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Smartspot, Which Brings Computer Vision To Gyms And Trainers, Raises $1.85M From Khosla, Signalfire

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Moawia Eldeeb has one of the more unfathomable and inspiring stories I’ve ever come across while working in Silicon Valley.

He was born to a farming family in Egypt and then made his way to Queens as a child where he earned $20 a day working in a pizza shop. He was in and out of school for years, then caught up on Khan Academy and later made it into Columbia University’s computer science program.

Now he’s founded a Y Combinator-backed company called Smartspot, which has just raised $1.85 million from Khosla Ventures and Signalfire.

They are a computer vision startup that re-imagines gym equipment and personal training. With a Kinect camera connected to a flat-panel screen, they’ll monitor a person’s workout and weight-lifting to make sure all of their postures and angles are correct. You can see how it works below.

Longer-term, the idea is that the $2,500 equipment can decouple personal trainers from needing to be physically there with a client, which would dramatically reduce the cost of personal training. A trainer would be able to review recorded videos from a Smartspot and give online feedback. Eldeeb and his co-founder Joshua Augustin have their Smartspot system in 10 gyms already and are trying to build out a new personal trainer program.

“This is the first time where personal training is not with a person standing next to you,” Eldeeb said.

They’ve built out a team with four people and they’re trying to hire three more in iOS and Android development.

Ben Ling is the VC from Khosla who’s leading their investment. That wasn’t a surprise to me when I heard because Ling is a known fitness buff.

“Ben works out all the time and he’s really personal with our company,” Eldeeb said.” Whatever his dreams or ideas are, he just helps us make it in our product.”