Victoria Repa’s rise in the global wellness industry has been nothing short of remarkable, using her own life experiences to craft a compelling narrative of resilience and innovation.
Now the CEO and founder of Ukranian-based BetterMe — renowned for their health and wellness apps that focus on a tailored approach — Repa has leveraged her background in the tech industry and a passion for wellness to make a significant impact in the lives of millions.
After personal struggles with weight and wellness led her to a transformative journey towards better health, Repa founded BetterMe with a vision to help others find and sustain their motivation. She successfully navigated her company through the challenges posed by the war in Ukraine, demonstrating resilience and adaptability while maintaining an unwavering commitment to her mission.
We sat down with Repa to talk about her personal experiences that led to the creation of BetterMe, the remarkable growth and success of the platform, and the challenges and opportunities the company faces in an increasingly competitive market. She also offers an intriguing glimpse into the future of BetterMe and explains how she has managed to lead her company through challenging times.
FeastGood: Tell me about the personal experiences that led you to start BetterMe. What made you think you could compete in such a competitive market?
Victoria Repa: The inspiration to launch BetterMe stemmed from my personal pain and the desire to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Having grown up in a family where everyone is overweight, I understood the challenges and frustrations associated with losing weight. This personal pain became the driving force behind my determination to embark on a journey toward better health.
During my own transformation, I realized that I not only wanted to improve my own well-being but also help others find their own motivation and sustain it. Witnessing the increasing demand for health and fitness content, coupled with my background in the tech industry, I saw an opportunity to combine my passion for technology with my commitment to wellness.
FeastGood: Can you give us an idea of BetterMe’s scale today?
Victoria Repa: BetterMe’s journey began in 2017 as a Facebook community with only three team members. Since then, we have experienced remarkable growth, evolving into a global health & wellness platform.
Nowadays BetterMe caters to over 150 million users by providing a tailored, bio-individual approach to fitness and well-being (bio-individuality is the idea that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to health and nutrition)
BetterMe has developed two apps, BetterMe: Health Coaching and BetterMe: Mental Health. Also, the company launched BetterMe Store with athleisure and wearables to improve users’ experience, as well as to give them the motivation to reach their goals.
With 5.5 million monthly active users, BetterMe was acknowledged by Apple in 2022 as one of the top three apps worldwide for guided workouts.
FeastGood: Why do you think BetterMe has reached this scale when there are so many other nutrition and wellness apps on the market?
Victoria Repa: BetterMe is more than just a nutrition and wellness app. We provide users with a holistic approach to their lifestyle and understand what works best for their bodies. Through a combination of technology, behavioral psychology, and personalization, BetterMe creates a health and wellness plan that keeps users engaged and motivated.
Also, we have expanded our workout library to cater to diverse audiences, including beginners, professionals, seniors, pregnant women, diabetics, individuals who use wheelchairs, and those adhering to a vegan lifestyle, among others.
Our commitment to inclusivity ensures that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, can access the support and guidance they need to lead a healthy lifestyle.
FeastGood: What is the biggest pain point BetterMe is facing right now?
Victoria Repa: As with any Ukrainian business, the ongoing full-scale Russian invasion is the biggest pain point for BetterMe at the moment. Since the outbreak of the full-scale war, we have faced numerous trials, and the pandemic, against this backdrop, feels like mere preparation for today’s harsh reality. However, we have had to transform ourselves within this new reality to become more socially responsible and empathetic.
Thus, to support the physical and mental health of Ukrainians, we provide free access to BetterMe: Health Coaching and BetterMe: Mental Health. Additionally, in an effort to assist Ukrainians in dealing with stress, BetterMe has collaborated with WHO in Ukraine, the First Lady of Ukraine, and the NGO “Barrier Free” to develop a digital self-help tool called “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress.” Since February 24, 2022, BetterMe’s Mental Health app has assisted over 350,000 Ukrainians in addressing the psychological consequences of war. Furthermore, we have launched two charity collections of activewear.
FeastGood: You mentioned previously having to adjust operations due to the war in Ukraine. Could you expand on some specific changes you’ve made in order to maintain the company’s functionality and the team’s morale?
