Adidas snaps up fitness platform Runtastic for bigger push into digital health

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While plenty of people have probably never heard of Runtastic, Adidas has evidently been closely following the startup’s fortunes for some time. In fact, the sports giant has been so impressed by its output of fitness-focused apps and gadgets that it’s just acquired the business for a reported $239 million.

The deal to buy the Austria-based startup was announced by the two companies on Wednesday. For now at least, it’s expected to be business as usual for the smaller firm, which currently runs its operation out of two locations in its home country, as well as an office in San Francisco.

Runtastic has certainly been busy since forming five years ago, with its developers pumping out around 20 cross-platform fitness-related apps that’ve scored more than 120 million downloads. It also has 60 million registered users at runtastic.com.

And software clearly isn’t its only interest. Check out its well-stocked online store and you’ll discover a slew of hardware offerings, including trackers, monitors, smartphone battery cases, and even earphones.

With an increasing number of companies creating new health-focused apps and related hardware for a market worth billions of dollars annually, Adidas will be happy to have brought under its umbrella a young but well-developed firm it’s adamant is bursting with talent and ideas.

Of course, Adidas already has its own miCoach sports app and growing range of fitness-related hardware, so it’ll be interesting to see if Runtastic continues as a separate operation over the long-term, or if the teams, products, and resources are eventually combined to create a more formidable entity to beat down competitors like Under Armour, which itself acquired a couple of fitness-focused app makers just a few months ago.

Whatever the future holds, Florian Gschwandtner, Runtastic’s CEO and one of its four co-founders, is clearly delighted with the Adidas deal, describing it as “the next big step” for the startup while at the same time promising continued efforts “to build a unique product portfolio and unparalleled customer journey for our existing community members and future users.”

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