MyYogaTeacher closed on $3 million in seed funding to tap into the in-home fitness industry that gained traction in the past year.
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The seed round was led by TSVC with participation from Leonis Investissement, Weekend Fund, All Access Fund and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments.
Jitendra Gupta, co-founder of restaurant loyalty program provider Punchh — which was sold to PAR Technology for $500 million in April — founded the Cupertino, California-based company in 2018 to provide on-demand group and one-on-one yoga lessons taught by expert instructors.
“It started with Punchh, where the job was often stressful,” Gupta told Crunchbase News. “People would be talking to me about their day, and I would be a zombie. Yoga helped me be present, but I needed a live teacher for that human connection.”
MyYogaTeacher’s app streams interactive lessons directly to students in the U.S. from more than 120 experienced teachers in India. Nearly every type of yoga is offered, as well as personal classes where a long-term relationship can be built with a teacher, while also tracking progress.
Unlimited group classes start at $29 per month, while one-on-one sessions are available for $20 each with monthly packages available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2018 that more than 35 million Americans practice yoga.
The funding comes as MyYogaTeacher experienced massive membership growth that drove a 15x increase in revenue over the last year, Gupta said. He estimates that in addition to the 35 million that practice yoga, there is opportunity to reach another 40 million Americans with chronic neck and back pain, as well as those who may have tried a studio, but found it to be too awkward or embarrassing.
“We’ve doubled our team in the last five months,” Gupta said. “There is a massive opportunity to reach people with that human connection, and the new funding will help us execute and build out that vision.”
He expects to triple his growth metrics by the end of the year and begin to focus on key segments of potential customers, including those that don’t fit into the studio model, those seeking relief and recovery from pain, and those who take special care to practice with experts.
MyYogaTeacher investor Ryan Hoover, founder of Weekend Fund is one customer who falls into that third category. Weekend Fund invests in early-stage companies in the consumer and B2B industries that also are capitalizing on behavior shifts or technology that enables something new.
Hoover used to have a gym membership, but when it closed during the global pandemic, he turned to his Tonal and yoga, believing that in-home fitness is the future, but won’t work without a human aspect.
“MyYogaTeacher is coming at a time when the world has taken a turn, and we are seeing a huge shift to at-home fitness,” he said in an interview. “You can automate fitness with machine vision, but that might get you part of the way there. When working with my yoga teacher, I feel a sense of accountability to show up, and over time, she has come to know how my body is and comes in with questions and ideas of what I should do in my next sessions.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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