Runtastic launches hardware line, enters U.S.

The Quantified Self movement has produced a number of startups in that space, most notably fitness tracking apps such as Runkeeper, Edmondo or Fitbit. European sports tracking app Runtastic is one of them and just announced that they are moving into the hardware space with a manufacturing partner and are shipping their first products in Q1 2012.

The startup has built a team of 30+ people – without seeking institutional funding – and is broadening its field of competitors towards established companies such as Garmin or Nike with their move. However, the move does not come unexpected, and is a result of finding new revenue streams as a mobile-first company. Among the first products the startup is shipping will be a GPS-enabled watch that is connected to their web application and a chest strap, connected to a dongle, which allows users to measure their heart rate while doing sports.

According to co-founder and COO Alfred Luger their apps have been downloaded more than 5 million times and 2 million users have signed up to their web service. By directly distributing, but not manufacturing hardware, the startup walks along the line of US competitor Runkeeper, which announced a strategic partnership with Fitbit last April.

While growing strongly in Europe, the Austrian startup also announced that they are entering the U.S. market with a local representative working out of their San Francisco office. Hardware will intially be distributed throught their online store, while talks with retail partners are ongoing according to CEO Florian Gschwantner.