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Shaping up: Ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo launching fitness startup

Costolo hopes to break into the crowded field of fitness tech. He's also joining a venture capital firm.

Ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is launching a fitness startup and is becoming a partner at Index Ventures.

Photo by James Martin/CNET

Dick Costolo has a new year's resolution: launch a fitness startup.

The former Twitter CEO tweeted (of course) Tuesday that he's jumping into the fitness tech sphere with a company focused on making fitness fun. Costolo is starting the venture with Bryan Oki, co-founder and CEO at Fitify, a wellness consulting firm,

Of course, Costolo faces a lot of competition, from the likes of Apple, Google, Fitbit, Jawbone, Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. It begs the question: Is there more the tech industry can offer that we don't already have?

Just because there's a lot of competition doesn't mean Costolo can't succeed. Many of the world's top tech products and services started out as latecomers, such as Google with its Android mobile operating system.

The larger question is whether Costolo is the man to do it. He left Twitter in July after years of unsuccessfully struggling to expand the number of people regularly using the social networking service. He seemed to know the problem -- that the platform was hard to use and felt off-putting to newcomers -- but failed to find solutions quick enough to appease his critics in tech and on Wall Street.

Although he is entering a "risky space" in tech fitness, Costolo's overall experience could still prove valuable, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau.

"Having sort of a name brand can be important, especially if (Costolo) can bring in investors and employees into the new venture," he said.

Costolo also tweeted that he is joining venture capital firm Index Ventures as a partner. The VC firm has offices in San Francisco and London and has invested in several companies including music-streaming service SoundCloud and e-commerce site Etsy.

Costolo did not respond to a request for further comment, and Index Ventures declined to comment.

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