4iP invests in iPhone fitness app GymFu, and a new service to help parents choose a school

4iP[UK] Channel 4’s 4iP fund will tomorrow announce seven new investments totaling £500,000 as part of its mission to kick-start new investment in public service-oriented digital media. However, while the full list hasn’t yet been made public, TechCrunch Europe has acquired details of two of the investments. GymFu, an iPhone app designed to encourage people to get fit, and School Report Card, a new web service that should help parents make better informed decisions about which school to send their children. Here’s what else we’ve learnt.

gymfuHampshire-based GymFu will receive funding just below £100,000. The new funds will be used to develop a broader GymFu offering that builds on the existing ActionFu series of iPhone apps. Users will be able to track how well they are progressing in a variety of exercises, but in order to appeal to a wider audience, these will be served up in “bite-sized chunks” making it easier to achieve the recommended 30-60 minutes of daily exercise. There’s a social element too. GymFu users can “follow and comment on the progress of their friends and share their own progress on the web.”

4iP say they plan to continue to invest in health and welfare-related projects, and that in the future they’ll be looking to harness the network effects of their investments by possibly building a central destination where users can track and record their progress across multiple services, including GymFu.

dhcgq7vk_1g7fwgtvh_bAlthough we don’t know the exact amount of investment that School Report Card will receive, it crosses the £100,000 mark. The new web service will help tackle one of the most contentious issues here in the UK: How to choose the right school for your children. While the government’s school inspection service Ofsted has produced school reports for over a decade, it’s still extremely difficult to navigate through all of the available information. Instead, parents are left relying on the, perhaps, crude measurement of school ‘league tables’ alone.

School Report Card aims to change this by bringing together multiple data sets and presenting them in a newly accessible way. It’s not just about choosing a school though, as we understand it the service will also help parents become more involved in the school community. 4iP say they have invested in School Report Card because not only does it meet a definite need and the fund’s overall public service mission but also because of the team behind the project, which includes Matt Jones (ex Dopplr) and Matt Webb (ex BBC).

To qualify, all of the projects receiving investment have to fit into the overall themes that 4iP aims to promote, which include “holding power to account, helping people discover stuff that could change their lives and enabling individuals to MOT their lives.” GymFu obviously fits into the latter – MOT refers to the yearly test that a motor vehicle in the UK has to pass in order to be deemed fit to drive – while School Report Card appears to meet both the ‘discovering stuff’ and ‘holding people to account’ criteria.