With health and fitness trackers being the new buzzword in technology, the Indian market has seen the entry of global brands like FitBit and Jawbone followed by the Apple Watch. But homegrown player Goqii is not worried if you believe the company’s founder and CEO Vishal Gondal, who has global ambitions.
Goqii’s bands, which start at Rs 2,399, come with options of 3, 6,12 months training plans with real-life health coaches providing offline support. According to Gondal, it’s these health plans and interactions with trainers which make them different from the rest of the players in the market.
“We are the market leaders right now in India. That’s because it is well proven that the fitness band in itself is of no use, most people buy it and chuck it off in a matter of weeks and months. The reason Goqii is selling is not because of our band or hardware but because of our trainers. Our model right from the beginning was that it is not about the data, but how you treat that data, how you motivate with the data,” says Gondal in an interaction with IndianExpress.com
While he acknowledges that other companies are offering something similar, he claims Goqii has a 90 per cent share. It should be noted that Micromax’s YU Televentures launched its YU Fit band which was tied up with the HealthifyMe app that offers something similar, though customers have to purchase the health plan separately.
“Clearly there will be other companies trying to copy us, but the original remains the original. Forget YUFit, you’ll see a lot of brands coming up with similar models,” says Gondal.
While Goqii is not giving out any numbers on users just yet, it has managed to raise $13.4 million in Series ‘A’ funding recently. The investment was led by global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with participation from Cheetah Mobile Inc, among others.
Gondal says this funding will help them scale up operations and go global. “We are launching in the US. Our beta is over, and we will do the commercial launch in the next three months. In the US, it will be more health plans, band not so much. In China, we are planning a beta launch in the next six months,” says the Goqii CEO.
The advantage that Goqii claims to have is that it can sync with other health-trackers too. For instance, the Goqii app directly connects to the all running apps, like RunKeeper, Strava, Garmin, MapMyRun, etc. The company also has specialised programmes to train people for marathons. By syncing with other apps, trackers, Goqii puts the focus on data, rather than the hardware.
“We opened up our platform and we’ve connected to even FitBit. In fact, with the iPhone, you don’t even need a fitness band to connect. We believe hardware is going to be irrelevant soon. Your phone will end up being the health-tracker, and at that point of time, you need a service like Goqii,” says Gondal.
For Goqii, the idea is to remain relevant even if people aren’t using their band by connecting them to real-life trainer. “We are saying that the more people have health data, the more confused they are and the more help they need,” says the CEO.