Ex-Flipkart commerce head & Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal backs fitness startup Cult


Flipkart's former commerce platform head and Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal has invested an undisclosed amount of money in Bangalore-based Cult Fitness Pvt Ltd, a fitness startup that offers training programmes that do not require the use of equipment.

Investor interest in the healthcare and fitness space has been rising, with a number of startups including LiveNutriFit, FitCircle and Fitso raising funds in the last few months.


Cult Fitness co-founder Rishabh Telang told Techcircle.in that the funds will be used to expand operations, open fitness centres and strengthen the technology backbone.

The investment by Bansal is a reaffirmation of his entrepreneurial plunge around the theme of healthcare, fitness and sports. Recently, Bansal along with Ankit Nagori, former chief business officer of Flipkart, had announced their intention to start a new venture in the healthcare, sports and fitness space. The duo have pooled in about $5 million for this venture. The yet-to-launch Bangalore-based venture will launch two brands—one for sports and fitness and the other for healthcare.

Bansal and Nagori had quit Flipkart in February this year, barely a month after a top-level reshuffle in the e-commerce firm. Bansal had joined Flipkart nearly two years back after the e-commerce firm acquired Myntra.


Launched in November 2015 by Telang and Deepak Poduval, Cult focuses on equipment-free training programmes. The startup offers a mix of high-intensity interval training modules that combine martial arts training, speed and agility training and combat sports training. The trainers include former boxers, rugby players, MMA experts and Muay-thai trainers with national and international experience. Fitness programmes are customised, based on the needs and requirements of the individual customer.


"We started this venture to offer consumers an option of providing sustainable fitness. Currently, fitness is a vague term and understood in a short-term sense of the word. We are talking about being fit for life here," said Telang.


An MBA alumnus from Pune based BIMM, Telang worked at Wipro Technologies and Reckitt Benckiser prior to this venture. Co-founder Poduval – who is also his brother-in-law -- is an MBA alumnus from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies and has worked with Wipro Technologies, Hexaware and Polaris, prior to this venture.

Cult, which has only one centre currently, hopes to open two more training centres by the end of this year and is looking to expand beyond Bangalore by early 2017. The startup, which has more than 250 customers, offers its fitness training programmes for an annual package of Rs 48,000.

Telang claims Cult Fitness has been profitable from day one and the company is looking to raise more external funding in the next few months. However, he refused to divulge details.


In February this year, LiveNutriFit HeathTech Pvt Ltd, an online preventive healthcare startup that provides weight loss-related coaching, raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Omaxe CEO Mohit Goel, Magppie Retail MD Vinod Jain and a clutch of angel investors.

In January, Fitso, a social networking app that connects users with fitness-related interests, secured $200,000 (around Rs 1.3 crore) in angel funding from former CTO of Grofers Varun Khurana, Jugnoo CEO Samar Singla and Wildcraft CFO Vinay Bansal.

In the same month, Zywie Ventures Pvt Ltd, which runs well-being assessment and group fitness platform FitCircle, raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from Webaroo co-founder Beerud Sheth and angel investor Ravi Mantha.


Also, Jodhpur based Qriyo, an online venture that connects users with freelance fitness and learning instructors, raised $160,000 in seed funding from UAE-based early stage VC firm Idein Ventures.

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