Salut raises $1.25M for its virtual fitness service

This morning Salut, an app-based service that allows fitness trainers to host classes virtually, announced that it has raised $1.25 million in a new financing event. The round was led by Charles Hudson, an investor at Precursor Ventures.

Founder Matthew DiPietro, formerly of Twitch, told TechCrunch that Salut soft-launched in mid-September, with a wider release coming today.

DiPietro thought up the concept behind Salut before the pandemic hit, he said during an interview, but after COVID-19 appeared the idea took on new urgency. The company put together what DiPietro described as a no-code alpha version of the service in May to test the market, allowing the then-nascent startup to validate demand on both sides of its marketplace — it’s famously difficult to jumpstart two-sided marketplaces, as demand tends to follow supply, and vice-versa.

The test allowed the company to get to confidence on demand existing from both trainers and exercise fans, and in its initial economic model.

With the new round in the bank and its product now formally launched, it’s up to Salut to scale rapidly. The company currently has 55 registered trainers on its platform, a reasonable start for the seed-stage startup. It will need to grow that figure by a few orders of magnitude if it wants to generate enough revenue to reach an eventual Series A.

But Salut is not focused on early-revenue generation, taking no cut of trainer revenue today. Indeed, per an email the company sent out to its users this morning, the startup is passing along 100% of post-Apple income that trainers generate, or 85% of the gross.

Currently users can donate to, or tip, trainers that host classes. DiPietro told TechCrunch that subscription options are coming in a quarter or two. The startup also announced today that trainers can now allow their classes to be replayed, what the startup called one of its “most requested features.”

Anyone familiar with Peloton understands why this matters; only a fraction of classes on the Peloton ecosystem are live at any point in time, but the bike comes with a library of content that users can simply load up whenever they like. This also allows Peloton to release more niche content than it otherwise might, as even the heavy metal-themed rides can accrete a reasonable ridership over time (something they might not be able to manage if all classes on the platform were only live once and then gone forever).

DiPietro is bullish on building income streams for trainers, especially during a pandemic that has locked many gyms, leaving fitness processionals with little to no income in many cases.

There’s some early signal that users are willing to pay, the company said, with early users willing to pay $5 or $10 for an hour of fitness training. And with a focus on the long-tail of trainers who can’t attract 10,000 fans to a single class, Salut thinks there are a large number of trainers who have enough pull to generate more income from

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Compass Health Building Communities of Hope Gala Raises More Than $165,000 to Benefit Child, Youth and Family Behavioral Health Services

The virtual event, held on World Mental Health Day, brought together community members and honored client voices and stories

Compass Health’s Building Communities of Hope Gala raised more than $165,000 in support of the organization’s child, youth and family behavioral health services during a virtual event held on World Mental Health Day, Saturday, October 10, 2020.

Funds exceeded Compass Health’s goals by $15,000, as more than 250 community members gathered virtually to celebrate client voices and stories, even forming socially distant “watch parties” while the event was streamed online. Organizers attribute the support, in part, to a greater recognition of the need for behavioral health resources as the community faces the impacts of COVID-19.

“We know that this year has been demanding in many ways – in fact, the pandemic has exacerbated the medical, educational, economic and social challenges that many of our families face – making community support more crucial than ever,” said Tom Sebastian, president and CEO of Compass Health. “It was thrilling and gratifying to see our community come together, and to watch our team innovate to create a meaningful shared experience while keeping everyone safe through a virtual format.”

One of the evening’s highlights included a video presentation led by Amanda, a Compass Health team member, and her son, who was a client of Compass Health’s WISe youth wraparound services. The video revealed that Amanda was so inspired by the treatment and care that her son received, that she joined the organization as a parent partner with WISe almost two years ago. During the video, Amanda and her son also shared how Compass Health has helped them navigate changes and develop important communication and coping skills.

