Failed Kickstarter start-up rebounds with the help from an ice hockey star

FitWood, a Finnish company making Scandinavian-style fitness equipment for home use, learned from its failed Kickstarter and made its equity crowdfunding campaign a success with help from a professional hockey player.

 Failed Kickstarter start-up rebounds with the help from an ice hockey star

Fitness equipment or coffee table?

From ab belts to stationary bikes, home fitness equipment has been a booming industry for decades. The biggest problem, however, is that they take up a lot of space, add to clutter and usually looks out of place at home, according to Finnish start-up, Fitwood.

FitWood wants to solve this problem by adding a dash of classic Scandinavian design. “We do to fitness equipment what Apple did to mobile devices: make them look great and be easy to use every day,” says FitWood CEO and founder Matias Kukkonen.

The focus on products’ visual appeal and on the growing trends of bodyweight training and sustainable design seem like a great fit for crowdfunding. Therefore, to boost its marketing and sales, FitWood kicked off a Kickstarter campaign in January of this year. However, the campaign did not succeed.

“We got our butt kicked,” says Kukkonen. “We were not prepared. Frankly speaking, our experience is that you shouldn’t start a crowdfunding campaign before you have commitments from investors in advance. Without that, the campaign might not get a good start and then the crowds may not have the courage to jump in. With this experience under our belts, we turned to equity funding with Invesdor, and our equity campaign reached its minimum goal in its second week.”

FitWood’s successful first week was driven in part by an investment from professional ice hockey player Aleksander “Sasha” Barkov. In addition to investing, Barkov has his own signature product line with FitWood.

“First of all, we love FitWood’s approach to combining design and fitness – their products keep you fit and fit your home. Bodyweight training is a growing trend in fitness, largely because it’s easy to practice with simple equipment. FitWood taps into that trend with product lines that make it even easier to do bodyweight training at home,” says Mikko Savolainen, communications manager at Invesdor. “Second, their experience with crowdfunding really shows: it is definitely beneficial to try and fail once, because the next time you will succeed.”

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