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Fitness App Aaptiv Reached $20 Million In Revenue In Two Years -- And Just Raised Even More

Aaptiv CEO Ethan Agarwal hopes his fitness app Aaptiv is fad-proof.

If Ethan Agarwal gets his way, joggers will go for runs with virtual help that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. “Because we know about you, we know how fast you run,” says Agarwal, the CEO of Aaptiv, a fitness-tracking app. To illustrate the point, he imagines a user approaching a hill on one of Aaptiv’s programmed runs. Thirty yards out, the trainer guiding the runner on her workout warns of the upcoming incline. “Last time you did this slope, you did it at a 10 minute mile pace,” the voice says as the beat of accompanying music slows. “Can we do better?”

What makes Agarwal’s scenario so challenging: there’d be no live trainer on the other end – not even a pre-taped script. Instead, the startup founder wants to personalize digital fitness classes using data – and the power of an algorithm. Splice together pre-recorded bits fast and smoothly enough, Agarwal believes, and the user shouldn’t be able to tell any difference. To an Aaptiv user on a jog, it’ll seem like the startup has a virtual trainer hovering right there. Nothing remotely like it exists in the market today, the entrepreneur says. He wants Aaptiv to offer it by late 2018. “Doing this right will be really, really hard,” he says. “But we’re working on it now. It’ll come sooner than you think.”

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