How can physical activity be adapted to various illnesses and functional abilities to make it easier for healthcare professionals to prescribe exercise? That was the question that brothers Jesper and Petter Aasa asked themselves. Jesper had just started studying to become a doctor and with world-renowned parents who are researchers of physiotherapy, sports medicine and orthopaedic manual therapy, the apple did not fall far from the tree. The brothers wanted to make a difference.
A gap in the market
At least one third of the world’s adult population suffers from at least two chronic illnesses. This makes it difficult for them to be physically active, which leads to more health issues and other complications that could be avoided.
The brothers saw a gap in the market: A technology or service that offers physical activity adapted to different conditions caused by illness or functional restrictions. In 2018 they launched “Träning På Recept” (training on prescription), Sweden’s first e-health platform for diagnostic training programmes – and today the largest. In order to grow further, they focused on developing a more scalable technical solution, and to do this more capital was needed. This is how the brand Vitala came into being.
“I’ve actually had the idea for the app at the back of my mind for as long as I can remember. We know that physical activity is vital for our health and that it helps prevent illness and make treatment more efficient when illness occurs.
The app soon became popular among health professionals as well as customers. Petter Aasa continues:
“We started getting testimonials from customers about how much their exercise programmes improved their physical and mental health. That they started feeling they had control over their illness rather than their illness controlling them. It’s fantastic that we have succeeded with our ambition to improve people’s health.”
The value of mentors
Spurred on by the popularity of the app, Petter and Jesper Aasa invested all their time in the project to further develop the content. But they needed a mentor. Through the mentorship programme Elevate, the brothers got in touch with Peter Dalmalm, Head of Business Banking Sweden.
Before the meeting with Peter, they specifically looked for help with their strategy to utilise growth potential. Peter helped them structure their collaboration and they also discussed how to use bank loans as a complement to venture capital and how this is an underestimated way to create stability and cash flow.
“New business ideas are incredibly important to address sustainability challenges, create new jobs and drive growth. It’s also very rewarding to be able to contribute. Being a mentor is really a mutual exchange where both parties have the opportunity to learn new things and develop new ideas,” says Peter Dalmalm, Head of Business Banking Sweden.
Having Peter as a mentor at this stage of Vitala proved invaluable:
“Peter Dalmalm’s advice and ideas helped us tremendously in terms of how we can maximise revenue and quickly start growing in Sweden and internationally. His knowledge and experience will not only help us in the short term, but all the way to our IPO,” says Petter Aasa.
Strong demand for Vitala’s technology
The expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be very well. But Petter and Jesper have now developed a completely new tech solution to help people in need of rehabilitation to reduce pain and get more energy in their everyday lives. In December 2021, the app was launched under the new name Vitala and the success was given; their technology is now in demand by several major health care companies, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Today it is the world’s first medical app with tailor-made programmes based on the users’ individual abilities.
The siblings are well on track to reaching their goal of helping a billion people to live healthier lives. A dizzying thought that has now become reality.