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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Some restaurants in Illinois are defying closure orders as ban on indoor service spreads to Chicago suburbs

Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent order to shut down indoor service at bars and restaurants in northwest Illinois due to the coronavirus, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill near Rockford was among those that stayed open.



Nick Fosberg standing in front of a computer: Nick Fosberg, owner of Fozzy's Bar & Grill, speaks with customers on Oct. 20, 2020, in Loves Park, near Rockford. "We're sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it," he said. "We're getting a ton of support. I'm not closing."


© Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Nick Fosberg, owner of Fozzy’s Bar & Grill, speaks with customers on Oct. 20, 2020, in Loves Park, near Rockford. “We’re sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it,” he said. “We’re getting a ton of support. I’m not closing.”

Owner Nick Fosberg said he had to leave the doors open to keep his employees working, pay his bills and stay in business. He says the workers wear masks, and customers wear masks on their way in and out, while tables are spaced 6 feet apart, at 25% capacity.

“We’re sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it,” he said. “We’re getting a ton of support. People are happy someone finally stood up and said, ‘I’m not closing.’”

The Oct. 3 closure order covering the northwest region of Illinois has the same restrictions coming Friday to DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties. Four regions of the state have exceeded 8% rate for positive COVID tests, which is one of the state-imposed thresholds for such restrictions, and the rest are trending in that direction.



a car parked in front of a building: Two women enter Fozzy's Bar & Grill in Loves Park near Rockford.


© Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Two women enter Fozzy’s Bar & Grill in Loves Park near Rockford.

Now other restaurant owners are declaring they, too, will stay open. The Facebook page of Lockport Stagecoach in Will County, a western-style saloon, states that it will remain open for indoor dining and stand by more than 30 employees who depend on the restaurant for their livelihoods.

“We are NOT trying to be rebellious or are anti-masks, anti-people’s health or any of the other nonsense,” the post stated. “This is a decision out of survival.”

Ki’s Steak and Seafood in west suburban Glendale Heights also declared its independence from “DICTATOR PRITZKER.”

“We are standing up for our freedom and WE WILL STAY OPEN!” Ki’s Facebook page announced. “We have been in business for 80+ years and no one is going to tell us we can’t live out the American dream.”

In Winnebago County, where Rockford is located, the closure orders are prompting a showdown between local businesses and health officials. The local health department issued closure orders to Fozzy’s and to two other bar/restaurants in Loves Park, and issued more than 30 other orders warning businesses they weren’t following the coronavirus regulations.



a person sitting in a chair in a room: Jim McQuinn and his dog, Bella, hang out in the bar at Fozzy's Bar & Grill on Oct. 20, 2020 near Rockford. "I'm glad to be out socializing. It's my first time in a bar since January," McQuinn said.


© Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Jim McQuinn and his dog, Bella, hang out in the bar at Fozzy’s Bar & Grill on Oct. 20, 2020 near Rockford. “I’m glad to be out socializing. It’s my first time in a bar since January,” McQuinn said.

While no one source drove the recent rise in positivity rate in the region, county Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell said, bars and restaurants were “disproportionately impacted.”

“It is extremely frustrating that

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How Effective Will Uber South Africa’s New Medicine Delivery Service Actually Be?


Why Global Citizens Should Care

Global Citizen campaigns on the UN Global Goals, including Goal 3 for good health and well-being, which is aimed at promoting access to quality health care for all people. This goal cannot be achieved if medication and health care remains out of reach for so many around the world. Join us and take action on this issue here. 

Uber South Africa recently announced a partnership with Medicare, a health care and pharmacy group, to launch the delivery of over-the-counter medication using the Uber Eats app. 

But as groundbreaking as this announcement may sound, the service may well leave a lot of South Africans out of the picture. 

Because of the partnership, South Africans can now order schedule 1 and 2 medicines (meaning medication that is available for purchase without a prescription) for delivery to their door. This comes after the success that Uber Eats has had with its grocery delivery service that was launched during the national COVID-19 lockdown.  

Medicare CEO Tim Knapp went on to say in a statement that the partnership is just the beginning and the company would continue to find ways to prioritise convenience. “We strongly believe in reinventing pharmacy, and thanks to this partnership with Uber Eats this is made possible,” he said. 

Access to medicine is an obstacle for many South Africans. While the government has worked to make essential medicines more affordable, the poorest citizens live the furthest away from health care facilities. This means that a lot of their time and money is spent on transport to get to clinics and pharmacies, or they simply cannot afford the transport in the first place. 

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While safe access to medication is crucial in a time when South Africans have been encouraged to limit their movements, the introduction of this new delivery service may not make that big of a difference in most South Africans’ lives. Here’s why: 

Medicine delivery services already exists

The delivery of medicine is not a new concept in South Africa. Retail pharmacy giants Clicks and Dischem have been delivering medicine long before the pandemic. The difference is that both pharmacies administer prescribed chronic medication for delivery rather than the over-the-counter medicine Uber Eats will be looking to provide. 

Clicks and Dischem also work to provide patients with reminders that their medication will be delivered at a certain date or that they require a new prescription. 

In contrast, the purpose of the Uber Eats service is for South Africans to order medicine on the app as and when they need it, which works within the context of the company whose main service is to deliver food to people as and when they are hungry. 

Uber Eats is also not the first food delivery app to offer the service in South Africa. Mr Delivery teamed up with retail grocery store Checkers earlier this year to offer the delivery of medicine from

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Australia prioritizes air service to 3 countries

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister said on Thursday his government was giving priority to reopening air services to Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had discussed reopening air routes with the leaders of all three countries.

He described Japan and South Korea as “two countries that have done particularly well” in dealing with the pandemic.

“There are a number of countries we’re looking at to see what we can do probably next year. We’re not going to rush into this,” Morrison said.


The three Asian countries “are my current priorities in how we would pursue that,” he added.

Australia will allow travelers from neighboring New Zealand to arrive without hotel quarantine from Friday. New Zealand has eradicated community transmission of COVID-19.

But New Zealand will continue to insist travelers from Australia quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

Australia reported only 12 new cases of community transmission of the virus on Thursday. Australia’s most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, reported six each.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— French President Macron sets curfew, restores state of emergency

— Spain 1st European Union nation to reach 900,000 virus cases

— World Bank OKs $12B for coronavirus vaccines, tests

— Russian President Vladimir Putin announces regulatory approval for a second coronavirus vaccine after early-stage studies.

— Scientists say among 21 developed countries at start of the coronavirus pandemic, those with early lockdowns, solid national health systems avoided more deaths.

— Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is back in Italy after testing positive for the coronavirus in Portugal.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 110 new cases of the coronavirus as a hospital in Busan emerged as the country’s latest cluster of infections.

The numbers released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Thursday brought the national caseload to 24,988, including 439 deaths.

Half of the new cases were reported from Busan, a southern port city where at least 54 infections were tied to a hospital for the elderly.

More than 40 cases were reported from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health workers have struggled to track infections tied to various places and groups, including hospitals, churches, schools and workers.

The steady rise in infections is a cause of concern in a country that has just lowered it social distancing measures, allowing high-risk venues like nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and spectators to return to professional sports.

Health officials are planning to test 160,000 employees at hospitals, nursing homes and welfare centers for senior citizens in Seoul and nearby areas in part of efforts to prevent outbreaks at these facilities.

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico reported Wednesday that a total of 1,744 health-care workers have died so far of COVID-19, and another 164 are suspected to have died of it but their test results are still pending.

The number

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