Issue No. 157: Fitt Insider Update
We’re already well into Q4. And the holiday season is around the corner.
Before 2021 comes to a close, we’re sending an update on what’s new and in the works at Fitt Insider.
With that, here’s a quick note from me (Anthony), Joe, and the team, followed by our regularly scheduled rundown of fitness and wellness happenings.
About a month ago, on LinkedIn, I shared a post that was out of character.
For over a year, I’ve been undergoing treatment for cancer. Fortunately, I recently received a clean bill of health. After some coaxing, I opened up about the ordeal.
Since then, I’ve been blown away by the response from the Fitt Insider community. I’ve tried to get back to everyone but absolutely have to say thank you all for the incredibly kind words of support!
I’ve never been more inspired or energized to help people live healthier, happier lives.
Early in our careers, as trainers and gym owners, Joe and I did that one-on-one. Then, scaling companies in the digital realm, we reached more health-seekers. Going forward, Fitt Insider is the perfect platform to accelerate our mission.
As a resource for and partner to game-changing operators, we hope to play a role in helping many millions of people improve their well-being.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been working on some exciting upgrades.
Our new homepage prominently displays content while highlighting the podcast, jobs board, and our investments. Plus, we added an “Articles” section for coverage beyond the newsletter.
On the podcast front, we’ve eclipsed 100 episodes. Soon, we’ll be adding video as we get more active on YouTube. With that, we’re looking for a producer/editor to join the team.
This summer, we debuted Fitt Jobs. Since then, it has grown to ~1,000 curated openings/week. New hiring tools, like featured jobs, are coming. Interested? Submit your company and stay tuned.
Plus, in the new year, we’ll be sending a second weekly newsletter. No, the Tuesday edition won’t change. Sent later in the week, we’ll simply be sharing even more insights. Sign up to receive the Weekly Debrief.
For the past few years, when anyone asked “how can I help?”, we simply said “please share the newsletter!”
We certainly hope you’ll continue to spread the word. But, going forward, we’re also working on new ways to engage this incredible community.
Expanding coverage and creating a dialogue, we’re fielding suggestions and submissions for future content. The goal? Collaborate with subject matter experts to share key insights relevant to industry operators.
Continuing the conversation, we’ll be rolling out a virtual space for health and fitness founders. After testing the concept, we’re looking for an experienced community builder to help us take the next step.
A note for marketing and PR folks: Feel free to send us your news or client list. Likewise, reach out if you’d like us to join your fitness- or business-related podcast or event.
Beyond content, we’re continuing to improve the platform, adding more resources for operators.
Building on our list of 70+ health and fitness investors, we’re working to add more firms and prominent angels. A step further, we’re exploring ways to connect startups and investors.
We already do this informally and invest when there’s a fit, but we plan to expand the impact. From sharing deal flow to hosting remote demo days, we want to help more health and fitness startups get funded.
If you’re a founder or investor that wants to stay in the loop, connect, or learn more, get in touch here.
We’ll also introduce newsletter and podcast sponsorships. By connecting select partners with our growing audience, we’ll be able to invest even more resources into the platform.
Another piece of the puzzle, we’ve been investing in health and fitness startups, building a strong angel portfolio.
Along the way, a few things have become clear. One, as founders and operators ourselves, we absolutely love working with founders. And two, our unique experience in and perspective on the industry can provide significant value beyond a check.
With that, we’re raising the Fitt Insider Fund to support the pre-seed and seed-stage companies defining the future of well-being.
As we’ve said, the world needs more crazy-ambitious health and fitness founders. And we’ll be first in line to back them.
If you’re interested in learning more, please reply to this email.
From obesity and chronic diseases to mental wellness, we’re coming up short on nearly every measure of good health. Addressing these issues, both as individuals and as an industry, we hope Fitt Insider helps move the needle.
Thanks for being here. Back to work!
🤖 Fitness, AI, and Gaming
Increasingly, software is eating fitness and exercise looks like a game.
On the Fitt Insider Podcast: Freeletics CEO Daniel Sobhani joined us to discuss the company’s evolution from PDF workout plans to a digital fitness platform with more than 50M users.
We also cover: the launch of STÆDIUM, the company’s new game-based connected strength training product. And Daniel shares his thoughts on innovation beyond AI.
Listen to today’s episode here.
🍓 Billion-Dollar Smoothies
Daily Harvest raised $77M in new funding to scale up its plant-based, frozen food operation.
Lone Pine Capital led the round, which also saw participation from existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. With the new funding, the company is now valued at $1.1B.
Previously valued at $380M, Daily Harvest is backed by a host of athlete and celebrity investors, including Serena Williams, Shaun White, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bobby Flay.
Health x Convenience
From smoothies to veggie bowls, Daily Harvest ships frozen, plant-based meals and snacks directly to consumers.
Offering a menu of more than 100 items free of refined sugars or additives, the company has found success by tapping consumer preferences in health and convenience. As Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori put it:
“Eating fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be hard, but it’s the hardest thing.”
Founded in 2015, the subscription-based company says it has been “nearly profitable” since day one. Fast-forward to 2020, as demand for delivery increased during the pandemic, Daily Harvest topped $250M in revenue.
