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ClassPass, the global fitness and health marketplace and darling of the wellness world, has just announced the close of a US$ 285 million Series E investment, pushing their valuation above the US$1 billion mark to make it officially a tech “unicorn,” the coveted moniker for ambitious Silicon Valley founders. The round attracted funding from major investment firms such as L Catterton, Apak Digital and Temasek, and follows the company’s expansion into 28 countries worldwide. This news is indicative of the unstoppable growth of the fitness and wellness industry, propped up by the growth of health-conscious consumers, a demographic that is growing especially quickly here in Asia.
ClassPass has just closed their latest Series E round of funding with US$285 million, which pushes their total valuation above the US$1 billion mark to be considered a “unicorn” in the startup world. This latest wave of investment attracted big institutional names including L Catterton, Apak Digital and Temasek, and will enable the company to continue rapidly scaling up their fitness class booking platform across the world. As a part of the investment, the Managing Partners of both L Catterton’s Flagship Fund and Apax Digital will be joining the company’s Board of Directors.
“We are motivated by the impact we’ve had on members and partners, including 100 million hours of workouts that have already been booked. This investment is a significant milestone that will further our mission to help people stay active and spend their time meaningfully,” says Founder and Executive Chairman Payal Kadakia.
Founded in 2013, fitness startup ClassPass made a name for itself by helping fill empty slots in classes of alternative gyms and studios with their subscription based system. In the last 18 months, riding on the ever growing wellness and fitness global trend, the startup has managed to expand their operations from just 4 to 28 countries (in Hong Kong, they acquired competitor GuavaPass last year), with 650 employees spanning across 5 continents. It now boasts over 30,000 boutique studio, gym and wellness provider partners all over the globe.
This news reflects the growth of the health, fitness and wellness trend that has snowballed into a trillion dollar industry in recent years, thanks to consumers who are now more health-conscious than ever before. Much of the industry’s growth has been propped up by the push from Asia, the region home to the fastest-growing of all wellness markets, according to the Global Wellness Institute’s 2018 report. Led by China and India, the sales within the fitness and wellness world have skyrocketed by 30% between 2007 and 2017. Currently, over 104 million Chinese mobile users have at least one fitness app on their phones, testament to the massive scale of interest towards health and wellbeing, much of it driven by the country’s enlarging middle-class.
With Asia’s health-conscious middle-class population set for continued growth, popularity of companies such as ClassPass is likely to stay. Running on a similar business model, the on-demand booking fitness app Switch & Co founded in 2017 in Dubai has since launched in Hong Kong, and has become increasingly popular among millennial and Gen Z consumers.
Lead image courtesy of City Nomads.