Finnish fitness startup Yoogaia has pulled in a $3 million seed to stretch its home exercise platform into more markets. Investors in the round are Nokia Growth Partners, Inventure, Sanoma Ventures and Point Nine Capital.
As its name suggests, Yoogaia offers live online yoga classes via its web platform, as well as other fitness instruction — charging a monthly subscription that undercuts typical gym membership fees, and offers unlimited access at all price-points. It’s also undercutting average yoga class fees, but you’d expect it to as you’re not going to be able to get any hands-on adjustment to improve posture alignment from a remote teacher.
It currently operates three studios from which its instructors teach — in London, Helsinki and Hong Kong — so it can offer classes to suit users in different timezones. Live classes are also available for a period on-demand, after the fact, if users can’t attend a live session.
Yoogaia soft launched its fitness platform in Finland in February last year, before opening up internationally in November. It’s now reporting more than 50,000 users in more than 50 countries — up from between 3,000 and 5,000 back in October 2014.
As part of its market expansion push, it’s planning to add Germany classes. The main market targets for expansion are the U.K., Germany, the U.S. and Australia, says CEO and founder Mikko Petäjä. “U.K. is growing the fastest, although Australia/New Zealand grows fast, too,” he adds.
Petäjä says about two-thirds of the classes it offers currently have English instruction. While average class size varies — he says classes have between 30 to 300 participants. Given such large per class numbers it’s unlikely Yoogaia instructors are able to offer much individual instruction to users during live classes, albeit that’s also true if you do classes via YouTube (although those classes are free).
As well as pushing for international growth, Yoogaia will be using the new funding to improve its experience on mobile devices, with an iOS app launch planned for September. It will also be using the new funds to expand its team.
Commenting on the investment in a statement, Point Nine Capital’s Nicolas Wittenborn said: “Yoogaia has created a beautiful and differentiated product that truly sticks out in the online fitness market — and the numbers show that users really love it.”