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Exclusive: Ex Goldman Sachs banker raises £450K for AI-driven fitness app

Auro, an app which has built an AI-driven fitness coach, has closed its second seed funding round, bringing its total raise to £450K since the company launched in 2017.

The startup was founded by ex Goldman Sachs banker Anta Pattabiraman, and is now backed by European tech entrepreneurs including the founders of Zoopla, LoveFilm and Passion Capital.

Auro offers personalised workouts – referred to as a “personal trainer in your ear”. The workouts are created using content from experienced world class instructors, creating motivating playlists and using data science.

The aim is to build AI that learns and adapts based on activity level so users may achieve and exceed their fitness goals. CEO Anta Pattabiraman explained this further: “When you add all of the elements a PT brings including proven programming of the type you find in the top boutique studios in London, with curated music playlists, data driven personalisation and a vibrant fitness community you can be a part of, you have an engaging, personalised fitness solution in an app.”

This funding will be used to develop the product and its AI capabilities and grow the team.  

India-born entrepreneur and angel investor Pattabiraman was inspired to create an affordable personal trainer after a PT helped him to get back in shape after suffering from a sports related injury. “There are 9.7 million gym members in the UK, yet only a quarter of a million use personal trainers because of the cost,” he said. “Without personalised instruction, most people get demotivated and don’t make the most of their gym membership/ fitness schedule. I fundamentally believed that this could be changed. I wanted to make personalised instruction available to one and all.”

The gym industry is a strong one,with a recent report by Deloitte stating that the European fitness market is currently worth £24bn, whilst other research shows that having a personal trainer to guide and motivate you improves the chances of achieving one’s fitness goals by 73%.

Pattabiraman went on to explain how Auro is filling a gap in the market: “The fit-tech space has really started to take off in the last 18 months or so, with many new innovative products hitting the market. We are focusing on personalising workouts to suit every individual using technology.

“We are building a platform for the future where the intensity and duration of the classes will adapt to the user in just the same way as a great PT would adapt fitness programmes individually for their client,” he added.

But how does Auro differ from other online fitness providers? Auro is portable and app-based, with workouts dedicated to gym based or outdoor activities and exercises. The intention is to mimic the energy of a group gym class.

Investor, founder and CEO of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman explained why he thinks the company is unique: “Having looked at the virtual fitness space closely for a few years, I believe Auro has come out with a unique product that offers consumers personalised instruction and variety at a compelling price point without the need for expensive hardware,” he said. 

Auro offers a basic £8 per month subscription model, and is completely audio based.  

Simon Franks, investor and co-founder of LoveFilm, concluded: “I am really happy to support Auro on their journey. This investment reflects our belief in the management team and also our continued interest in the intersection between health, fitness and technology.”