Jake Steinfeld is a fitness legend. The New York native made his Body By Jake brand a household name in the 1980s and subsequently built a business empire around projects like FitTV (later sold to News Corp.) and MajorLeague Lacrosse. Then, of course, there are his omnipresent infomercials. Another one of his ventures: FitOrbit, an online service to match individual exercisers with personal trainers through an e-dating-like algorithm scored a $2 million investment round in late 2011 and deals with Jenny Craig and Perez Hilton.
FitOrbit entered into a promotional agreement with Perez Hilton’s FitPerez that includes a mix of health and celebrity news; FitOrbit also teamed up with Jenny Craig for a new service, MyJenny Fit, which offers Jenny Craig members access to personal trainers and a specialized meal/exercise tracking website similar to competitors FitDay and SparkPeople. MyJenny Fit members pay $72 month for the service, which includes unlimited trainer access, with costs dropping to $40 monthly with a six-month subscription. Hilton also filmed a video extolling the virtues of FitOrbit.
Subscriptions to the FitOrbit service itself cost $80 monthly on a month-by-month basis, with fees dropping to the same $40 monthly price point with a six-month subscription. Members gain unlimited access to a remote personal trainer, who develops custom exercise and fitness plans based on the user’s goals and preferences. Once a plan is in place, subscribers have 24/7 access to the trainer–the idea is for subscribers to exercise at home or outdoors, attracting customers who may be intimidated by gyms.
In an interview, Steinfeld told Co.Create that “[FitOrbit] really connects to consumers, some of whom would rather not go to the gym in front of lots of people. You’re the strongest you can be at home, where you’re king or queen of the castle. Technology’s at the right place for a service like this right now, and the web can be very personal. People are brutally honest on the web. The best part about FitOrbit is that members constantly get information and motivation from a real-life trainer; if the trainer is there, we’ll have success.”
FitOrbit currently employs approximately 230 personal trainers across the United States, with 150 more awaiting approval. Trainers are found through the American College of Sports Medicine and other sources. Steinfeld’s investors in FitOrbit include AOL’s Tim Armstrong, Ronald Conway of Baseline Ventures, and the $980 million Boston VC fund Spark Capital (Tumblr, Twitter). FitOrbit is looking to raise a B-round of investment in coming months; Spark invested $2 million in FitOrbit in October 2011. The site is expected to launch a new iPhone app in May 2012 as well.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the business relationship between FitOrbit and FitPerez.