“It was amazing to see the impact of sharing our story,” Amanda said. “As a parent partner, I know how important it is to destigmatize mental health, and the response to the video has been overwhelming. I’m particularly proud of my son, who really wanted to share with others that they’re not alone, and that Compass Health has been such a positive force in his life.”

Presented in part by Kaiser Permanente, First Interstate Bank, Genoa Healthcare and Integrated Telehealth Solutions, this year’s fundraiser benefits Compass Heath’s child, youth and family services. The primary beneficiaries are Compass Health’s Child and Family Outpatient Programs, Children’s Intensive Services / Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe), Camp Outside the Box, Camp Mariposa, Child Advocacy Program (CAP), and Compass Health’s Therapeutic Foster Care Program.

The robust list of programs supported by this year’s Gala exemplifies the range of services offered by the 118-year-old organization. With a focus on providing a full spectrum of accessible care, Compass Health’s child, family and youth programs are designed to promote positive changes in behavior, help the child and family learn appropriate coping skills, and improve communication skills including learning to resolve conflict and manage emotions in a healthy manner. In addition to honoring the family voice and choice, clinical services such as the Child Advocacy Program offer

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Fitness Wearable WHOOP Raises $100M From Backers Like Durant, Mahomes on Cheddar

Fitness tech company WHOOP has found fresh new funding. The maker of the fitness tracker that many pro athletes are wearing has raised $100 million in Series E financing. The company is now valued at $1.2 billion. 

Among the professional athletes that invested are NBA star Kevin Durant,  NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Mahomes, and PGA champion Justin Thomas, to name a few. 

WHOOP became a fixture on the PGA Tour back in June. Pro-golfer Nick Watney has credited the device with detecting that he had COVID-19, the first positive case on the Tour. 

The company’s main purpose, though, is fitness. It offers coaching to help people improve their health and the strap monitors sleep, recovery, strain, and more. 

“In particular, we’ve seen value in measuring respiratory rate during this unusual time with COVID-19. So we published a lot of research around how respiratory rate is an important metric to understand,” Will Ahmed, founder and CEO of WHOOP, told Cheddar on Thursday. 

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine earlier this year found that after a year of using WHOOP, members experienced longer and more consistent sleep, decreasing resting heart rate, and meaningful behavior changes. 

The company strives to help users change everyday aspects of their lives, which can mean smoother travel, fewer injuries, and using less alcohol. 

“I think the single biggest thing that WHOOP does that other products don’t do is it gives you actionable feedback to improve behavior,” Ahmed said, adding, “I think most people intuitively would say that their diet affects their body but they wouldn’t necessarily know positively or negatively how so — and that’s where WHOOP steps in.”

Whoop is not alone in this industry. Amazon is in the health tech space with its Halo, Google with its acquisition of Fitbit, and Apple with its smartwatch. While tech companies have come under scrutiny for how they use personal data, Ahmed stated that WHOOP is focused on member privacy.

“Over time, I expect every big tech company to want to play in this space,” Ahmed said. “Our focus on the end-user, our focus on driving behavior change and health benefits, I mean I think that’s really the hardest thing to do in this space. That’s where we are going to win.”

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Whoop raises $100 million, valuing the fitness tracker startup at $1.2 billion

(Reuters) – Fitness tracker startup Whoop said on Wednesday it raised $100 million in Series E funding from investors including venture capital firm IVP and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing the company at $1.2 billion.

Popular athletes like 10-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, Super Bowl MVPs Patrick Mahomes and Eli Manning, among others, also participated in the funding round, the company said in a statement here.

Boston-based Whoop said it would primarily use the new funds for product and software development, global expansion and membership services.

Whoop also offers a monthly subscription for round-the-clock health monitoring through a free fitness band it provides with the membership.

The company’s tracker is the fitness band of choice for a host of pro-athletes. The PGA Tour had bought 1,000 Whoop bands for players, caddies and media covering the golf tournament.

Whoop founder Will Ahmed said customers were increasingly using the technology to measure their respiratory rate, which is a key statistic for understanding COVID-19.

Founded in 2012, the company said it has raised over $200 million till date.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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Whoop raises $100 mln, valuing the fitness tracker startup at $1.2 bln

Oct 28 (Reuters) – Fitness tracker startup Whoop said on Wednesday it raised $100 million in Series E funding from investors including venture capital firm IVP and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing the company at $1.2 billion.

Popular athletes like 10-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, Super Bowl MVPs Patrick Mahomes and Eli Manning, among others, also participated in the funding round, the company said in a statement here.

Boston-based Whoop said it would primarily use the new funds for product and software development, global expansion and membership services.

Whoop also offers a monthly subscription for round-the-clock health monitoring through a free fitness band it provides with the membership.

The company’s tracker is the fitness band of choice for a host of pro-athletes. The PGA Tour had bought 1,000 Whoop bands for players, caddies and media covering the golf tournament.

Whoop founder Will Ahmed said customers were increasingly using the technology to measure their respiratory rate, which is a key statistic for understanding COVID-19.

Founded in 2012, the company said it has raised over $200 million till date.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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GoodCell Raises $17.9 Million to Accelerate Development of Its Actionable Health Technology Platform

Capital will fuel continued growth of the company’s IP for measuring genetic variations in cells and scaling its cutting-edge data and analytics platform to track, monitor and support identification of potential health risks

GoodCell (“LifeVault Bio”), the company decoding human health to extend and improve the quality of life through technology powered by science, today announced that it has raised $17.9 million in a preferred equity round. GoodCell intends to use this latest funding to support the company’s IP for detecting and monitoring accumulated genetic variation within blood cells. Financing will also help advance the company’s big data analytics platform to validate novel applications for its health tracking and risk identification solutions through GoodCell Diagnostics and GoodCell’s personal biobanking service.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of solutions that can help people understand their risks and stay ahead of their health,” said Trevor Perry, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, GoodCell. “We are grateful for a growing investor community that shares our passion for delivering on the promise of personalized healthcare. This latest capital infusion will help us achieve our next stage of development for our platform as we introduce new solutions to the market that change the way individuals, researchers, clinicians and pharmacists predict, identify and monitor disease risk.”

Inherited genetic predisposition to disease has become a fixture of research and clinical care. However, accumulated, or somatic, genetic variations that emerge as a result of age and environmental factors remain a relatively underexplored area of study. A growing body of research suggests that accumulated genetic variations that culminate in the expansion of detrimental variations and cause damage to DNA within blood cells – a phenomenon known as clonal hematopoiesis (CH) – may be linked to higher disease risk. Notably, research continues to bolster linkages between these somatic changes and the aberrant immune response associated with severe COVID-19 cases. These variations have also been correlated to a predisposition toward certain cancers and cardiovascular conditions.

GoodCell, which recently filed patent applications for methods of predicting susceptibility to infectious disease and related methods of treatment, uniquely measures and monitors both inherited and acquired genetic variations in blood stem cells and other nucleated cells in blood over time. Proceeds from this latest raise will support the ongoing buildout of the company’s proprietary data aggregation and analytics technology platform, which aims to decode our cells and harness their insights to advance population and personal health. The funding is also intended to support exploration and development of novel applications for these data streams to support emerging science as it relates to pathogen susceptibility, cell quality, autoimmune and inflammatory disease assessment and more.

Notably, the company’s latest filings informed the development of the GoodCell Pathogen Susceptibility Testing Platform and serve as the foundation for a recently launched three-stage study to investigate COVID-19 in collaboration with New York Blood Center. The resulting research, anticipated in the coming months, is expected to provide important data on COVID-19 risk factors that could ultimately inform the creation of a first-of-its-kind

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Papa John’s Raises More than $40 Thousand with the Shaq-a-Roni Pizza

Funding will support families and communities across Canada

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Papa John’s Canada announced the company raised more than $40 thousand through sales of the Shaq-a-Roni pizza for Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada to help address challenges posed by COVID-19 for kids and families, and to drive leadership development programs for kids in local communities.

