Q&A with Endomondo co-founder Mette Lykke about integrating social media with fitness tracking and the company’s recent $2.3 million funding round
Endomondo offers a social mobile sports and exercise app that integrates fitness tracking and social networking. The Copenhagen–based company was founded in 2007 and recently raised $2.3 million in new funding.
SUB: Please explain what Endomondo is, and the value proposition you offer to consumers.
Lykke: Endomondo is a fitness community that is based on tracking of sports with a mobile phone. In combination, the mobile app and the website makes fitness more fun and motivates more people to become fit.
SUB: How does the technology behind Endomondo work?
Lykke: You bring your mobile when running, walking, biking or doing any other distance-based sport. Open our app and press Start. We will then track everything in real-time, e.g., distance, duration, average speed, calories etc. You can also see the route while exercising and easily find your way back if you get lost. While out there, a voice will give you audio updates on your performance and tell you how fast you’ve covered the latest mile or kilometer, for example.
With the social features, friends can follow you live and send you pep talks while you’re out. They simply type in a short message which is then read aloud to you a few seconds later as a pep talk—or trash talk. Other social features include ability to race against a friend’s best time on a given distance or you can try to beat the local route champion on a specific route.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Lykke: It’s a competitive space and there are a number of other tracking apps but none of them have our focus on how the social element makes sports more fun.
SUB: What do you offer that differentiates Endomondo from your competitors or from companies with similar offerings?
Lykke: Endomondo is the only app that works with any smart phone. For example others only work on iPhone or Android devices. Also Endomondo is the only site offering the social features as mentioned above.
SUB: Does the service integrate with Facebook and other social networks?
Lykke: Yes Endomondo integrates with Twitter and Facebook so you can choose to automatically post to either.
SUB: What is Endomondo’s business model? Do you run ads or is there a charge for the app/service?
Lykke: Endomondo does have a PRO version available for purchase, which is one way that we make money along with gear that you can buy on the Endomondo site. The main business model is corporate challenges that can be branded for the corporation or organization and white labeled. Endomondo sets up a social site for the company or organization. One example is Kimberly Clark in Wisconsin that did a Bike to Work event. The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and Kimberly Clark teamed up to offer a free biking campaign to help get people involved in a more healthy and active lifestyle.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind Endomondo?
Lykke: A vision of making fitness more fun and thereby motivate more people to become fit. The founders are all passionate about sports and they got together one day and talked about they wished there was something that they could use to track their activity but also to include their friends in the fun, this spawned the idea for Endomondo.
SUB: When was the company founded, and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Lykke: Founded in November 2007. The first alpha version of the website was released in August/September 2008. We just reached the 5 million downloads milestone.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building Endomondo?
Lykke: No specific obstacles, but it has taken longer than expected.
SUB: You recently raised $2.3 million in new funding—how do you plan to use the funds?
Lykke: Staffing up on our development team and expanding to open an office in San Francisco.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise new funding?
Lykke: It’s crucial to keep growing fast and there’s a certain sense of urgency right now since the market is growing and hot right now with competition.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
SUB: What big goals do you have for Endomondo over the next year or so?
Lykke: The goal is to keep growing the user base exponentially, to increase retention and to become profitable.
Endomondo – www.endomondo.com