Online fitness marketplace Wello launched earlier this summer to enable users to get private, one-on-one training sessions — but to do so in the comfort of their own homes. Now the startup has raised a $1 million seed round of financing from investors in healthcare incubator Rock Health, such as Kleiner Perkins, Mohr Davidow, Aberdare Ventures, and Mayo Ventures. Others include Morado Ventures, S-Cubed Capital, PhilQuo Ventures, and other angels.
Wello provides a marketplace to connect trainers with clients, but does so with live video sessions over the Internet. The idea is to help people who don’t have time to go to the gym or don’t want to do so to get personalized training through live video sessions. That’s right — no travel, no embarrassing workouts in front of the actual fit people at the gym. Just you, in your home, receiving personalized instruction by video.
Customers can choose from a variety of different training regimens, from yoga and Pilates to kickboxing and strength training. The startup has more than 150 different trainers and fitness professionals signed up to provide sessions from all across the U.S. All trainers are vetted to check out their certifications and references, and are run through trial sessions to see how well they do in a streaming video environment. When they do connect with a client, they can provide a more personalized workout than someone would get from a typical class environment.
So far, the model seems to be working with early users: More than two-third of those who try a workout come back for another, and repeat users have racked up an average of 5.5 sessions a month. Trainers, meanwhile, benefit by being able to set their own hours and getting paid a much larger fraction than they would make at the local gym. Users can choose between 25-, 40-, and 55-minute sessions, and Wello co-founder Leslie Silverglide says group sessions will be coming soon.
Silverglide told me the funding will be used to add a few engineers and new members to the marketing team to help scale and get the word out.