Nexercise, a D.C.-based technology fitness company, scored the largest tech startup funding in the history of the ABC television show Shark Tank.
Co-founders, CEO Ben Young (Black Enterprise’s 2015 Techpreneur of the Year) and COO Gregory Coleman negotiated a deal with ‘shark’ Mark Cuban at 1.5 million for 10% stake in their company.
The winning pitch was with Nexercise’s latest product; an interactive fitness app called Sworkit. The app offers customizable and randomized workouts.
The pair appeared on last Friday’s episode (link). In an interview with Black Enterprise, Coleman said appearing on the show was “awesome.”
“When you first get into the process you don’t get your hopes up high. Then we made it to the next round.” He said the experience was also “surreal” since both he and Young have been fans of the show since it first aired.
“We knew we were going in with an aggressive pitch but believed that we had the business to back it up,” Coleman said. “We are looking forward to working with [Cuban] and learning from him while together helping Sworkit become the leading platform people turn to fitness.”
Young agrees that Cuban’s investment will help give Sworkit the resources to double their team and migrate from a leading app to a leading platform.
“Our mission is to become the leading global standard for all instructional exercise,” said Sworkit CEO Ben Young. “The exposure from Shark Tank will allow us to reach even more users.”
Even before the airing of the episode, Sworkit—which stands for “simply work it”—had over 10 million downloads and is ranked as a top health and fitness app.
Sworkit was released in 2014. It delivers on-demand, video exercise programs that can be done anytime and place. The app received the DC TechDay Techie Award for Best in Health Tech in 2014 and a recent University of Florida fitness research study recently scored Sworkit highest when compared to other fitness apps on the market.
The Shark Tank success is of particular benefit to the two self-professed Silicon Valley “outsiders.”
“[We’re not] in Silicon Valley, we are D.C.-based,” said Coleman. “We look like a Silicon Valley company. Over the years, we always looked for other ways to kind of go out and figure out a unique path to success. We don’t necessarily fit the patterns. We are a little older—both in our early 40s; two African American guys, and we are on the East Coast. We have kind of an outsider sort of angle.”
Editors’ Note: Article updated to reflect that the Nexercise deal is the largest TECH deal in the shows history and the third overall deal in the history of ABC’s “Shark Time” broadcast.