The Johns Hopkins undergrads behind ShapeU are changing the name of their fitness-oriented startup to FitMango, CEO Seal-bin Han said.
Han described the name change as an effort to branch out beyond the university sphere, where the startup began by testing its platform for organizing small group classes with personal trainers at JHU’s Ralph O’Connor Recreation Center.
While “Fit” is naturally reflective of what the company does, Han said the mango was more about the feel of the company.
“When we think of the mango, it’s a tropical, but not pretentious fruit,” he said. “It’s not typical, but it’s definitely not ordinary. It has the same warm, vivid and welcoming color and feeling that we want to represent as a brand.”
Aside from the name itself , the new step off campus that the change represents is reflective of the fast growth for the startup since finishing the ETC-run AccelerateBaltimore program in the spring. A lot of that is a result of the network spearheaded by Han. Already on this third venture as a college junior, Han exemplifies a company that’s makes use of all the resources available to it, and ends up with a few extra opportunities along the way. While a handful of companies were thrilled to pitch Steve Case once during the Rise of the Rest Baltimore tour stop in September, Han got in front of the Internet legend twice — once by applying to the pitch competition and once via the startup’s connection to Hopkins.
He also remembers the little things, like calling people on their birthdays.
In about two years, Han and the company have channeled that energy into building partnerships with gyms, including the large local franchise, Brick Bodies. The company has also raised $200,000, half of which came in the form of a TEDCO Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) investment.
“They have created a unique product and built strong partnerships in their target market,” said TEDCO President Rob Rosenbaum. “With the financial support from TCF, we believe they will go far.”
Tommy Rios, who worked with Under Armour and Oakley before becoming Executive Vice President of Kevin Plank’s venture arm, Plank Industries, joined the board after Han met him at Azumi. Angel investor and Hopkins alum Paul Grossinger also recently joined the board.
With their platform that allows people to set up small group classes and link with personal trainers, Han sees ClassPass as a potential competitor. While the price for a personal trainer is lower, FitMango will be integrated into existing gym programs, rather than creating a separate subscription.
If you like a trainer at a gym, Han said, “you’re more likely to stay at a gym.”
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