Studio, a startup that delivers coaching, music and competition to treadmill runners’ smartphones and smartwatches, is getting a boost from treadmill maker Life Fitness.
Studio founder and CEO Jason Baptiste explained that through this partnership, Studio’s classes will be available on Life Fitness treadmills in gyms, starting with the ones equipped with the company’s Discover SE3 HD consoles. (The classes are audio-only, but the screen can be used for things like displaying the leaderboard.)
When Studio launched last year, Baptiste compared Studio’s offering to Peloton’s live-streaming cycling classes. And while Peloton has plans to ship a treadmill this fall, Baptiste said deals like this give Studio the benefits of hardware integration without having to build and sell its own equipment, while also allowing Life Fitness to experiment with digital fitness.
“What does this mean for gyms and Life Fitness? We’re bringing them an awesome group of the running world’s best instructors,” Baptiste said. “What does this mean for us? Over the coming months, we’re going to get in front of more people than anybody else with the number one equipment manufacturer.”
And the integration goes beyond content delivery — the app can pull distance and biometric data from the treadmills, which determines users’ rankings on the leaderboard.
One challenge is that if you’re not already a Studio user, you might not feel inclined to sign up for a new app right when you’re getting on a treadmill. However, Baptiste said his team has worked to streamline that process, so that you can just authenticate using the Facebook app on your phone.
And while Studio costs $15 per month, the content on treadmills will be free initially. Ultimately, Baptiste said he hopes turn those users into paying subscribers.
“Life Fitness knows that technology is central to helping people reach their fitness goals,” said Jason Worthy, the company’s vice president of digital solutions and innovation, in the announcement. “Our partnership with Studio creates an exciting digital experience far beyond what a traditional treadmill offers, and will keep runners coming back to try new workouts, experience new instructors and beat their personal best.”
Studio is also announcing that it raised $1.3 million in funding last year from a long list of investors. On the institutional side, the investors include TechNexus, Techstars, First Round Capital’s Product Co-Op, Gambit Ventures, Full Tilt Capital, Rostrum Capital, Firstrock Capital, HTVentures and Bridge Boys.
And, by the way, Baptiste has also been doing some hiring to back up that comparison to Peloton — former Peloton head coach Lisa Niren joined Studio in January as director of content and programming.