Image | Fitbit
It sold more than four million smart wristbands in the first quarter of 2015 with sales across the globe. Now Fitbit has made history as the first wearables company to go public.
This IPO has many implications, not only for this company started by James Park and Eric Friedman, but also across the entire field of mHealth in all its capacities. The mobile health market has matured and is now preparing for further growth on the stock market.
Fitbit has undergone a journey full of spectacular figures with the occasional slip to get to where they are today. The California company was founded in 2007 with a belief in the potential of using sensors in mobile devices. Indeed, the founders’ vision allowed them to drum up significant funding with just a prototype consisting of a circuit in a wooden box.
Over time, this prototype ended up becoming a revolutionary wearable: a wristband able to measure and record the health data generated by the physical activity of the users who can then share the information.
They didn’t need to do much more to prove they were on to a good idea. By 2008, Fitbit put its first product on the market and the results more than pleasantly surprised its creators. Though they had only expected to receive between 5 and 50 orders for their first activity tracker, they managed to secure 2,000 orders — in just one day.
After that, Fitbit took off at full speed and in 2009 launched their first activity tracker with a new model planned for sale in 2011. From that moment up until the present day Fitbit has sold more than 20 million devices of varying models and has sold the lion’s share of this type of tracking device: Fitbit has more than 70% of the market share.
Image | Fitbit
Along the road they encountered problems with one model that caused its users skin irritation and also faced the eternal dilemma of privacy with respect to the data generated during exercise. They have also failed to curb the successful activities of other companies and face some tough competition: in addition to the other companies that manufacture similar devices, Fitbit is now competing with giants like Apple and Samsung that are threatening total domination of the sector.
To counteract the effects of technological giants, Fitbit is once again looking towards the horizon and seeking to revolutionize the world of mHealth. This was voiced by Park in an interview with Time magazine where he pointed to the future of Fitbit being reliant on clinical research: the company plans include making revolutionary devices capable of providing “light” medical diagnosis.
Fitbit has grown and is moving forward: They are now looking to the stock market for the necessary funding that will enable the jump towards a new era of mHealth. The fitness trackers of tomorrow will continue measuring heart rate, steps, distance and other parameters produced by physical activity, however they intend to go a step further and monitor our health much more closely. Including the health of those who will attend major events such as the Mobile World Congress; just ask Fitbit or Garmin.