KFit, a recent arrival in Asia Pacific that aims to make gyms and fitness more accessible in the region, has landed a $3.25 million funding round led by Sequoia.
This new round comes on the back of KFit’s undisclosed seed funding round, which was announced when the service launched in May. The company — which was founded by former Groupon APAC head Joel Neoh — takes its cues from a number of companies in the U.S. which have pioneered the concept of paying a fixed subscription fee for access to multiple gyms and fitness options. ClassPass, which raised a $40 million Series B in January and ate up rival FitMob this year, is perhaps the most notable example.
Unlike the U.S., though, where gym membership is proportionally higher than parts of Asia — in part due to cost of living and price of gyms — Neoh said that KFit is working to grow awareness and access to fitness rather than simply offer a better deal for those who already work out.
“We’re aiming to democratize fitness to as many people as possible,” Neoh said. “We’re focused on growing the overall pie.”
KFit is currently operational in six cities across Asia Pacific: Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney. The company is aggressive with its growth plans and is aiming to be in 20 to 30 cities within the next 18 months.
“We want to be in every city in Asia, every capital city,” Neoh explained.
This new funding round is likely to give KFit 12-18 months of runway, but, Neoh explained, the company may return to raise more funds soon if its business shows the potential to accelerate at a faster rate.
Right now, KFit is keeping coy about its numbers. The company, which has around 100 staff, has signed up more than 1,000 partners across Asia Pacific. That includes fitness studios and gyms, as well as access to sports facilities, such as tennis courts, too. Neoh added that more than 100,000 customers have signed up across its six cities thus far.
Having helmed Groupon in Asia Pacific, Neoh has extensive e-commerce experience which raises the possibility that KFit might branch out to offer other kinds of services, perhaps sport equipment or other retail options. The KFit founder said that, for now, the business is focused on scaling using its current model, but it may “evolve” later.
That model of operations is quite fascinating since it bears an uncanny resemblance to the local-central system employed by Uber and other on-demand services. That’s to say that, KFit maintains a central team in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which develops the tech and carries out centralized operations and business. Local city teams hire partners and customize the service to suit their location.
The next thing we can expect from KFit, aside from further expansions, is for iOS and Android mobile apps to arrive. That’s likely to happen in the coming weeks, Neoh said, and it should give the service — which had been web-only to this point — greater potential to take off among Asia Pacific’s mobile-first consumers.