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Noom CEO shares the most important health and fitness trends for 2021

Saeju Jeong, Noom CEO joins Yahoo Finance Live to break down how the fitness industry is faring amid pandemic and weigh in on the company’s weight loss program that helps achieve Noom users long-term wellness goals.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, a new year comes with new healthier resolutions. And online platform Noom is looking to capitalize on that with a weight-loss program that takes more of a behavioral approach, at least in the eyes of the company. Let's bring in the CEO of Noom, Saeju Jeong. He joins us today live. And Saeju, it's great to talk to you.

Let's start with the platform itself. A lot of people may be familiar with some of the ads. You've got a lot of visibility over the last few months, but walk me through your thesis on why you think this weight-loss program is more effective.

SAEJU JEONG: Thanks for having me today. So Noom is the largest customer-facing health care company. We use behavior science and data to build sustainable, healthy habits. Noom, we approach how to build a healthy habit for our end users is a holistic approach to make sure that we help our end users build a healthy habits so the result, healthy outcome, can sustain. That's the way we approach, and it has been very well received from the market.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, Saeju, I mean, the ads are everywhere. Akiko and I were talking, it was on my Facebook feed. I had gone through the sales funnel, very interesting to kind of see the behavioral emphasis of getting people to stick to diets. We know how difficult it can be to kind of keep up with these things, and you guys kind of offer those check-ins. You offer the health coaches as well.

But when you think about how crowded this market has become-- formally known as Weight Watchers, but WW, kind of, you know, focusing in on kind of meal sides as well, how does Noom differentiate itself beyond just the behavioral nudges here to kind of make it easier for people to keep up with their weight fights out there?

SAEJU JEONG: So good question. So we observe-- because we want-- our company, we found company to help many lives-- as many as we can. We realize a lot of users struggle to manage the weight because they have done a poor job before, or they have a very stigmatized experience before.

So we want to help them to unlearn what they have learned badly. And we are using psychology, AI, and data to make sure that we deliver the most effective solution and service. Again, we wanted to help our end users build healthy habits. By having a healthy habit, weight management is the-- one of the greatest outcome of having healthy habits because they can manage better, in terms of weight. But more than that, there is a great benefit-- build a better self-confidence and those better relationships and also understand how I can lead and manage my overall lifestyle. That's the way we approach it because of that.

Although, you mentioned very well, it's a very crowded market. But the way we pioneered the market and we are growing right now is different. And that people are looking for how to obtain a healthier lifestyle, it's a very new trend. I see that it's a new luxury to have a healthy lifestyle.

AKIKO FUJITA: Saeju, to some of the elements you talked about with within the Noom program, it does feel like tech has really been a game-changer in the way users approach wellness. And we've all got-- I don't if you can see, I've got my Apple Watch all the time telling me to breathe, telling me how many steps I took, telling me my heart rate.

How do you sort of start to integrate that even further? We've seen somebody like an Apple, for example, really start to sort of carve its space in the market, now offering up exercise classes as well, in addition to the data collected here. Do you see potential partnerships moving forward with some of the big-tech names because of the data you already have?

SAEJU JEONG: We actually are one of the biggest platforms that we integrate with the Apple Watch and Google Fit, the platform, and Fitbit, like all the wearable devices that people use for tracking their fitness status and all their daily-- the biometrics information about it. That all flood into Noom platform, and we utilized to make sure that we can provide a better practice for end users. So we are already one of the biggest client and a partner for them.

The way I see-- we observe, a lot of users are wearing an Apple Watch or wearable devices. That's a good start because it builds a better awareness of the day-to-day lifestyle. And I think that's the good start, that people understand where they are and how they can set a realistic goal. And Noom is right there as a great companion to help to-- the end users can build a healthy habit.

Again, our approach is very holistic approach. And we want to make sure that we help them to have a good diet, watch on diet and fitness, and also manage the stress, anxiety better, and also sleep, the rest. So that's the way we approach that. And the more of the best technology and great platform that we can learn about our users, their day-to-day lifestyle, we can actually provide a better service.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and being backed by Sequoia Capital, I imagine that makes it a little bit easier to maybe partner with some of these big-tech giants. But when we think about the growth that you mentioned here, what are you seeing on that front? Because 2020, I assume there are two camps. I've kind of fluctuated between them-- where you just kind of stuck at home, so you figure, all right, I'm going to maybe start eating a bunch more comfort food because no one's going to see me out there in the real world from the waist above.

But what do you think about the flip side of that, which is, you know, more and more people focusing in on fitness here as well-- if they can't get to the gym, doing it at home-- focusing on weight loss? So what did you see maybe-- I imagine January is a very busy time for you, but what does growth look like now?

SAEJU JEONG: Well, good question. So Noom has been growing very well and fast. That's why you have seen our-- the ad and message more, probably, right? So prior to COVID-19, Noom has been growing fast. And during the COVID-19 time, we continued to grow well. In 2019, we did a $200 million revenue. In last year, 2020, over COVID-19 time, we were to double the revenue. So you can see, we've been growing very well. So I'm very thankful about that.

And our observation is, prior and now and hopefully, we believe, post-COVID-19, there is enough, like, increased attention about how-- people are seeking for getting a healthier lifestyle. And that's kind of, again, the new trend. And people-- in COVID-19 time, they prioritized higher about their own personal health. When we measure personal health, it means mind and body both.

So we have to increase demand and attention. So I think this all opens a new market, and Noom is a pioneer, as a behavior-changing platform, and with other great partners and also in the fitness field. I think we are-- there are many good services available in helping people who seek for getting a healthy outcome and also have a high-quality of lifestyle. I think that's a new trend.

And again, we chose weight loss because weight loss is the best way we can tackle the most of the chronic conditions. It's a gateway for us. So we-- that's our chapter one, and we do have plan to, actually, cover more conditions, as again, there's many ways we can tackle by changing behavior. It will benefit a lot to physically and mind both, and we are very excited about our future growth as well.