“Thanks to the generosity of each customer who ordered a Shaq-a-Roni pizza and the support of our franchisees and team members, we raised more than $40 thousand to support a cause very close to my heart,” said Shaquille O’Neal, Papa John’s Board Member and franchise owner.

One dollar from every Shaq-a-Roni sold between June 29 and August 23 was donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.

“The money raised through the Shaq-a-Roni is going to incredible organizations that support causes like COVID-19 relief and the fight against racial injustice,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “As a Boys & Girls Clubs alum, I know the impact Papa John’s continued support is having on these kids and their families’ lives.”

“Papa John’s has been fortunate during the pandemic, as we have been able to deliver food to people who want or need to stay at home. It’s our privilege to both feed our communities and give back during these challenging times,” said Rob Lynch, president and CEO of Papa John’s. “Last year we launched The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community, aligned with our company values of People First, Do the Right Thing and Everyone Belongs. Especially in these times of need, we’re proud to continue our work towards equality, fairness, respect and opportunity for all through our ongoing partnerships like Boys & Girls Clubs.”

“It has been incredible to see the enthusiasm of Shaq, the Papa John’s Canada corporate team, and local franchisees as they bring this partnership north of the border,” said Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. “Our counterparts at Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been working with Shaq and Papa John’s for quite a while, so working with us was a natural fit—and more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for their generous donations and advocacy for our Clubs, and we look forward to building this partnership here in Canada.”

The Shaq-a-Roni, offered for a limited time, is an extra-large pizza made with Papa John’s fresh, never-frozen six ingredient dough, topped with extra cheese and extra pepperoni, then cut into Papa John’s largest slice size to-date. More information about the Shaq-a-Roni pizza, including the Papa John’s Foundation and its grantees, can be found at www.papajohns.com/foundation.

About Papa John’s
Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) opened its doors in 1984 with one goal in mind: BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.® Papa John’s believes that using high quality ingredients leads to superior-quality pizzas. Its original dough is made of only six ingredients and is fresh, never frozen. Papa John’s tops its pizzas with real cheese made

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Caliber Raises $2.2M for its Fully Remote and Personalized Fitness Coaching Platform

It’s been easy to gain the Covid-15 during the lockdown, and now that things are slowly opening back up, people are looking for new ways to shed the extra pounds that may have accumulated. Caliber is the fitness coaching platform that offers strength training, nutrition guidance, and a personal fitness coach that’s accessible via text and video messaging to keep you on track.  By pairing Caliber members with fitness experts, Caliber solves the biggest hurdle in getting into and staying in shape – accountability. Members can choose to pay monthly or through a 3 to 6-month subscription and coaches on the platform can supplement their income that comes from training in person.

AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Jared Cluff to learn more about the genesis for the business, how the public’s perception of working out outside of the gym completely flipped, and the company’s recent funding round.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

We raised $2.2M for our Seed round.  The round was led by Patricia Nakache at Trinity Ventures based in the Bay Area, with participation from Gaingels, based here in New York.

Tell us about the product or service that Caliber offers.

Caliber is the future of fitness coaching.  We are a comprehensive, fully remote fitness coaching platform that combines a strength-based training methodology with expert human coaching to help our members achieve their fitness goals regardless of their age, experience level, or access to equipment.

Coaching takes place via the Caliber app, where our members can access their personalized training and nutrition plan, interact 1-on-1 with their coach via text and video messaging, complete their workouts and record their body stats, develop healthy habits through weekly Caliber Lessons, and monitor their progress via their Caliber Strength Metrics.

What inspired the start of Caliber?

It’s bizarre, my cofounders and I all share the same story of walking into a gym for the first time as scrawny teenagers, witnessing a bunch of red-faced, grunting dudes stomping around and glaring at each other… and immediately hightailing it out of there.

