Just a year after opening its web-based doors, Chicago-based Retrofit announced today the raising of $8 million in venture capital funds. The fund raising was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), and brings the company to a total of $10.7 million in Series A funds. Other investors include Correlation Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, New World Ventures, and I2A Fund. It’s a move that will allow one of the most tech-minded brands in weight loss to grow to serve a broader clientele.
“DFJ is a great backer to have,” commented Jonathan George, former CEO of Boxcar. “Their resources and knowledge will help turn Retrofit into an even bigger winner than they already are. From the looks of this, it’s a growth round that will help propel them into the future. These type of rounds don’t happen without significant traction.”
The move comes in time for Retrofit to make a major play when the January new-year diet season kicks off. Today’s announcement comes in hand with the release of their Retrofit My Company contest, which will position the brand in a corporate environment.
The company will give away $300,000 worth of complimentary services to the company that wins. According to Retrofit, “A high profile panel of judges chooses the company and up to 100 employees at that company will get their own expert weight loss teams, fun wireless devices, and full Retrofit program that is helping more than 90% of clients lose weight.”
CEO Jeff Hyman pointed out in a press release that companies have $1500 per year in additional health care expenses for each overweight or obese employee. It’s long been reported that a healthier staff is a happier and more productive staff, not to mention one that saves the company money.
Mohanjit Jolly, the managing director for DFJ who will now sit on Retrofit’s board, said “The office is a great place to drive participation in the Retrofit program, and it can have a profound impact on reducing health care costs for corporate America. I’ve experienced the power of this program first-hand in my own office, as a couple of my colleagues have joined the program and we support each other through healthy competition.”
To enter, companies need only submit their name, company name, contact information, and provide a 500-word answer for why their company is most deserving. A panel of judges, including the CEOs of Nautilus and the Levy Organization, will select the winning company in December.
Earlier this year, Retrofit announced that retired NFL star Reggie L. Smith had joined its team as VP of business development, with a goal of growing the brand to a more national platform.
“While a new funding is always a reason for a celebration, Retrofit should be cautious about new hires and culture fits,” warned George. “When companies go into growth mode — and that’s exactly what this Series A is signaling – it’s easy to lose sight of the nimble, entrepreneurial DNA that leaders infused in their culture from the start.”
The CEO boasts that nearly all of the company’s clients are actively losing weight on the personalized, high-tech weight loss approach. “Today over 90% of our clients are losing weight,” said Retrofit Founder Jeff Hyman. “We can do even better. This additional financing gives our development and wellness teams the backing to further push the boundaries of what is possible in long-term sustainable weight loss. We are giving private lessons in mastering your weight and helping people change their behavior for life. That’s a great investment.”
Clients invest in a one-year program to lose 10 or 15 percent of their total body weight, and then work with a dedicated team of nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and behavior health experts. Via tech tools like Skype calls, FitBit tracking, and Withings scales, clients are closely monitored and held accountable to themselves and their team to ensure they’re getting the best fitness, nutrition, and behavior guidance possible.