey to try every type of diet, exercise and fitness regime only to fall on intermittent fasting as my lifestyle of choice. As for me, the science is sound and makes sense; and most of all, it works!
What is your lifestyle in the ever-changing dynamic landscape today?
The world has changed post-Covid-19 and has become incredibly dynamic, so I feel we should become smart in our lifestyle choices too. I adopt the lifestyle of the START Wellness 16:8 intermittent fasting app, where one doesn’t eat for 16 hours and then consumes their daily calorie intake in an 8-hour window. This has profound scientific long-term benefits that include efficient fat loss, better and younger-looking skin, better sleep, lower insulin levels, more energy, better immunity, and so much more. START helps me focus on my dreams and aspirations, knowing my body is always functioning optimally daily.
What makes Start Wellness different from other fitness apps?
Unlike other fitness or intermittent fasting apps that portray a countdown timer, START is a daily lifestyle that optimises your day according to your own personal timings. It is so much more than the standard intermittent fasting app and features modules like a Dynamic Stretch, 4-7-8 breathing, and you can track key body analytics through its smart dashboard. START, in essence, is your daily companion, helping you optimise your day so that you can focus on what matters most. The app also focuses a lot on the “Why” of everything. If the app states you need to drink water as soon as you wake up, we have a fun video explaining why. If the app states you need to have a cup of green tea an hour after your meal, we have a video for that too. Our job is to educate and empower you to optimise your system and strengthen it as a whole. And this is just the beginning. START aims to introduce smart devices, nutrition, and exercise modules that fit into the START Wellness eco-system. START is also free to try for users entirely for seven days with no credit card charges whatsoever. In this trial period, you gain full access to the app with no restrictions.
What are/were the challenges faced by you?
I think launching a mobile app is far more complicated than one thinks. Gone are the days when you could make a version of an app crassly and put it out there and then gain public feedback. Now people demand an app to look good, feel good, work with an excellent user interface and not crash on them even once (or they’re on to the next one!). The stakes have risen considerably, and the costs to deploy an effective MVP (Minimal Viable Product), especially in the health-tech space. E-commerce, by comparison, is far more straightforward as you get ready-made templates via providers like Shopify for online stores from the outset. They can look gorgeous, featuring hundreds of products from day 1 of launch. Apps are a completely different ball game. An app requires an intensive amount of technical setup to function optimally, track customers, know where customers are dropping off, and data is the single most significant key point. But then, if an app is wire framed correctly and set up with all the trackable analytics, you can create a highly deployable tool into the marketplace and scale very quickly with vast exposure. But this setup, I’ve come to realise takes time, but is worth every effort, which is what we are doing for START right now.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
Everything you do is hard. Never fear to try, fall, rise, try again, pivot etc. Nothing is permanent, and everything is dynamic. If you don’t like a logo, change it. If you figure out a better brand name, change it. No one cares. People have the attention span of a goldfish, what matters is that you should be convinced of the product you are creating.
The most important thing, which also takes the most time, is to find out your ‘Why!’ Why are you doing something? What is its purpose? And always tie in that Why to your call to action, whatever that may be. The more you set your foundations correctly, the more you will succeed. Remember it took James Cameron 3 years to figure out how even to film the Titanic beneath the sea before he even had a script. But without that beginning scene and seeing the actual ship, the movie would have been 1/50th the impact. It was his ‘why’ of telling the story. Believe in what you do, don’t overthink things, and START.
What are your plans for the future?
Right now, START has well, just START-ed. We’re constantly evolving with the app, and now we’re in a place where we’re setting it up for rapid expansion. The userbase we currently have, are using it actively and loving it. The START Wellness program has helped people lose weight, quit smoking, reverse diabetes and more. Once the app’s technologies are optimised, then the fun starts. The only way is up, up and up from here.
Where can people download START or learn about the START app?
The flagship START Intermittent Fasting app increases energy, immunity, focus and propels weight loss in just seven days with no change to diet or exercise. The app is available to download on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. You can also learn more at the START Wellness website at StartWellness.com