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MyFitnessPal: the social startup that helps users get healthy and lose weight. Lots of it.

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.

Expan­sion plans 

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.”

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