FitStar, the San Francisco-based startup that just launched a workout app with Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, just raised $4 million in a round led by Trinity Ventures to expand its line-up of fitness apps. Earlier investors like Google Ventures also participated.
The round was put together a few months ago before the company launched its flagship app earlier this month. CEO Mike Maser, who came up with the idea while traveling solo out in New Zealand, isn’t sharing specific stats yet on retention or the size of the company’s user base because it’s only been a few weeks. But he did say that users have burned at least a collective 4 million calories through the app.
Maser said the deal with Trinity came together in part because the firm had really been looking for a mobile health-related play for a while.
“They are smart, just genuinely good folks with high integrity,” he said. “They’ve been looking at the space for a long time and they were hungry to make an investment in consumer health. There was a just instant simpatico in what they were looking for in an investment and what we were looking for in a new partner.”
FitStar’s first app is a video workout app where Gonzalez leads users through several dozen exercises that can all be done without the assistance of any equipment or a gym. Unlike classic DVD or home video workouts, the app responds to the user and customizes the difficulty of the exercises based on their fitness level. There’s a simple diagnostic questionnaire at the beginning and then the app will raise the difficulty level over time depending on how committed the user is to the regime.
Since launch, the app was featured in the “Editor’s Choice” category by Apple, and stayed in the top 100 apps for about a week. It’s still sitting in the top 5 for the “Health and Fitness” category in the U.S. That’s pretty normal though because the top free ranks tend to be dominated by games and social networking apps, not health and fitness or productivity titles.
Maser said to expect an iPhone version of the app next. He’s still quiet on when the company will eventually come out with workout apps targeted at different demographics with other fitness celebrities.
FitStar has a freemium monetization model with paid versions that give the user more workouts per week, nutritional guidance and e-mail support. The prices of those paid subscription add-ons range from $4.99 to $11.99 per month.
The other component of the business will be merchandising. FitStar also just opened up a store with branded apparel and books on nutrition. They’re also partnering with companies like Kiip, a mobile rewards startup, to offer free Amazon MP3s and other goodies to FitStar users.
“We offer a high fidelity experience that should appeal to apparel makers and food and beverage companies,” Maser said.
FitStar is also backed by Advancit Capital, a VC firm from Viacom and CBS Corporation vice chairman Shari Redstone, and Floodgate.