Lifesum Is Taking Its Playbook Straight From Spotify — And A Few Of Its Executives

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Swedish health and fitness app ShapeUp Club has been quietly building its user base over the last couple of years. Indeed, it’s almost as if it has been taking its playbook from that other noted Swedish success story of recent years: Spotify. By concentrating on the local Nordic markets it knows well, the startup has been able to build its product largely outside of a bigger market like the U.S., just as Spotify did, prior to its U.S. launch. Then again, this is perhaps not unexpected – it’s rapidly amassing a battle group of former Spotify executives, for one. But this week its vision is to become more fully realised with a name change to Lifesum and a restated vision to take on the world of ‘wellbeing’ apps which aim to do more than simply help you lose weight.

Founded under the name ShapeUp Club in 2008, the health app and platform has achieved over 4.8 million registered downloads and 500,000 monthly active users in Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

As Tove Westlund and Martin Wählby, founders of Lifesum, said in an email to users: “Earlier this summer we felt that we needed a fresh name to reflect our ambition – to support and encourage you in every aspect of your wellbeing – being so much more than just a weight-loss app. Also, as more users across Europe join in using the app, we wanted there to be no confusion about what it does.”

They say current active members are shedding an average of 13lbs (6 kilograms) in 3 months. And the startup has also been on a hiring spree.

Susanne Stage, previously lead product designer at Spotify, has joined as lead designer; Björn Fant, marketing director, joins from Videoplaza; Phillipe Casorla Sagot becomes lead iOS developer from Saborstudio in Costa Rica; Tome Cvitan is now senior software engineer.

In May 2013 Henrik Torstensson, former Head of Premium Sales with Spotify, and Marcus Gners, former Vice President of Business Development at Stardoll, joined as CEO and Deputy CEO respectively.

What we have here then is a fast growing startup that has gone from 5 to 19 people in a year without external financing, which suggests that their paid-for business model – where pay to access premium features of the app – may well be working.