Entrepreneur turned investor Vishal Gondal has once again turned the tables for his love of fitness. The man who sold Indiagames to Disney for $100M in 2011, has recently launched GOQii (pronounced Go-Key), a wearable fitness tracking device that will not only monitor but also guide you to reach your fitness goals with online assistance from a coach.
GOQii is already backed by a number of angel investors including Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit Nene and Bharat Vasan Co-Founder & COO of a competing product Basis. It is being told that the company which is based out in California with offices in Mumbai and Shenzhen has raised several million dollars in angel investment.
What has GOQii to offer?
At the core the wearable device is like any other fitness device with a 360 degree motion sensor to measure activities and sleeping habits. The sweat proof and water resistant wrist remains charged for 4-5 days and has custom designed hum vibration for the desired wakeup call among other things.
The activities performed by a user is tracked by a mobile app while being monitored and analysed by the GOQii coach who in turn sets goals and manages your lifestyle through the system. The band lets you interact with your coach via chat, monitor your lifestyle habits and share your progress on social media too.
Additionally, the GOQii Coach would be supported by GOQii Experts (Dr. Shriram Nene, Dr. Kendra Markle and Luke Coutinho) which is a group of health, fitness and habit experts who will help users make sense of the data and also train coaches on motivation, nutrition, fitness and habit development techniques.
The startup has also enabled an interesting mode of gratification for GOQii users while they achieve their daily targets. GOQii users will be rewarded with karma points which can be donated to a cause of their choice. Oxfam India is the karma partner for GOQii, which would connect a network of donors and recipient non-profit organizations to convert donated karma points into actual monetary donations. Besides GOQii users can also receive remote hi5 from the coach via the device when doing really well.
The device is already in the market for Indian customers and is being sold for Rs. 5999 and Rs. 9999. The price difference is for the fact that the former price comes with 6 months of GOQii coach service and the latter comes with 12 months of the service. Going further the device will be launched in Singapore, UAE, USA and UK in a phased manner.
GOQii makes the wearable fitness market interesting
The digital fitness category has grown to more than a $330 million market and it is cluttered with all kinds of fitness devices leaving very little scope to differentiate between each other. While all of them provide data, all of us are not data experts.
Talking to Re/Code, Gondal believes users don’t really know what to do with the information. After all, how many steps is the right number of steps? How many hours of sleep is adequate? What’s the right pulse rate? And what kind of progress should users aim for over time? These are the things that trainers can help answer, providing context that makes the data useful, he said.
With GOQii, Gondal has brought in the missing piece of expert human intervention that is always with you to guide. Additionally replicating the over used leaderboards and bringing the karma angle Gondal has definitely made fitness a healthier and happier experience.
Looking at the competition, Fitbit has been the leader in the space and a competitor for GOQii. However in a recent development Fitbit is voluntarily recalling the Force, a wristband fitness tracker after users complained about skin irritation, rashes and, in some cases, burns.
Moov is another player that offers a similar service like GOQii. Founded by Meng Li and Nikola Hu, Moov is a wristwatch-like hardware is the center console and it allows you to connect to four different apps for running, swimming, weight training, and cardio kickboxing. Moov gamifies working out by weaving real-time voice coaching into each activity.
While it is too early to judge the success of GOQii, it has opened up the wearable device market. In future Gondal plans to open up the platform to connect it with other third party apps in the app store.