Dragons’ Den-Pitching Fitness Geeks Launch App for Personalized Workouts

Waterloo-based fitness startup PumpUp has launched its 2.0 version, adding a fitness community function to its 100,000 user-strong fitness coaching app.

Cofounder Phil Jacobson spoke with BetaKit about the launch, as well as pitching the CBC’s Dragons’ Den this week. While he couldn’t reveal the results of the pitch under the show’s rules, he did talk up the new launch of PumpUp.

“We’re solving the problem of providing our members with the direction and motivation they need to either get started or advance their fitness,” he said. “Most people have trouble knowing what to do when they go to the gym, or when they get started, and we really provide a simple, all-in-one, real-time solution that provides a highly personalized routine.”

PumpUp 2.0 takes care of the “networking complexities that surround fitness,” explained Jacobson, while users get to focus on their workout.

Workout Results (2.0)

The other cofounder is University of Waterloo graduate Garrett Gottlieb (Jacobson graduated from Laurier). The motivation for the startup came from when Gottlieb was searching for a solid smartphone application to aid his workout routine. Only finding “exercise libraries and one-size-fits-all routines,” the cofounder decided to code his own app.

Pumpup designs custom workout routines based on users’ goals and equipment, and coaches them through their step-by-step routine. According to the startup, users are immersed in an engaging fitness community focused on helping them stay motivated. With 2.0, members can build a following and share their results, custom workouts, and progress photos with friends. By following others, members can encourage friends too.

Jacobson said that everyday the company sees tweets, comments and emails from its users telling them how PumpUp “has made a huge difference in their lives.” Apparently even Miss Alaska used the app to train for this year’s Miss United States Pageant.

“We’ve taken a highly personalized approach with PumpUp that our members love,” said Gottlieb.

I asked Jacobson in what direction fitness is going through the realm of technology. While guys like me simply want to exercise without carrying around a smartphone, a huge amount of “quantified selfers” love working out with technology close by.

Jacobson listed off a few points. First, he said fitness is becoming more and more social, especially through the rise of highly publicized events like Tough Mudder or Color Me Rad, where people run for causes. Social media (and telling the world that, yes, you just completed this race) is an integral part to this. In addition, Jacobson sees the quantified self as eventually becoming mainstream, where “there’s going to be a hardware device on everybody’s wrist.” Finally, with the rise of software companies like PumpUp, who can leverage mass amounts of data and insight for a personalized user experience, he sees an inviting future for his space.

“I think we’re seeing every space going towards personalization and we think that will be relevant in our product,” he said.

News Feed (2.0)

The PumpUp App is available as a free download on Apple’s App Store. It will be available for Android in November 2013.

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