Fitness coaching startup Sessions commercially launches, raises money

By Aditi Pai
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sessionsFitness coaching program Sessions has launched and raised under $1 million from SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, Blackbird and Joshua Kushner.

The company, a Rock Health alum, pairs users with coaches to improve fitness. First, users complete a diagnostic test and then after the coach is chosen, the user and coach meet to discuss a fitness plan. From there, the coach will monitor the user using fitness devices like Fitbit or Runkeeper, if the user has them. The 12-week program costs $69, $79 or $199 depending on the level of intensity.

In June, San Francisco-based Sessions started enrolling users for an 80-person randomized control trial of its coaching program at the Mayo Clinic. The company had previously completed an internal pilot at Mayo last year. The trial will track biometrics like A1C, blood pressure, and quality of life — among others. Since the trial was just beginning the team couldn't disclose too many of the details in case it might bias results.

“We started Sessions because we wanted to develop these prescriptions for lifestyle diseases,” Sessions CEO Nick Crocker told MobiHealthNews at the time. “We are also trying to deliver these programs with a level of confidence and proven efficacy that doctors will be comfortable with. So, while we are a consumer company, we are trying to validate the approach we are taking through our partnership with Mayo.”

Recently, Sessions has released some statistics about the program: members complete 130 minutes/week of exercise, programs have 80 percent adherence rates and 90 percent member completion through 12 weeks, and 94 percent of members are "Very Likely" or "Extremely Likely" to recommend Sessions to friends and family.

Because Sessions relies on behavior change strategies, the company differentiates itself from other exercise apps, but it also differentiates itself from companies that use similar strategies, like Weight Watchers or personal trainer programs.

“We know Weight Watchers works," Co-Founder Nick Crocker said in a statement. "It’s a good program, but we also know that technology is going to allow us to build something so much better. Weight loss shouldn’t require you to have to drive to a weekly meeting after work to get weighed in front of a bunch of strangers."