‘AI-powered’ fitness app Freeletics scores $25M Series B

Freeletics, the “AI-powered” fitness coaching app, has closed $25 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is U.S.-based JAZZ Venture Partners and Causeway Media Partners, with support from KKCG.

The fresh injection of capital follows $45 million in Series A funding in late 2018. It will be used by the company to develop new tech, further expand globally and launch new business verticals.

Founded in 2013 and well-established in Europe, Freeletics has been steadily trying to conquer America since its Series A (the company was impressively bootstrapped until then). The Munich, Germany-founded company’s self-described mission is to “challenge and inspire people to become the greatest version of themselves, both mentally and physically.”

The Freeletics app offers AI-powered fitness and mindset coaching, and has 48 million users in more than 160 countries, claiming to be the No. 1 fitness app in Europe with more than 600,000 paid-for subscriptions. The “personal trainer in your pocket” aims to help you train anytime, anywhere, with personalised training plans and workouts. Its algorithms learn from the app’s millions of users and the individual feedback they provide, with the goal of developing “smart” training journeys uniquely designed to suit different users in different contexts.

“While a relatively new player in the U.S., Freeletics is a clear global leader in at-home fitness and we believe they are perfectly positioned to continue leading the fitness industry into the future post-COVID-19 in the U.S. market,” said John Spinale, managing partner at JAZZ Venture Partners. “In an ocean of unpersonalized fitness streaming concepts, they offer a sophisticated and adaptive personal coach for every aspect of performance and well-being — whether mental or physical. This is a promising indication of what is still to come.”

“We want to give anyone the right plan and guidance to reach their goals, on their terms, and ultimately lead to a long-term behavior change so they can continue leading that lifestyle for the rest of their lives,” Freeletics CEO Daniel Sobhani tells TechCrunch. “Not everything the fitness industry has been telling us for the last 30 years has been setting people up for success, so we want to put an end to that and be clear and honest about the work it takes to reach your goals, while making real, sustainable results accessible to as many people as possible. And those goals don’t have to be just losing weight. Whatever the finish line looks like, we want to get people there in the most efficient, sustainable and enjoyable way.

Sobhani says Freeletics’ AI provides “hyper-personalized” fitness coaching, paired with mindset training for a more holistic experience. “The AI-powered coach curates the workouts best suited to every single user, so that they are always super efficient and effective, making it easier to work towards your goal,” he explains. “We focus so much on personalization because, in the end, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to health and fitness. We then pair this technology with our efforts in the product to reduce the everyday hurdles people face when it comes to working out regularly — time, space, equipment, knowledge, money, confidence and so on.”

The idea is that Freeletics lets you work out on your own terms, in terms of how, when and where you want. For each day of your training plan, the AI coach can draw from 3.5 million options. So, for example, you may want a quiet workout plan without equipment that fits with your small city apartment and that won’t disturb the neighbours. Or one that only requires 15 minutes. Or perhaps you want to lift weights instead. Based on these and a plethora of other criteria, Freeletics promises to adapt to your needs accordingly.

“For the finishing touch, we combine this personalized training experience with the mental component — audio coaching, which aims to educate, motivate and bring more mindfulness to the whole experience,” adds Sobhani. “This mindset coaching builds the sustainable basis for our users to make life-long improvements to their lifestyles, aiming to help them build healthy habits and better understand their journey, all while putting more emphasis on mindfulness and meditation for better long-term results across the board.”

Meanwhile, Freeletics operates a classic freemium model. The app is free to download and use to a certain extent, but for more personal coaching you’ll need to pay for a subscription. This sees the company offer different options with combinations of training, nutrition and mindset coaching for different subscription periods, from one to 12 months.

“Users can get a digital personal coach for less than a cup of coffee a week, which is the more attractive option for most if you compare that with the cost of a personal trainer at the gym,” says the Freeletics CEO. “And on top of that, the app also works to remove any other financial hurdles associated with working out, like gym memberships, equipment, etc. Over the last year we have managed to double our paying subscriber base to over 600,000, which is a real industry benchmark if you look at similar companies.”

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