There’s an interesting social aspect to Fitbit. You’ve found users with one or more friends on the FitBit app take 27 percent more steps a day than those without friends?
There’s a peer pressure and there’s also a competitive aspect. Every additional friend you had, adds so many additional steps per day, up to a certain number of friends.
There’s a lot of buzz about the Apple Watch. How do you differentiate yourself?
I think the more important thing for any emerging category is consumer awareness. That’s the biggest barrier to success. Anyone — especially a large company — comes in and is able to raise the level of consumer awareness. It’s great for everybody.
In the particular case of Apple we play in very different segments of the market. They have $350 plus devices, it’s limited to iOS. Our strategy has been always about a wide range of devices at different price points. Our devices are from $59 to $250. We support over 150 different mobile devices, not just iOS. That includes Android devices, Windows phone. We’ve had a lot of focus on wearability and battery life of our devices. Even with some of our more advanced devices they typically last anywhere from five days to several weeks vs. a lot of our competitors who I think, you read all the press it’s maybe a day, maybe less who knows?
So battery life for you is a differentiating quality?
If you think about a wearable is it something that consumers really want to charge every day? I think that’s pretty onerous.
How do you see Fitbit evolving? What’s your road ahead?
I think there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on the software experience. Right now I think we do a great job of tracking a lot of different data from consumers. Whether it’s your steps or your calories burned or sleep quality or more recently your heart rate. One of the ways we’re showing what we can do with the data is we just bought a company called FitStar that delivers really personalized video workouts that utilize your data. You have workouts that are lead by [former NFL player] Tony Gonzalez. You can tell him ‘Hey this is too hard, this is too easy,’ and he’ll dynamically adjust the workout.
Can you tell me more about how you see the software experience evolving?
There’s a lot of great data that’s beneficial to the consumer that’s being collected so I think there’s a lot of opportunity to run analytics on that data at some point and get people deeper insights about their health and their daily lifestyle. It’s really hard to talk about specifics today, but I think that’s going to be one of the exciting growth areas for us in the future.
Any interest in adding new sensors or tracking things such as blood sugar?
Some are probably going to be much further out, but we do a lot of research in sensors. Our latest products have continuous heart rate monitoring on the wrist and that was the result of three years of R&D effort by our team. I can’t really comment on future stuff that we’re doing. You can obviously tell there’s going to be a trend of more advanced sensors that you can package in a consumer-friendly way.
What’s the typical replacement cycle for Fitbit devices that users should expect?
I think it’s too early for us to say just because this whole category is pretty new and all of us are just starting to see the data on consumer behavior on this topic.
Are you profitable right now?
We can’t comment on financial matters but I’m pretty happy with how the company is doing. In terms of funding we’ve raised about $66.5 million to date and that’s been sufficient to get us where we are.