Issue No. 265: Behind the Scenes

Hey gang, happy new year!

Next week, we’ll get back to our regular Tuesday newsletter, breaking down the industry’s biggest news and trends.

But today, we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at Fitt Insider and a preview of what’s to come.

On a Mission

From running gyms and workout events to launching media and tech companies, Joe and I have spent our entire careers building health and fitness businesses.

Since the beginning, we’ve had one goal: to help people live healthier lives.

With Fitt Insider, we set out to create a trusted source of obsessively researched news and insights to drive the industry forward.

Leveling Up

Aiming to evolve, we constantly ask operators “How can we help?” and then try to build that thing.

In countless conversations, a few common themes emerged. So, most of last year was spent quietly laying the groundwork.

First, we made some upgrades.

Press releases. We launched a press release platform to help companies capture the attention of decision-makers and investors. A win-win, it’s an industry news feed that boosts distribution for brands, without compromising our core content.

Sponsorship. Having spent years building trust, value, and community without a single advertisement, we debuted newsletter and podcast sponsorships in 2023. Well-received by brands and readers alike, spots are booked through Q1’24.

WellToDo. After acquiring the brand, we implemented the Fitt Insider playbook, detailing global industry developments for execs in the UK, Europe, Asia, and beyond — while US operators use the content as a roadmap to new markets.

Expansion Mode

Foundation set, we introduced new services to solve the pain points we’d identified — including building exceptional teams, leveraging expertise and connections, and raising funds.

Talent. Hiring is hard. That’s why we created a specialized recruitment firm, connecting industry-leading companies with world-class talent. We’ll also be upgrading Fitt Jobs and introducing a talent network to enhance the platform.

FCG. We often hear from companies seeking support with strategy, execution, go-to-market, and M&A. Assembling a team to tackle these challenges, we started Fitt Consulting Group — delivering individualized assistance to startups, enterprise companies, and venture funds.

Capital. Doubling down on ambitious founders, we’re investing more capital into health and fitness startups. Committed to being the most impactful investor on the cap table, we invest early (oftentimes first) writing $250–500K checks into pre-seed and seed-stage companies.

Coming soon… A consumer-facing complement to Fitt Insider’s B2B coverage, we’re launching Wellworthy in February. We’ll help health-seekers discover new brands, products, and ideas while connecting brands to new audiences.

Looking Ahead

As we turn the page to a new year, I couldn’t be more excited for what’s next.

Although we’ve been building for over a decade, it truly feels like we’re just getting started.

But as we pointed out in Issue No. 264, improving well-being for all remains a work in progress. The world needs a passionate, talented community like ours to cooperate on solutions.

Now more than ever, we’re pouring all we have into helping this industry catalyze change.

Thanks again for all the support + work that you do. Let’s get after it!

– Anthony, Joe, and the entire Fitt Insider team

📰 News & Notes

  • Fitness hotel SIRO prepares for Dubai debut.
  • Nike plans $2B cost-cutting effort, including layoffs.
  • Les Mills launches new functional strength concept.
  • Tonal introduces trade-in program for MIRROR users.
  • Thorne HealthTech hires new CEO, forms innovation arm.
  • Equinox seeks $1.3B in financing ahead of debt maturities.
  • Clue partners with University of Exeter to advance women’s health.
  • Gyms embrace obesity drugs, reshaping business and membership models.

💰 Money Moves

  • German health & wellness aggregator Urban Sports Club closed a €95M round led by Verdane.
  • Strength and conditioning equipment maker BLK BOX landed an undisclosed equity investment from Cordovan Capital Management.
  • Workplace mental health startup Forte (fka Paraclete) raised a $3.3M seed round.
  • Unilever acquired premium haircare brand K18; terms were not disclosed.
  • Pediatric digital health company Xploro Inc added $1.7M in seed funding led by Boomerang Ventures.
  • Employer Direct Healthcare (EDH) secured a $92M investment from Insight Partners, valuing the company at $1B.
  • Devoted Health, a tech-enabled Medicare Advantage startup, raised a $175M Series E round.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony Vennare, Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Jasmina Breen. 

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