Case: Selqee

logo-selqee-1280Despite of the fact that training programs are in the very core of fitness training, the tools to prescribe and deliver them are far from optimal. Strength training programs are mainly a bare list of prescribed movements without an explicit and systematic plan for personally optimized weight, repetitions and resting time. There’s no real time feedback nor analysis based on actual training session for the trainee or personal trainer. This applies even into mobile app based training programs, only exception being perhaps heart rate driven cardio training apps, which however, are not optimal for strength training. The challenge has been both receiving the training program and collection of training session feedback without requiring too much fiddle from the end user. To get best training outcome the program should be created and updated based on each actualized training performance. Selqee’s Repmax does exactly that. It’s a mobile app that allows personal trainer or trainee to set a certain goal, like gain muscle mass or increase strength endurance, after which the app creates a training program which changes in real time based on actual training performance. All this with excellent user experience.

Repmax is not just a tool for personal trainer to design and deliver personalized training programs to their customers, but also a tool for the end user to get the real time feedback based on training performance. Repmax automatically adjusts the training program during the training and allows in-depth analysis of the training performance after it.

Repmax is not just a tool for personal trainer to design and deliver personalized training programs to their customers, but also a tool for the end user to get the real time feedback based on training performance. Repmax automatically adjusts the training program during the training and allows in-depth analysis of the training performance after it.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Selqee had bulk of the Repmax-product development ready as well as a number of well know personal trainers lined up for piloting the product.

“The health apps are one of the largest segments in app business. Yet, at the same time it’s very challenging to provide real, tangible added value while keeping the user experience at the top level. Based on feedback by top personal trainers, such as Jaana Kotkansalo, we’ve succeeded here. Butterfly has been very helpful from the beginning. We value particularly their coaching type of attitude and the frank, to the point, relations with them. Also, we are pleased of their great networks and ‘been there, done that’ experience in this segment. Already prior to the investment we went through numerous discussions that helped us to clarify the idea and business model” (Juuso Nissilä, CEO of Selqee)

Butterfly invested into Selqee because of founder team with plenty of both domain and startup experience, their deep insight into sports science as well as physiology and a product idea that addresses most of the end user issues in current gym training applications. Butterfly’s investment will be used to finalize and launch the first product version, validating the end user traction and securing the first few paying customers.

Startup selection, agility, performance and trust

There has been plenty of discussion about the startup performance. One stream of such discussion relates to the selection of good startups and methods used for such selection. In my opinion there is a need for a combination of several different tools, including the heuristic analysis of the startup and its market potential, action driven cash flow models as well as portfolio risk analysis models.

Heuristic analysis should be useful because the traditional economic forecasting models cannot accurately predict the performance of a single startup due to many unknown factors in play. Action driven cash flow models help to understand the business model and market dynamics, and to identify the key metrics, customer conversion funnel as well as pin point the conversion problem areas once invested early on. From the portfolio point of view it is important to maximize the exposure to non-capped upside, i.e. positive black swans (Taleb, 2010), but limit the downside risk, both in terms of single failure, as well as interdependent systemic failure point of view. This should be great area for mathematical portfolio risk analysis models, such as the value at risk or shortfall (Goldberg, Menchero, Hayes, Mitra, 2010).

I believe that from the perspective of startup performance, however, what happens after the investment is much more important than before the investment, especially in the early stages of the startup life-cycle. In my opinion, the ‘trust’ between the venture financier and start up founders is vital. I made my thesis on the topic a few years back and formulated the ‘trust’ model in it (Risku, 2010). The model suggests that the ‘trust’ could explain the effectiveness of the relationship between venture financiers and start up founders and that the ‘trust’ could be the essential catalyst for startup performance. Behind this thinking is the premise that the ‘trust’ promotes agility. Interestingly, the recent ‘lean startup’ ideology proposed for example by Steve Blank (2007) and Eric Ries (2011) and ‘trust’ both point towards the ‘agility’.



Taleb N (2010) “The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable”

Goldberg L, Menchero J, Hayes M, Mitra I (2010) “Extreme Risk Analysis”

Risku J (2010) “Trust Ecosystem: The Foundation of Startup Performance”

Blank S (2007) “The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win”

Ries E (2011) “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses”