Cadoo CEO Colm Hayden

Startup Spotlight is an interview series showcasing early-stage health, fitness, and wellness companies.

In this Q&A, Cadoo CEO Colm Hayden lays out the opportunity in letting people bet on their fitness goals. Hayden explains how the company grew from a Facebook group into a venture-backed startup. And he talks about Cadoo’s plan to introduce new features, including computer vision-verified workouts.

Can you tell us about what you’re working on at Cadoo?

Colm Hayden: Cadoo gives people the ability to bet on their fitness goals. We’re using health data to verify all workouts on our app—not third-party human referees.

How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?

CH: I would bet with my running friends, and it helped us all stay motivated to run. The result was one of the most intense motivational experiences we had.

How did you turn your idea into a company?

CH: I first started work on the idea with Tim Parsa, who is a big mentor to me, and helped speed up getting the idea off the ground. We originally started in a Facebook group, verifying workouts by hand, before launching a mobile app… which, originally, nobody used (because the bets were personal, and not for groups).

That led to launching our group challenges feature, when customer acquisition became 10X easier and we began learning from real customers. After redesigning our app, we grew consistently for the next six to seven months, eventually raising $1.5M from Sam Altman’s Apollo fund.

Today, we’re currently heads down building new features and focusing on expanding the team. Some to-be-announced key hires have been made!

How big can this get? What’s the addressable market?

CH: Cadoo sees far-reaching opportunities. On one hand, there are 60M Americans who participated in jogging or running in 2018. Meanwhile, personal training, another high source of fitness motivation, is a $10.8B market.

Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers?

CH: Our core customer is a college-educated 25–50-year-old living in the United States, who runs three to 25 miles a week.

Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3–6 months?

CH: We are aiming for 7K paying users by December 2021. In the next few months, we will be launching: User-hosted challenges, more running integrations, computer vision-verified bodyweight workout challenges, and our own native running/recording platform.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers?

CH: We are hiring! Looking for fantastic engineers who love our idea to join our team.

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