Yet despite that formative and slightly terrifying first encounter with the gym, we’ve all grown to incorporate fitness – and strength training in particular – as a foundational part of our lives.  The research backs it up, too.  Training for strength is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise.  Recent studies have proven a link between muscle mass and lifespan and have shown that regular strength training can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80% or more.  In addition to improving your cardiovascular health and your longevity, strength training can have a dramatic impact on your mood.  We each can’t start our day without some form of workout, and we’re passionate about sharing the benefits of regular training to people who haven’t yet experienced these benefits firsthand.

At this stage in life for me and my cofounders, it’s not about the aesthetics of being fit, but rather about helping our members

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Future raises $24M Series B for its $150/mo workout coaching app amid at-home fitness boom

With thousands of gyms across the country forced to close during the pandemic, there’s been an unprecedented opportunity for fitness companies pitching an at-home solution. This moment has propelled public companies like Peloton to stratospheric highs — its market cap is about to eclipse $40 billion — but it has also pushed venture capitalists toward plenty of deals in the fitness space.

Future launched with a bold sell for consumers: a $150 per month subscription app that virtually teamed users with a real-life fitness coach. Leaning on the health-tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch, the startup has been aiming to build a platform that teams motivation, accountability and fitness insights.



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Close to 18 months after announcing a Series A led by Kleiner Perkins, the startup tells TechCrunch they’ve closed a $24 million Series B led by Trustbridge Partners, with Caffeinated Capital and Kleiner Perkins participating again.

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Amid the at-home fitness boom, Future has seen major growth of its own. CEO Rishi Mandal says that the company’s growth rate has tripled in recent months as thousands of gyms closed their doors. He says shelter-in-place has merely accelerated an ongoing shift toward tech-forward fitness services that can help busy users find time during their day to exercise.

The operating thesis of the company is that modern life is inherently crazy not just during pandemic times but in normal times,” Mandal says. “The idea of having a set routine is a complete fallacy.”

At $149 per month, Future isn’t aiming for mass market appeal the same way other digital fitness programs being produced by Peloton, Fitbit or Apple are. It seems to be more squarely aimed at users who could be a candidate for getting a personal trainer but might not be ready to make the investment or don’t need the guided instruction so much as they need general guidelines and some accountability.

As the startup closes on more funding, the team has big goals to expand its network. Mandal aims to have 1,000 coaches on the Future platform by this time next year. Reaching new scales could give the service a chance to tackle new challenges. Mandal sees opportunities for Future to expand its coaching services beyond fitness as it grows, “There’s a real opportunity to help people with all aspects of their health.”

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Fitness tech company JAXJOX raises $10M as it gets ready to ship AI-enabled workout system

The JAXJOX InteractiveStudio exercise system. (JAXJOX Photo)

JAXJOX, the Redmond, Wash.-based fitness technology company, has raised $10 million in a new funding round to help pay for the research and development of its signature InteractiveStudio workout equipment.

The Series A round included investors Dowgate Capital Ltd. and entrepreneur Nigel Wray, and brings total funding to $17 million for the 3-year-old company.

JAXJOX is getting set to release its InteractiveStudio smart gym, a home fitness system that includes digitally adjustable weights, AI-enabled connected tech built into the equipment, and live and on-demand classes.

With connected tech built into individual pieces of free-weight equipment, such as a smart kettlebell, users don’t have to stand a certain distance from a screen to have form and motion tracked.

“By monitoring performance metrics and using AI, we can give users a more holistic view of their health and provide recommendations on improving their wellbeing,” founder and CEO Stephen Owusu said in a news release. “We believe that, for users, tracking power generated while lifting will become as important as tracking your heart rate while running.”

The InteractiveStudio is available for pre-order on the JAXJOX website and retails for $2,199 with a $39 monthly subscription. The system will also sell as part of an exclusive retail partnership this fall with Best Buy.

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