SAN FRANCISCO Jan 23 Workout company Fitmob
said it has raised $9.75 million as it tries to tap into one of
Silicon Valley's hottest trends - allowing people to share goods
and services as part of the "sharing economy."
In this case, Fitmob allows trainers to connect directly
with prospective clients via a smartphone, through which clients
can sign up for group workouts and pay. Currently, Fitmob links
customers with instructors offering classes including "Sweat
Soiree" and "Gurus Gone Wild."
Like sharing-economy companies TaskRabbit, Lyft and Airbnb,
Fitmob sticks to connecting workers with prospective clients
rather than employing them itself. The trainers hold their own
The sector has become very valuable as consumers embrace the
businesses, which typically bring greater convenience and lower
costs than the traditional companies they are trying to
displace. Accommodation service Airbnb, for example, is valued
at $2.5 billion, according to media reports.
Raj Kapoor, Fitmob's chief executive officer and a former
venture capitalist at Mayfield Fund, said he hopes to attract
customers who might otherwise join a gym, or skip workouts
"Two-thirds of the country is obese," he said, citing U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. "There's
something massively broken here."
He aims to encourage participation by cutting per-class fees
from $15 to as low as $5 for Fitmob's most frequent users. For
now, the service is available in San Francisco, with plans to
expand. The company might later layer on other services, such as
nutrition, Kapoor said.
Gym membership is currently a $75 billion business, Kapoor
said, although as many as 60 percent of members do not go.
Mayfield led the $6.5 million equity component of the
funding, Kapoor said. Silicon Valley Bank provided $3.25 million
in venture debt.