Yesterday, the Danish paper Borsen published a story stating that Endomondo, the popular fitness tracking app with 24 million users is set to be sold to an 'International giant' (In Danish and behind a paywall) after it's board resigned ahead of an imminent announcement.
With Endomondo and their investors Seed Capital stonewalling all calls and enquiries regarding the story, I subsequently did a little digging to see if I could discover the identity of our mystery 'International giant'.
Here's what I have concluded so far.
- Our 'International Giant' really is an 'INTERNATIONAL GIANT'
When the story broke, I exchanged a few emails with the journalist behind the story to see if I could glean any extra details as to who the buyer is. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful, however Jakob did offer me this cryptic clue: 'you have to read the article closely'.
Having then read the article through carefully a further three times, and plugging it into Google Translate as well to compensate for my poor Danish, I concluded that the detail Jakob is referring to is the terminology of 'International Giant', and that he really does mean GIANT.
- Apple and Google are the best fits for that profile.
After briefly considering Facebook, Nike, Microsoft and Garmin, I decided that Apple and Google were the two 'Giants' that made the most sense. Both launched standalone applications focusing on Health and Wellness in 2014 (Google Fit and Apple Health), and both are desperate to gain a foothold over the other one in this growing lucrative market.
- Endomondo is currently integrated with Apple Health, but not Google Fit.
This feels like it should be significant, but the more I think about this the less I think it is. You could easily think of both positives and negatives for the fact there is current integration, and the same for no integration.
However, this tweet from Endomondo on November 6th is interesting, especially since we now know these talks have been going on for some time.
- This is about the user base.
The acquisition is about the user base, not the tech. The buyer is pretty much nailed on to be interested in getting 25 million users integrated to their existing solution. This also adds weight to the Google or Apple argument.
- This is going to be a BIG deal.
The paper 'in the know' Borsen published a follow up article today, using the acquisition of Whatsapp by Facebook as an example of how big user based acquisitions can be. Although they go on to say that they can't comment on whether that's a suitable example, the fact they use it surely demonstrates we are talking about something big here. It also adds further weight to the argument that we are truly talking about a giant, on a par with Facebook.
- The announcement will probably be early next week.
Initially I thought we would see an announcement yesterday afternoon but it never came. Everything has now gone quiet, and Endomondo have stated that they won't be commenting this week. Now the cat is out of the bag though, I believe that the announcement will be imminent, perhaps sooner than was originally planned, and I expect it to be early next week.
Disclaimer and conclusion
After spending the morning researching this yesterday, I went down the Google and Apple road pretty early on, and have stayed there ever since. It is possible that I have been blinkered by this and it will turn out to be someone completely different, but I can't help but think it is Google or Apple as not only do the clues lead to them, but it also makes a lot of sense strategically for them.
I will leave you with this:
I called both Google and Apple's press offices yesterday morning with this story, and while Google seemed confused and vacant when I mentioned Endomondo, Apple seemed defensive, guarded and shocked that I was calling about this.
Like I said, I could be completely barking up the wrong tree, but if I had to stick my neck out as to the buyer of Endomondo, my money would be on Apple.
UPDATE (08/01/2015 3.30 p.m)
Immediately regretting my decision to put my head above the parapet and publicly state Apple were about to buy Endomondo, I decided to look at more reasons as to why they would do such a thing in order to defend my bold (and bordering on the ridiculous) statement.
My strongest argument: The Apple Watch.
Endomondo built the most advanced fitness tracking app for Pebble and are experienced in this space.
And from MacWorld on their Apple Watch Review:
And the description of the Apple Watch's fitness tracking capabilities is remarkably similar to the app that Endomondo developed for Pebble…...
BUT, if it is indeed Endomondo's experience and talent with developing fitness Smart Watch apps that companies are interested in integrating into their own Smart Watches (and the more I think about it, the more I think this is the driver, and not their user base) then this of course also brings Google and Microsoft back into the picture, as well as Samsung.
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