A Helsinki & New York based startup, which helps people try out new sports and aims to make fitness fun, plans to launch its service in New York in September thanks to an injection of investor funding.
SportSetter, which describes itself as a wellness social platform with a discoveries tool, is spending the 400,000 euros on service technology, securing more partnerships and acquiring users and customers.
Matching people with sports and services is a growth industry, says co-founder Niko Karstikko.
— People are spending more time and money on fitness and the array of activities is going through the roof, he told to Good News from Finland.
— You have over 30 different types of yoga in the Helsinki metropolitan area alone. You don’t always know what you want to do. We build a fitness profile on line and match you to locally relevant activities, facilities, services and products. You don’t have to commit before you find something you are interested in.
— We help you make those discoveries through your friends and find associations with your friends through their fitness.
SportSetter is a free product with a premium subscription model. The idea was born 17 months ago in March 2012. The pilot went live in May 2012 and January saw the first paying customers.
In March came the funding from a Central European angel investor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Users sign up online to the service and fill in the types of activities they’re interested in. For about 30 euros a month, SportSetter provides you with four passes to things that interest you, valued at over 150 euros on average in retail terms.
The company is targeting metropolitan cities with populations of over one million people. In Helsinki it has over 50 partnerships, and offers over 300 activities in total.
Karstikko says it has recently closed two massive US partnerships with household brands but cannot disclose details yet.
SportSetter currently has four staff members in Helsinki, where the IT development takes place, and four in New York but hopes to recruit as the momentum grows.
Karstikko says Aalto University in Finland has been an integral part of SportSetter’s success and cites a number of elements, which makes the Helsinki region a magnet for entrepreneurs.
— Finland has the infrastructure and the knowledge, he says. It has the university resources, governmental innovation funding opportunities such as Tekes, an increasingly positive entrepreneurial spirit, which is very prevalent, and the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, which is one of the largest start-up communities in Europe.
Article is published in cooperation with Good News from Finland.