Netpulse to make treadmills more interactive

Netpulse, the San Francisco, Calif.-based media platform and data services company, recently announced it has raised $15.6 million in Series C funding to make new software that will make running on treadmills even more interactive.
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Netpulse is looking to improve fitness technology with a recent $15.6 million investment.

The San Francisco, Calif.-based media platform and data services company -- famous for its interactive outdoor landscape videos moving at the speed of the excercise equipment -- raised the money through a Series C round of funding led by August Capital, annouced Monday.

Bryan Arp, Netpulse’s co-founder and CEO, told SNEWS the funding would be used primarily for new staff to help develop software to continue its work of making exercise more personalized and interactive for consumers who purchase equipment from any one of its eight fitness manufacturer partners. Also, the company has added David Marquardt, co-founder of August Capital, to its board of directors. 

Arp said the company has already hired 15 new employees, but declined to disclose how many more it plans to hire. The funding, led by August Capital, included investors Javelin Venture Partners, DFJ Frontier and Parkview Ventures.

Netpulse's interactive programs also give users the ability to store data and recall it, no matter what Netpulse-compatible machine they are using.

“Consumers are using connectivity to improve and personalize experiences every day and their exercise experience should be no different,” Marquardt said in a news release. “Netpulse, through its extendable cloud-based platform and exclusive partnerships with top equipment manufacturers, is uniquely positioned to become the media and data backbone for exercise equipment worldwide.”

Netpulse has partnered with eight fitness manufacturers, including Life Fitness and Johnson Health Tech, of which account for more than 75 percent of the global fitness equipment sales to health clubs. Plus, it’s partnership with Johnson Health Tech brings its interactive technology to home equipment, but instead of having an embedded screen, the treadmill can be hooked up to a person’s television to experience their workout on the big screen.

Part of the experience of running on a Netpulse-equipped treadmill includes running through Virtual Active runs like Yosemite National Park and parts of Europe. When the landscape becomes rocky and uphill, the treadmill increases its grade accordingly.

Also, the company’s iPad app, which is available on iTunes, allows consumers to have that interactive workout using their iPad on any treadmill, even those not Netpulse-compatible. The way it works is the iPad picks up the vibrations of the treadmill, and like its counterpart that’s embedded into Netpulse compatible equipment, it shows a workout through famous courses and can look like you’re going faster or slower based on the speed of the treadmill.

Up next, Arp said, is an interactive platform that will allow consumers using Netpulse-compatible equipment to play games with, and compete against, one another no matter where they are in the world. 

“We want to build this media platform for the commercial environment and home environment,” Arp said, “and connect all of these wherever people are exercising.”

Arp said having Marquardt on the board of directors from August Capital would be beneficial to Netpulse.

“We have close partnerships with manufacturers and [Marquardt] was one of the original funders and board members of Microsoft,” Arp said. He explained that Microsoft worked in similar ways, forging partnerships with computer companies like IBM and Hewlett-Packard. “[Marquardt] has a great experience bringing technology to market and working with partners.” 

Plus, Arp said, August Capital has funded successful ventures like Skype. “We’re excited to have their expertise because we’re in a graphic growth mode right now,” Arp said. “[Marquardt] knows how to help navigate that.”

--Ana Trujillo

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