Lymber, Founded in Early 2016, Surprised by Mindbody’s Buyout Offer

Lymber was barely a year old when Mindbody (NASDAQ: MB) announced recently that it acquired the San Diego mobile app developer. Lymber, named as a 2017 Xconomy San Diego startup to watch, has developed a technology platform that enables mobile users to book openings in fitness and wellness classes.

“We’re basically an Expedia for fitness and wellness studios,” Lymber co-founder and CEO Doug Hecht told me by telephone after the Mindbody deal closed.

Lymber aggregates data about the real-time availability of fitness and wellness classes for its users, with about half that data coming from Mindbody, Hecht explained. “Mindbody was a partner, and we were pulling their data through our API.”

San Luis Obispo, CA-based Mindbody, which provides business management software-as-a-service to yoga studios, beauty salons, and the rest of the health and wellness industry, did not disclose terms of the deal.

Hecht said he was not looking for an early exit for Lymber, insisting that, “We weren’t looking to sell. We were in it for the long haul, and we were happy and on our normal course.

“What they realized was that what we were doing was core to their business,” Hecht said. “So it was definitely a surprise. They kind of approached it out of the blue.”

Hecht also insisted that this buyout deal will be good for San Diego’s startup community, as Mindbody plans to establish a new foothold here as part of its Lymber buyout.

Doug Hecht (Lymber image used with permission)

Doug Hecht

Mindbody has a market valuation of almost $1.1 billion, nearly 1,400 employees, and reported 2016 revenue of $139 million, about 37 percent higher than 2015. Hecht said it operates much like OpenTable or Airbnb, two San Francisco-based Web companies that Hecht described as “darlings of the Silicon Valley tech community.”

“It’s really a platform company, a B2B [business to business] software company,” Hecht said. “Mindbody works with fitness studios, salons, wellness studios, massage studios and provides their managements software systems for point of sales, scheduling, payments. They are by far the biggest company in the space.”

Lymber, which started with $1 million in seed funding from Hecht and other investors, is more focused on consumer products. The startup provides an Expedia-like pricing model for users on more than 600 studios nationwide, offering deals on hundreds of classes without monthly membership fees or restrictions. The startup uses a dynamic pricing model, so Lymber’s price for joining a Yoga class or stationary bike workout depends on such variables as time of day and user demand.

As part of the deal, Hecht said he has agreed to stay on as Mindbody’s senior vice president of consumer products. The Lymber team will remain in San Diego, and will take the lead in developing Mindbody’s consumer business.

Under Mindbody, Hecht said he anticipates the Lymber staff will grow from eight employees to 25 by the end of this year, and to 40 by the end of next year.

Mindbody said deep integration of Lymber’s software into the Mindbody platform will begin immediately, with initial rollout expected in the second half of 2017.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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