Victoria Repa: As the CEO, I prioritized both the safety and well-being of my team as well as the level of services we provide our users with. There was obviously the immediate logistical triaging that had to be done, like helping relocate team members and their families to safer parts of the country and setting them up with remote workspaces since we were no longer coming to the office.
Myself, I am currently living in Warsaw, Poland, as it provides logistical convenience for my frequent business trips between the US, Europe, Israel, and other locations. It feels unusual not being physically with the team, at one table, brainstorming ideas.
However, despite this geographical shift, I am pleased to say that it has not had a negative impact on my relationship with the team. We continue to communicate effectively online, and I regularly hold meetings with the entire team to discuss our goals and plans, ensuring that we remain aligned and on the same page.
By supporting each other and transitioning to fully remote work, despite the challenges presented by the full-scale war, BetterMe swiftly adapted its operational processes to ensure business continuity and continued to serve clients worldwide.
Even in this demanding year, our company has experienced growth, with a 20% increase in financial indicators and employee count in 2022.
FeastGood: Can you give us a glimpse into the future of BetterMe? What are some untapped areas or opportunities you’re looking forward to exploring?
Victoria Repa: BetterMe is committed to enabling individuals from diverse backgrounds to cultivate healthy habits. For instance, within BetterMe: Health Coaching, we offer tailored workouts for individuals using wheelchairs and personalized meal plans for those with diabetes. As part of our ongoing efforts to expand our reach, this summer, we have exciting plans to develop specialized workout routines specifically designed for individuals with prostheses.
Furthermore, in 2021, we launched the BetterMe Store, which offers a range of athleisure and wearables to enhance our users’ experience and provide them with additional motivation to achieve their goals. It is crucial for us to provide comfortable activewear that allows users to feel confident and at ease while engaging in various activities such as dancing, running, tennis, etc. Moving forward, we are actively working on expanding the range of products available in the BetterMe Store. For instance, we will soon launch the second drop of BetterMe’s Dance into Confidence collection.
FeastGood: How does the wearable tech you’ve developed fit within the vision for BetterMe and a future that is powered by AI?
Victoria Repa: In recent years, wearable devices have gained immense popularity. BetterMe has launched Band to track custom health data, create personal wellness plans based on that data with real coaches, and promote healthy habits while monitoring progress through the BetterMe App.
According to The Economist, there are currently 400,000 health and wellness apps with 250 new ones added daily, yet over 1 billion people are still obese. However, BetterMe’s users, who receive personalized coaching based on data from their wearables, lose twice as much weight compared to those without such guidance.
To reach even better results, the data collected from the bands may be used to incorporate AI into the app and provide users with more advanced health monitoring options. It can aid in weight gain, food tracking, sleep monitoring, and other areas. AI can promote preventive medicine and healthy habits to help individuals achieve their objectives more safely and effectively.
FeastGood: You mentioned that you want to show the world that Ukrainian entrepreneurs can build global businesses. How do you plan to carry this message forward, and how can other entrepreneurs help in this cause?
Victoria Repa: With the outbreak of full-scale war, my personal mission has evolved to utilize my international exposure in encouraging people to donate and support Ukraine, while also promoting Ukrainian entrepreneurship in the Western world.
I actively participate as a speaker in various international events to share these messages with a global audience. For instance, I have had the opportunity to speak on the Main Stage of Web Summit 2022 in Lisbon and Rio, Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit EMEA, and London Tech Week, to name a few.
It’s important to challenge the stereotypes and perceptions associated with Ukraine as solely a post-Soviet, post-oligarch country. In this case, other entrepreneurs can play a vital role by sharing their own experiences, successes, and challenges. Collaboration, mentorship, and knowledge sharing among entrepreneurs can contribute to the growth and recognition of Ukraine as a thriving hub for innovation and global business.
BetterMe & FeastGood.com
About The Author
Avi Silverberg is an author, coach, and the Founder of FeastGood.com. Avi has a Master of Science in Exercise Science and has published over 400 articles on the topics of health, exercise, and nutrition.