The average social media manager can probably only dream of such a happening. After bootstrapping for eight long years, you suddenly bag $18 million from top-end investors in your fist funding round. But for weight loss and fitness social platform MyFitnessPal, this is no daydream. It really has walked away with said sum, courtesy of an investment round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with participation from Accel Partners.
Weight loss by social media
Intrigued social media managers will doubtless like to know how this bounty was bestowed upon a firm that had funded itself for the best part of a decade. There’s a clue in the number of registered users: 40 million, and climbing at a rate of 1.5 million a month. And there’s another clue in the amount of weight they’ve lost between them: 100 million pounds so far. That’s about the same as 200+ Statues of Liberty or 5,000 elephants.
Co-founder Mike Lee, who launched MyFitnessPal with his brother Albert back in 2005, said that funding was becoming a necessity because their to-do list of features they want to include on the platform has been expanding well beyond their ability to keep up with it (and ideas kept dropping off the ever-expanding list, too). The new cash injection will let them grow the team and realize those new features.
The social startup also has plans to extend its reach internationally and, for this venture at least, that means more than translating the app and the website into different languages. Because users share their calorie tracking and diet details with friends, it also means support of different cuisines and units of measurement. That, as any social media manager could testify, takes time and money.
Lee is aware that other social health and calorie services have popped up recently. MyFitnessPal is one of the few to offer an Application Programming Interface to integrate it with other services.
As Lee put it, “Clearly there’s this explosion of activity happening around the quantified self. The amount of data that we will have about our personal health is only going to grow…We really want to advance our ability to help users make meaning from all this data. We really want to analyze the data to help our users be successful.”