An Ottawa-based startup dedicated to changing how people exercise announced Monday it has secured $2.5 million in its first round of seed funding.
“It’s pretty exciting for us,” said Gymtrack co-founder and co-CEO Lee Silverstone, who has been working full-time at finding investors for the last six months.
He and his business partner Pablo Srugo, both 23, had never gone this route before, either at Gymtrack or the first company they started after graduating from university in 2013.
Mr. Silverstone said they were lucky to have friends and family who believed in the company, which produces software to help plan and track gym workouts, and helped get it off the ground.
Being accepted into San Francisco-based accelerator 500 Startups was also huge, said Mr. Silverstone.
“That was a great signal for us and gave a lot of people a lot of faith in what we were working on,” he said.
Venture capital firms White Star Capital and Real Ventures led this round of investment, with additional support from 500 Startups and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
“Gymtrack’s unique technology allows gyms to create deeper relationships with their clients, while users get more insight into their progress and health. We are excited to be backing Lee, Pablo and their team, and to continue tracking our workouts with Gymtrack,” White Star Capital partner Jean-François Marcoux said in a statement.
Mr. Silverstone said Gymtrack exceeded its goal of $1.75 million and will use the money to hire more staff and continue to roll out its product.
Who those new additions to the payroll will be and where the product is going are still under wraps, he said.
Mr. Silverstone said Gymtrack currently has 20 employees and four contractors, with about 75 per cent of them being only a year removed from university.
“People like that work their butts off,” he said. “They are super fun, really willing to learn, have a lot of energy, and you’re always trying new things and it’s really, really cool. But at some point, you really need that kind of experience to be able to keep everything in check and rely on those people.”
That’s where the new hires will come in. Mr. Silverstone said they are still in the process of leaving their current positions and moving to Ottawa to work at Gymtrack’s new office on the corner of Bank and Somerset streets.
The new staffers are “people with 20 years experience scaling apps and working on consumer products, really amazing skill sets,” he said.
For now, Gymtrack software is available at fitness centres at Algonquin College and the Soloway Jewish Community Centre, as well as one Greco Lean and Fit location. Mr. Silverstone said the company is working with some “massive enterprise clients” and more partnerships are expected to be announced later this spring.
“When you start working with industry leaders and people really see what you’re doing, it’s a huge advantage to the company and providing so much value,” said Mr. Silverstone. “It’s when you know you’re doing something right. Especially in the early stages, it’s awesome to get that kind of traction.”