Flush with cash, Drori laid out next steps, including:
- Opening the brand’s first brick-and-mortar “tasting room”
- Launching ready-to-bake meals and side dishes called “Harvest Bakes”
- Prioritize sustainability efforts, like regenerative agriculture, to combat climate change
Looking ahead, Drori didn’t rule out a public offering, telling Bloomberg it was a “viable option.”
⚡️ Fitness x High Fashion
Fitness gear is getting a high fashion revamp.
- Last month, Technogym launched a gym equipment collection with Dior and released its own high-end Personal Line, designed by Antonio Citterio.
- Hermès just wrapped up a four-day workout popup in Brooklyn with classes that incorporate its wares, from yoga with silk scarves to “voguing with hats”.
- In early 2021, PENT. launched two fitness equipment collections—handmade with wooden, steel, and genuine leather—for the hospitality market.
Ahead of the game, during the first wave of the pandemic, Louis Vuitton released designer dumbbells, monogrammed jump ropes, and more.
Fit for IG. After spending months indoors, consumers are taking a critical eye to their home décor — particularly, their large, clunky home gyms. With at-home fitness skyrocketing during the pandemic, designers saw an opportunity to jump on the boom.
Bala grew their business by 10x this past year as consumers sought out sleeker fitness solutions. “It’s really a sculptural object that looks attractive even if it’s leaned up against the corner of your living room when not in use,” remarked founder Max Kislevitz.
Same goes for items like Feier Design Studio’s pastel ceramic kettlebell, EQUIPT’s Ubarre, and Addition Studio’s marble dumbbell. On the connected fitness front, Forme, Ergatta, and Ciclotte build equipment that can blend beautifully into a living space, and Eric Villency is well-known for designing Peloton and SoulCycle’s workout bikes.
A chic workout. Beyond aesthetics, high fashion fitness claims to be the antithesis to the ultra-serious, high-stakes world of fitness.
“By making it art, you add sensuality to the traditional movement; it evokes a different emotion than what a dumbbell [would]… the hand is going to reach for what is beautiful.” – Kodi Berg, founder of EQUIPT
That may be true, but not many can afford to spend $2,000 on a pair of LV dumbbells. The real service here is a chance to signal social status — for the fitness elite to show off their luxurious new equipment on social media.
Next up, recently launched Tempo Move offers a middle ground—a small, screenless home gym that’s affordable and designed to disappear into a living space.
Takeaway: While visually appealing, high fashion fitness targets those who already have all the access they need to health and fitness — those who have long integrated workouts into their daily routine and are now looking to inject an extra dose of opulence.
But as Peloton stumbles, doubters question the staying power of at-home fitness. Will fashion’s fascination with at-home fitness equipment last, or will it be out of style by next season?
📰 News & Notes
- Xponential Fitness CEO: “Gyms are back.”
- WHOOP CEO: Delivery of new hardware will be further delayed.
- Colin Kaepernick joins Ergatta as investor, advisor, and brand partner.
- Gympass adds 700+ LA Fitness, City Sports Club, and Esporta Fitness locations.
- Fitt Jobs: Explore 900+ curated openings from top health and fitness companies.
- Big Tech x health: J&J CEO joins Apple’s board; Google hires ex-Headspace exec.
- Startup Q&A: COR’s Bob Messerschmidt on high-tech, at-home health optimization.
- iFIT sues Victoria’s Secret over recently acquired, Kayla Itsines-created “SWEAT” trademark.
💰 Money Moves
- Luxury gym chain Equinox secured $255M in new financing commitments from some of its lenders and owners to bolster its liquidity.
- India-based health and fitness startup Cure.fit secured $50M in funding from food delivery aggregator Zomato, valuing the company at $1.56B.
- Daily Harvest raised $77M in new funding, vauling the plant-based, frozen food brand at $1.1B.
- JuneShine, a California-based hard kombucha company, closed $24M in a Series B round led by Amberstone and Peter Rahal’s Litani Ventures.
- Digital strength training platform Ladder raised $6.5M in a seed round led by LivWell Ventures, with participation from Keller Capital, Athletic Brewing CEO Bill Shufelt, and others.
- OMORPHO, maker of weighted athleticwear, launched after closing $5M in an oversubscribed seed round led by KB Partners.
- Biology firm Viome Life Sciences secured $54M in pre-Series C funding to scale R&D for its focus areas of chronic disorders, cancers, and human longevity.
- Glucose monitoring startup Signos secured $13M in a Series A funding round.
- igniteXL Ventures, a Silicon Valley VC firm focused on global wellness and beauty brands, closed its debut $10M fund.
- Athletic training facility operator D1 Sports landed an undisclosed strategic investment from Princeton Equity Group.
- The Naked Market, an incubator and marketplace for better-for-you food brands, secured $27.5M in a Series A round led by Integrated Capital.
- Curastory, a platform helping fitness creators monetize their content, added $1.6M in seed funding.
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- DTC health company Ro is seeking to acquire sperm storage startup Dadi for an estimated $100M.
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Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony and Joe Vennare, Melody Song, Wesley Yen, and Ryan Deer.