Hoping to pick up the slack left by people who want to get fit but find gym memberships too expensive or unproductive, Sweden’s Vint is a peer-to-peer marketplace and community for private training, either individual or in small groups. It consists of an iPhone app (and is currently only available in Stockholm, Sweden) that lets certified instructors, vetted by the startup itself, offer instruction in any sport, price range and skill level.
Today, Vint is announcing a seed round of $1.8 million, led by Nordics VC Creandum — money it will use to expand the reach of its marketplace, first across Sweden but also including a U.S. launch pegged for sometime in 2014. That would see it, to a certain degree, go up against U.S.-based Fitmob.
Others participating in the seed round include DN Capital, Kima Ventures, GP Bullhound, Edastra, and angel investors Richard Båge, Bryan Johnson, and Mathias Ackermand. In addition and noteworthy is that David Giampaolo, co-founder of the global gym chain 24 Hour Fitness and investor to the work-out concept ZUMBA, also joins the round.
So, perhaps, chalk Vint up as not so much gym competitor as reaching parts of the market that traditional gym chains are unable to reach. Or, maybe, Giampaolo has simply resolved the “innovator’s dilemma“.
“We’re disrupting the way people work out through connecting experienced athletes with people who think what gym chains usually offer is too expensive, too advanced or simply do not have access,” Vint co-founder and CEO, Louise Eriksson, tells TechCrunch in an email.
“We’re giving our users a chance to get private training cheaper and easier but also more athletes to make a business of their interest. We want to grow the total market for training and increase the quality of every work out being done while doing so.”
Along with Eriksson, who formerly founded Scandinavia’s largest B2B ad network, AdProfit, Vint’s other founders are Magnus Hult, one of Spotify’s first engineers and co-founder of the digital gift cards app Wrapp, Leo Giertz, also co-founder of Wrapp and developer of Spotify’s first iOS app, and Arvid Janson, co-founder of Psykologifabriken and Hoa’s Tool Shop.
The connection to Spotify is particularly interesting given Vint backer Creandum was an early investor in the music streaming service. I’ll also say that, on paper at least, Vint’s team looks pretty strong.
The market opportunity appears to be decent, too. Vint claims the total training and fitness market in Sweden is $600 million, while the U.S. market is valued at $40 billion.