The valuation of China’s most popular fitness app Keep has risen to about $2 billion following a $360 million funding round, according to Chinese tech news site 36Kr.
The Series F round of funding doubled the company’s $1 billion valuation in the last round of financing in May 2020, 36Kr reported, quoting people familiar with the matter.
Keep’s owner, Beijing Calories Information Technology Co., Ltd., said the financing was led by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, drawing in further investment from Hillhouse Capital and Tencent Holdings Ltd. The company is eyeing an initial public offering as early as this year, according to Bloomberg.
Coatue Management, GGV Capital, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, 5Y Capital and Jeneration Capital also participated in the latest funding round.
In the nearly six years since its launch to the public in 2015, Keep has completed eight rounds of financing and accumulated more than $600 million, according to 36Kr.
The company provides customized online fitness programs and a social networking platform for users to post their progress and share exercise routines. It has 300 million registered users and the number of paying members has exceeded 10 million, according to the Keep’s own numbers.
Founded in 2014, the Beijing-based company gradually expanded its offline presence into fitness equipment, wearable hardware and workout apparel. It also opened its first offline gym, Keepland, in 2018 and launched its brand of treadmills and home exercise bikes in 2019.
Keep poured in efforts to optimize its virtual fitness courses in 2020, introducing videos of online fitness stars Pamela Reif and Zoey Zhou in addition to more than 1,200 self-developed programs.
It also established a livesteaming team with nearly 100 employees including program designers, personal trainers and marketing staff.
Keep plans to use the fresh cash to fuel the development of its sports equipment, upgrading products including its treadmills, wearables and weight-conscious snacks.
China’s social fitness app market boomed during the pandemic, when millions of people started to exercise at home during gym closures. Online fitness apps in the country saw users jump by 12% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, according to research institute Iresearch.