Today, we are excited to share that RunKeeper, the leading active fitness mobile app, will now go beyond the tracking of daily workouts to enable users to monitor and track their passive activity levels all day long.
Breeze, a free download for your iPhone released today, tracks your daily activity, much like a Fitbit or Nike+ FuelBand, but built right into your iPhone and without the need for expensive new devices. This video will give you a sense of how Breeze could fit into your daily life.
Since Revolution Ventures first invested in RunKeeper in 2011, there has been a boom in measuring, tracking, and reporting of personal health and fitness data that has spread beyond tracking speed and distance. People now measure far more than just their morning run – they track their steps, their sleep, their calories, their weight, and many other functions 24/7 through devices such as Jawbone UP24, Fitbit Flex, Nike+ FuelBand SE, Polar Loop, Striiv Play, the Withings Pulse, and many more.
And the investment community has noticed. When we invested in RunKeeper the space was nascent. That’s changed. According to CB Insights, last year alone, investors put $458 million into 49 wearable company deals, which is more than a 150% increase in deal growth and an 80% increase in funding levels, year-over-year.
Most of that investment has gone into device manufacturers. While we think there will always be a role for specialized devices, we believe that much of this functionality will ultimately end up not as hardware, but as software on your mobile device, allowing innovation to be on pace with faster mobile device innovation cycles, not slower specialized hardware cycles. Many of these purpose-built devices will migrate to become sensors feeding our mobile devices, eliminating the need to carry around additional hardware.
Think about it – we have seen this movie many times before and it ends the same way: better software on your mobile device displacing expensive purpose-built hardware:
2008 – GPS: Remember five years ago when separate GPS devices were the hottest gift, with the $800 (!!) Garmin Nuvi topping the must-have Christmas lists? With the integration of GPS into the smartphone, navigation moved from the realm of hardware to software. Free, real-time GPS tracking is now standard on virtually all smartphones, and Waze has demonstrated why free software on a powerful mobile device is hard to beat. That’s why Google bought them for nearly $1 billion, enhancing the search giant’s free navigation offerings, and making our daily commutes more bearable.
2011 – VIDEO: How about when the Flip Video Camcorder was the hot gift? Shortly after Flip was purchased by Cisco for nearly $600 million, the iPhone added a “free” video camera, great video became a feature of your phone, and Flip was shut down, yet another victim of hardware being displaced by the mobile device.
2014 – PASSIVE ACTIVITY TRACKING: The iPhone 5s now has built in technology that allows it to be a world-class activity tracker. Just as the addition of GPS and a video camera transformed those hardware businesses, Apple’s new M7 chip, coupled with great software, has the potential to make passive activity tracking far better for consumers. We believe that Breeze, which leverages the M7 chip in unique ways, is a great example of this. Why carry an extra activity tracker, when the phone that’s already in your pocket does it better?
This is not to say phones will have everything integrated in them; there will always we a role for specialized sensors such as Square (credit card reader), Pebble (convenient screen), Withings SmartScales (wifi scale), Kinsa (smart thermometer), and various heart rate monitors.
But, in general, we believe that, even in the instance of these specialized devices, the mobile device will be the central brain of the system, tying together disparate data and multiple applications into a convenient, centralized view for the consumer. We have already seen this with Nike announcing, just last week, the integration of Nike Fuel Points with RunKeeper and with Apple’s Healthbook in iOS 8.
We believe that the announcement of Breeze by RunKeeper represents the natural migration of sensor technology being integrated into our daily lives without the use of additional devices. Using best-of-breed technology, Breeze will provide a great experience in the most convenient way by leveraging a device you already carry with you everywhere you go.