2014/05/19 by lingdecklee
[The following post appeared first on TechView Asia.]
Founded in 2012 by Alice Chen and Ming-Yuan Xie, iFit started out as simply a Facebook fan page that shared tips and cute illustrations for people who want to lose weight the healthy way. In just over a year, iFit has attracted more than 500,000 members and launched their e-commerce site selling anything from low-cal healthy snack to exercise equipment. The company has just received its first round funding of about US$900,000 from Cherubic Ventures. iFit will use this capital injection to expand beyond content and e-commerce to build a premium fitness social network in Asia.
Rather few VCs in Taiwan are investing in early-stage Internet companies. However, given iFit’s success and exposure in the country, the company had a relatively smooth fundraising experience and received more than one investment offers. The startup ultimately chose to take investment from Cherubic Ventures, an early-stage VC firm that focuses on investing in Internet startups, with over 40 portfolio companies across Greater China and Silicon Valley. “We feel that Cherubic Ventures can provide us more than just capital, but also strategy and expertise that can steer us in the right direction and help us become a global company,” Said the founders.
iFit’s success stems from its original content and founder Alice’s (see above picture) deep understanding of its core customers. Its unique illustration-style content is extremely viral and has helped iFit quickly acquire a huge community of loyal customers. In additional to creating engaging content, the two founders have a knack for developing hit products that sell like hot cakes. As a result, in just a few months and with just a few products, iFit’s e-commerce business hit US$2,000,000. Its goal for 2014 is to deliver US$3,500,000 of revenues and grow to 2,000,000 registered members.
In Taiwan, iFit has established itself as the premium fitness community and is already working with some fitness-related companies to develop its own brand of fitness products. Even international wearable technology companies have reached out to iFit and expressed interests to become partners. The two founders are confident about their ability to develop innovative wearable products that consumers actually want. “All of our product ideas are coming straight from our members. We have deep consumer insight of what customers are looking for to help them keep a healthy lifestyle,” Said Alice.
In addition to Taiwan, iFit has also found success in another South East Asia country – Malaysia. Without any marketing and advertising, iFit has more than 20,000+ Malaysian registered members, who are big fans of iFit’s home exercise equipment as it’s a safer alternative than going to the gym. iFit is planning to set up its first oversea branch in Malaysia as early as the end of 2014.
Let’s keep an eye out for this one, shall we?