Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Kleiner Perkins’ iFund Invests in Android Fitness App Company

The mobile fitness app maker WorkSmart Labs announced today it had raised a seed round of investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

What seems particularly striking about the investment is that WorkSmart makes Android fitness apps. As far as I can see, WorkSmart doesn’t have a single iPhone app out; it lists five Android products on its Web site, including two paid apps: Noom Weight Loss, CardioTrainer, Calorific, CardioTrainer Pro and Race Against Yourself.

While iFund investments aren’t restricted to Apple’s iOS platform, that’s quite literally the inspiration for Kleiner Perkins’ dedicated fund — “ideas and products that build upon the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.”

Update: At an iFund event this evening, Matt Murphy of Kleiner Perkins noted that WorkSmart had submitted its first iOS app to Apple last Friday, so it will not be Android-only for long. He said Kleiner had been looking for a mobile health investment and was impressed by WorkSmart’s approach and their ex-Googler chops, no matter what platform they were focused on.

New York City-based WorkSmart counts six million downloads to date, up from four million this January. The company, which was founded in 2007, said it was previously supported by angel funding from “numerous Googlers” and unnamed Korean investors.

WorkSmart apps are well-loved; the New York Times app reviewer Bob Tedeschi said CardioTrainer is one of the rare examples of an Android app beating out the iPhone competition.

WorkSmart ties into the social fitness trend that I’ve written about a few times — where friends help friends work out by giving virtual encouragement and accountability. WorkSmart co-founder and CTO Artem Petakov said this week at a conference that more than 150,000 of his apps’ users post their workout data to Facebook, and those posts usually get at least two comments.

Petakov also said, if I’m reading the report right, that 90 percent of WorkSmart usage is through mobile devices.

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