European fitness app Freeletics raises funds to bring brand to US, founders sell stakes to FitLab

By Jonah Comstock
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European online fitness startup has raised a new round of funding from US investors that will bring the company deeper into the US market. Courtside Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures (created by the LA Dodgers), Causeway Media Partners, JAZZ Venture Partners, and ward.ventures contributed to the round. The amount of the investment wasn’t disclosed.

This is the first round of funding for Freeletics, which has been bootstrapped since 2013. The company’s flagship app is called Freeletics Bodyweight, which uses AI to create personalized, custom fitness training plans for users.

“These investors combine a deep understanding of the fitness industry, extensive expertise in building high-growth technology and media companies, and highly strategic networks,” CEO Daniel Sobhani said in a statement. “And, as importantly, they share the Freeletics vision. We are looking forward to great achievements ahead with our new partners.”

Additionally, venture studio FitLab will recapitalize the company and provide growth capital. FitLab has bought the controlling majority of shares from the company’s three founders, Joshua Cornelius, Mehmet Yilmaz, and Andrej Matijczak. The three have been away from the day-to-day management of the company for some time, and will exit entirely with this deal.

“We are proud of what we brought to life and excited to have found such a strong fit for Freeletics,” the three said in a statement. “We are happy to leave the company in very capable hands and know that it will continue to succeed and grow with its outstanding team and this strong group of investors behind it. We look forward to seeing the rest of the Freeletics story unfold. We know this company is destined for amazing things.”

Freeletics began as a fitness app company in 2013, but it has expanded to include a clothing line and real-world training spots. The company currently boasts 120 employees and 29 million users. In addition to Freeletics Bodyweight, the company offers three other apps: Freeletics Running, Freeletics Gym, and Freeletics Nutrition.

The investors have a number of ties to major brands in the US market. FitLab was founded by veterans from Nike, while the other investors have affiliations with US sports teams including the San Francisco 49ers, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Mark Wan from Causeway and John Spinale from JAZZ will join the company’s board.

“We believe the success of Freeletics thus far is just the beginning. This is a best-in-class team and product in a large, rapidly growing market. Freeletics is poised to significantly increase penetration in its core markets and accelerate international expansion, and our investor group will work closely with Daniel and his team to support these efforts,” Wan said in a statement.

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