Interview with Roman Taranov, CEO at Self-Help and Wellness Tech Company: Ruby Labs

I founded Ruby Labs in 2018 with a mission to empower people to make self-care a way of life. It has been self funded to date and we set out to disrupt the complex and fragmented wellness industry, and too, bring a digitised destination consumer platform that would offer products across all dimensions of the digital wellness industry to benefit consumers.

And with that, we have since launched two subscription products to date: Hint (mindfulness astrology) and Able (weight management and nutrition).
 
 
Ruby Labs logo
 

How did you come up with the idea for Ruby Labs?

 
Prior to Ruby Labs, I founded a global m-payment service company which specialised in payment aggregations and grew extremely quickly. After taking this company to 6-worldwide offices and global success, I had learnt and honed essential skills to adapt in a fast-paced environment and how to lead a global team of 100s to big success. From this; I was ready for my next venture.

My ongoing obsession with technology and the possibilities to transform new sectors, and more specifically, those sectors which were screaming out for digitisation and disruption, is what drew me to the wellness industry. Research on the several dimensions of how consumers view wellness including health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness, and how the >$1.5T market is growing fast (5-10% / year), fuelled by innovation and digitalisation, was enough to hook me in.

My vision became to create a tech company that builds a world-class wellness platform to empower people to make wellness a way of life and build a go-to ecosystem for wellness consumers across all the dimensions listed above. A platform that is easily accessible for everyone and enjoyed for years.  After two product launches to date (Hint – mindfulness astrology product, and Able – weight management product), as well as a third launching this year, Ruby Labs is on the way to bringing this full suite of products to the platform and becoming a leader in the digital wellness space.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
Well we technically launched through the pandemic so we are somewhat a COVID brand and of course that had its benefits for us but ultimately, I believe that the traditional wellness industry was heading for much needed digitisation and COVID perhaps accelerated this by a few years. Where other organisations had to adapt, pivot and move fast for times where consumers had much more bandwidth for online solutions across all the dimensions of wellness – we addressed this with a personalised, digital approach from day one and at a time when consumers were the most demanding.

Research is key for every product launch, regardless of a pandemic. For example when we launched Hint, studies had shown 29% of Americans believed in astrology and it was fast growing in popularity, specifically with the millennial consumers. Similarly when Able launched, research revealed in the US alone, 42.2% of adults were obese and globally more than 2 billion audlts were overweight, with 600 million of them being obese, so we ideated our products to bring personalised solutions to consumers’ wellness demands across the dimensions. We now have almost 60,000 active subscribers across our two products.

We are still living in COVID times, so having our ear to the ground and creating personalised new product offerings to meet growing consumer needs is still our priority. Data from the Office for National Statistics, last year revealed that depression rates had doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, warning of a growing mental health crisis in the UK. So again, we listened to the market and are now on track to launch our third product this year in the mental health space, further bolstering our suite of products that can help people to better wellness generally.
 

What can we hope to see from Ruby Labs in the future?

 
We are only getting started and in the coming weeks we will be undertaking our first ever fundraising round which will enable us to increase our best in class team, push our international expansion plans and develop our third product (in the mental health space) to elevate our business and continue to improve our users’ experience to become the go-to digital wellness platform for all, and a leading player in the digital wellness space.

So far, we have a proven track record of bringing products to market fast, demonstrating product market fit and launch success. We’ve shown capital efficient growth and go-to-market velocity. Hint took 18 months to develop and Able was 2x faster. We’re improving our customer value proposition daily to make Ruby Labs products the most delightful suite of wellness and self-care products in the world so 2022 will be a great year for us as well as our existing and new customers we will welcome.

In addition, while AI and algorithms will continue to improve, one of our biggest value propositions to customers is that they have a personal coach in their pocket and can tap into that real human-to-human contact and education whenever they need to. In fact, our exponential growth means we will seek to hire an extra 1000 human coaches by the end of 2023 to service our existing products, Hint and Able and ensure the hundreds of thousands of human conversations that our customers seek are being met.