MyFitnessPal acquires health coaching startup Sessions

The acquisition will allow MyFitnessPal to offer one-on-one coaching to its 50M users

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
February 19, 2014
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Startups looking for ways to bridge the divide between our digital lives and our physical lives (I’ve had “Let’s Get Physical” stuck in my head for over a week now) are increasingly turning to that most basic of all components: other people. It turns out, you’re more likely to follow through with new dietary changes and exercise regimens if you have someone else holding you accountable. That’s the whole thesis undergirding MyFitnessPal, which lets users connect with other users to push one another along.

MyFitnessPal announced Wednesday that it has acquired Sessions, a Rock Health incubated startup that pairs users with health and fitness coaches to make the health changes they want to happen. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Unlike other health and fitness startups, Sessions is approaching the more challenging area of making real life changes, and the Sessions program is divided into three parts: preparation, change, and maintenance. So it’s not just about working out or dieting. Users are paired up with coaches (who may have expertise in psychology, nutrition, or exercise psychology) who guide them through the process of changing their daily habits and lifestyles in accordance with their health goals. It’s clearly a more personalized, accessible approach to health and wellness than listening to the mantra “eat right, exercise, and always take the stairs instead of the elevator” on repeat.

The program costs anywhere from $69 to $199 a month, and, depending on the type of package, comes with unlimited email support, interactive lessons, activity assessments, and monthly reviews. A full 90% of users end up sticking with the program to completion.

Sessions launched last November and has raised under $1 million from Rock Health, SV Angel, Blackbird Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Joshua Kushner.

“Our members have told us they want expert advice and accountability. Acquiring Sessions gives us a team that's been thinking about coaching for years to help us jumpstart our own coaching initiatives,” said MyFitnessPal co-founder Mike Lee, in a statement. “We’re excited about combining MyFitnessPal’s wide reach with Sessions’ insights to coach our users to build healthy habits at scale.”

MyFitnessPal now has 50 million members (flashing my membership card, because at any given time I’m trying to lose 10 pounds) and recently saw an influx of new users, with downloads tripling in the first week of January compared with a normal week. MyFitnessPal has 40 API partners, including partner integrations with Fitbit, Jawbone, and Withings.

The entire Sessions team, including co-founders Nick Crocker and Ben Hartney, will join MyFitnessPal.


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