SoftBank leads $360m funding round in Chinese workout app Keep at $2b valuation

SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund led a $360 million funding round in the startup behind China’s most popular workout app Keep, as coronavirus-driven gym closures prompt more users to exercise in their homes.

Beijing Calories Technology Co. said its Series F round also drew investment from Hillhouse Capital, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Keep is now valued at about $2 billion after the investment and is weighing an initial public offering as soon as this year, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

Coatue Management, GGV Capital, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, 5Y Capital and Jeneration Capital also participated in the latest funding round, the company added.

A representative for Keep declined to comment on the valuation, adding the company has no IPO plans for now.

Founded in 2014, Keep provides customized exercise sessions and instruction to about 300 million registered users. It has average monthly active users of 38 million. In addition to designing tailored indoor workout plans, the app offers fitness equipment and weight-conscious snacks for sale, according to its website.

The company released its own home exercise bike in 2019, entering the indoor cycling sector which has become an investors’ darling during the pandemic. Competitors include the KKR & Co.-backed virtual reality cycling software startup Zwift Inc., and larger rival Peloton Interactive Inc., whose shares surged more than 400% last year.

The fitness industry in China is booming, and the market for fitness clubs and studios is estimated to have exceeded 73.8 billion yuan ($11.4 billion) in 2020, up from 28.6 billion yuan in 2015, according to an industry report by Statista.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.