Exclusive: Egypt’s ElCoach raises six-figure seed to offer personalized fitness and nutrition programs in MENA

Cairo-based fitness startup ElCoach has raised six-figure (USD) in seed funding, it told MENAbytes today, without disclosing the exact amount. The investors that took part in the round include Egypt’s Endure Capital, 500 Startups (500 Falcons), Wise Capital and some local angel investors.

Founded in 2018 by Assem Emam, Saher Hassan, and Muhammad Hazem, ElCoach is an Arabic fitness and nutrition app for the Middle East & North Africa, offering personalized body transformation programs based on individual needs.

The programs, ElCoach says are fueled by a combination of artificial intelligence and local coaches and chefs. The meal plans that it offers have local dish recommendations and are designed by keeping the food culture (esp. consumption patterns) of Arabs into consideration. The users are also guided with positive messages of support and encouragement throughout their experience.

The app uses a freemium model offering free basic fitness programs to users using a free plan but offering a ‘highly-customized’ plan to the paid users. The subscription costs less than $20 a month and provides users with holistic body transformation fitness and nutrition programs with live support from coaches and doctors. It is currently offering its paid plan for free (for a month) amid the spread of Covid-19.

Assem Emam, the co-founder of ElCoach is a fitness buff who lost over 45 kg in nine months through self-guided research and a healthy diet. And this is what inspired him to build ElCoach.

Speaking about the inspiration to start ElCoach, Assem said, “In the Middle East, digital fitness enthusiasts have been forced to settle for English-language programs and non-local meal plans. ElCoach is here to change that. It recognizes the language, cuisine, and unique needs of individuals in MENA.”

ElCoach is available for Arabic speakers all over the world but is mainly targeting the users in Egypt and Saudi. ElCoach’s apps have over 350,000 downloads and a ‘considerable number’ of paying users. The startup didn’t disclose the exact number of paying users but said they really love it, “Over 50% of them have chosen long-term subscription plans.”

The startup plans to use the investment to expand its team and accelerate its marketing efforts with a focus on the Saudi market.

“We’ll continue to develop our AI to empower users with hyper-customized fitness & dieting programs. One of our goals is to cater to all segments and their full spectrum of special preferences and continue to develop ElCoach as a tech tool that will empower users for life and guide them as they progress on their personal fitness journeys,” said Assem, speaking to MENAbytes.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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