Weight Watchers acquires weight loss selfie startup Weilos

By Aditi Pai
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WeilosWeight Watchers has acquired Weilos, which offers users a picture taking app to document weight loss through selfies, according to  Weilos is not to be confused with Weight Watchers other acquisition, Wello.

Weilos' only known investor is the startup incubator Y Combinator.

TechCrunch's sources said that Weight Watchers bought Weilos for a price in the "single-digit millions" and later that day, a Weight Watchers spokesperson confirmed this news to TechCrunch and said the acquisition would help Weight Watchers "accelerate the product and technology development of the social networking and community capabilities that Weight Watchers members are looking for".

Weilos, which debuted at Y Combinator’s Summer 2013 Demo Day, originally offered users a peer-to-peer network that connected people who were weight loss success stories to those who were just beginning their journey, or had tried to lose weight before without reaching their goals. The now defunct Weilos peer-to-peer coaching service cost $19, $39 or $59 per month depending on the coach. 

In January 2014, Weilos pivoted and made their app free. Weilos Founder Ray Wu told Babyforyou.net.ua at the time that he understands there are many free diet and fitness apps out there, but he’s confident that Weilos will provide a “gold standard” for user experience. And that not many other apps are trying to provide the social aspect that Weilos has. In addition to posting photos of themselves within the app, users can also track nutrition and post questions to the Weilos community.

Last year, Weight Watchers acquired another weight loss-focused digital health startup, called Wello. Wello, a Rock Health company, launched in July 2012. That company connected people to professional trainers via two-way video messaging. Users could choose a trainer or discipline of their choice.

During a Weight Watchers' quarterly conference call with analysts last year, Weight Watchers CEO Jim Chambers and CTO Dan Crowe explained that the Wello acquisition was an important component of the company’s strategy to compete in an increasingly digital weight loss market.

“We have an ambitious technology vision,” Crowe said at the time. “We will become a 21st-century technology organization, engineered for the digital era, whose innovative technology fundamentally improves the way people manage their weight, health and wellness. We will be agile service-oriented, data-driven, cloud-enabled and efficient. We will be a model for digital technology in the markets in which we compete and we will be a magnet for talented innovators both, inside and outside the company.”

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