Chinese social fitness app Keep has raised $80 million in a Series E, reportedly gaining unicorn status after the funding round.

Why it matters: The capital raise signals investor confidence in China’s social fitness app market, which boomed during the Covid-19 self-isolation period when millions were confined indoors.

  • During a capital shortfall in late 2019, Keep had fallen onto hard times and in October reportedly laid off up to 15% of its staff.
  • China’s online fitness apps saw user numbers jump 12% year on year in the first quarter of 2020, a report from research institute Iresearch showed.

Details: Jeneration Capital Management led the round with participation from returning investors including GGV Capital, Tencent, Morningside Venture Capital, and Bertelsmann Asia Investments, according to Chinese media reports.

  • The new capital will go toward the development of a comprehensive sports solution that integrates various businesses under its belt from content generation and workout community management to hardware, according to the reports.
  • The Iresearch report showed Keep leading the pack in user base growth, which jumped 23.2% year on year in Q1. Users accessed the service through 18.1 million devices per month for an average of 20.4 minutes per day.

Context: Beijing-based Keep, founded in 2014, started as a mobile fitness community that provided online fitness training programs.

  • The company gradually expanded its offline presence into fitness equipment, wearable hardware, and workout apparel. In 2018, it opened first offline gym, Keepland, and then launched sales for its own treadmill and stationary bike.
  • The company says that it has over 200 million registered users and more than 3.6 billion user exercise data entries at present.
  • The company’s most recent $126 million Series D was received in July 2018 from a consortium led by Goldman Sachs with the participation of Tencent, GGV Capital, and Morningside Venture Capital.
  • The company competes with workout apps including Yuedongquan and Xiaomi Sports.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.