On streets and in apartment complexes across China, weird new pods are suddenly popping up. They’re gyms – small, automated, staffless workout rooms where people can enter and pay for their sweaty sessions entirely with their phones.
Just like the shared bicycle services that came before, the startups behind these shared gyms are starting to pull in some serious investor cash.
Three such startups have trousered cash in December. The latest to get funding – earlier today – is Supermonkey, which netted a vague “several hundred million RMB,” at least US$30 million, according to a source speaking with Tech in Asia.
It works like this: find a Supermonkey location.
Like this one in a refurbished shipping container:
And then use WeChat on your phone, via the Supermonkey brand account, to get a one-time PIN to access the workout space.
That’s also how you book a time slot and pay for the session.
The equipment inside varies depending on the location.
This particular one has quite a lot of kit.
Supermonkey is hedging its bets by also running a series of more conventional gyms with trainers and support staff.
But those locations also avoid the onerous annual membership of conventional gyms by letting you book slots through WeChat.
Supermonkey and two rivals, Lefit and Misspao, have raised just over US$75 million this month to help them open more pods in new cities, reports China Money Network.
Supermonkey has 30 facilities in three Chinese cities, with the aim of reaching 100 locations in 2018.
Sequoia Capital China led the newest investment via its Jiansheng Sports Fund, while earlier investor Ventech China also contributed.
See more China action:
- China’s newest fad: workout pods in the middle of the street
- Shock $140m bike-share bankruptcy
- ‘Cashless’ China shoppers to spend $15t on their phones this year
This post China’s staffless gym startups are carb-loading on huge amounts of investor cash appeared first on Tech in Asia.
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