A week into the New Year, and we’re still looking forward to how we can best get back in shape, and bring our attention back to health and wellness. We’ve recently covered a number of startups that are giving geeks and data enthusiasts alternative approaches to getting in shape, including GymPact, Fitbit, Runkeeper, Gain Fitness, and HealthRally, to name a few.
Skimble is another one of these awesome health and fitness apps that is adding to the space by creating a dynamic, multimedia coaching experience that lets your iPad or mobile device coach you through your ab workout or yoga routine. Skimble is a graduate of Rock Health’s incubator and a startup we covered about a year ago when it first released its iPhone app to track gym workouts and fitness activities on the go. Founded by Maria Ly, formerly of the International Product Management team at Google and Gabe Vanrenen, co-founder of Flurry, the startup initially set out to be a multi-sports tracker that helped users track their fitness progress no matter what sport tickled their fancy.
The founding team decided that people instead want guidance and motivation to achieve their wellness goals, and at least unconsciously want to be told what to do by the experts. So, Skimble has integrated a dynamic audio coaching experience into its workouts so that users can get that extra level of audio coaching straight from their iPad, for example. The idea being that, while people would love to hire a personal trainer, most find them too costly and difficult to integrate into their schedules, and fitness DVDs get stale pretty fast.
Thus, Skimble set out to offer a flexible mobile wellness coaching experience, and today, the startup is launching “Programs,” which are two to six week online, multimedia workout plans led by experts and fitness coaches. These programs are available in the latest version of the startup’s Workout Trainer app — both for Android and iOS. These workouts incude step-by-step multimedia instructions and unique timed audio coaching soundtracks and visual cues, which help walk users through their workouts while they’re on the go. The programs can also be customized based on when you want to exercise, what days of the week you have available, etc.
Programs generally cost between $5 and $15, a price point which Skimble hopes will make these workouts attractive compared to spending $80+ per hour on a personal trainer. And the programs run the gamut, too, for those who are just getting started, or for those who want to push their training in particular sports forward — from full body work outs, to ab and core, and yoga to rock climbing. Skimble is now offering thousands of these free and pro workouts, and has seen over two million downloads since launching.
Maria Ly tells us that that the startup is still bootstrapped, but is now profitable and has been seeing encouraging metrics, like a 50 percent download-to-sign-up conversion rate, 30 percent 30-day retention rates, and 20 min in-app session times.
The startup also just signed a deal with the Harvard Medical School to create the “Harvard Health Gym Coach” to create plans designed by Harvard Medical professionals, and it’s through these types of programs designed by experts that the startup hopes to set itself apart from the competition.
It’s also great that users can just pop on their headphones and follow along with audio instructions and progress cues, or create their own workouts using Skimble’s fairly sizable multimedia exercise library — with instant audio. You can also schedule workouts and get reminders on your phone, or share workouts via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Workout Trainer is designed to be a social experience, too, so that you can not only share your workouts but get placed on Skimble’s leaderboard to see how you rank among other users.
The startup has created a modular exercise database that is easy to use and pretty complete compared to the other options out there, and will be releasing more fitness programs and specialized health coaching content this year. The startup is building out its multimedia database and plans to add even more dynamic video, photo and audio coaching content. At this point, Skimble has a dynamic database of thousands of exercises equipped with stop-motion photos, thousands of instructional audio clips and hundreds of videos, (which, according to Ly, will get released soon).