Runkeeper is set to become the latest fitness startup to be acquired by a workout gear company. Jason Jacobs, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer, announced today that his company has entered into a definitive agreement to be purchased by ASICS Corporation.
Headquartered in Japan, ASICS is best-known for making running shoes and clothing, but also has its own training app for runners. In his post on the deal, Jacobs said that the combined companies will work on physical products with digital fitness tracking features. (He also added that based on Runkeeper’s Shoe Tracker feature, ASICS shoes are the most popular among the app’s users.)
“By putting these two pieces together (digital fitness platform and world class physical products), you can build a new kind of fitness brand that has a deeper, more trusted relationship with consumers and can engage with them in a more personalized way,” he said. “Partnering with ASICS to fulfill this vision together makes a ton of sense. We both have deep roots in and focus on running as a core component of the fitness experience.”
The Runkeeper app will continue to exist as a standalone product and Jacobs promised that “from the end-user standpoint, not much will change.”
The acquisition of Runkeeper, which launched in 2008, follows a string of other similar deals, with large workout gear companies snapping up fitness tech startups. In August, Adidas bought Austrian fitness app maker Runtastic; earlier in 2015, Under Armour, another workout apparel company, purchased fitness and health trackers Endomondo and MyFitnessPal.
These deals give ASICS, Adidas, and Under Armour a way to compete with Nike, which has done well with its own apps and line of fitness trackers like the Nike Fuelband, and potentially tap into the growing wearables market.