Behind the Raise with MAGIC AI

MAGIC AI, the UK’s first AI personal trainer, is on a mission to combat obesity through its innovative fitness platform. Founded in 2021, the company utilises cutting-edge holographic technology and a wall mirror to create an immersive fitness experience at home.

In our latest Behind The Raise interview, co-founder Varun Bhanot shares his personal journey from being overweight to a transformative training experience, which inspired him to democratise personalised training. 

He discusses the problem MAGIC AI aims to solve, its appeal to investors, celebrity endorsement, and valuable tips for raising investment. Varun also reveals how he discovered a close-to-home connection in the AIN database.

Tell us about MAGIC AI, and how you came up with the idea?

In my early 20s, I became very overweight. I had developed too much of a fondness for kebabs and whisky and I realised I needed a change. So I went through a personal training experience in London. In about four months, I lost around 25% body fat and got into great shape, something I had never achieved before. 

But like so many, I was never into the gym, finding it intimidating and not knowing what to do. During this process, I noticed how old-fashioned personal training was, with a trainer manually counting reps on a clipboard, and I thought of democratising access to personalised training at home. That’s when the idea of using AI and hardware to recreate the one-on-one personal training experience was born. We started building on this idea, and that’s how MAGIC AI took shape.

What is the problem you are looking to solve?

Our mission is to tackle obesity and its associated costs, which amount to around £7bn a year in England. We aim to help people lead healthier, fitter, and longer lives, backed by scientific evidence of the benefits of personalised training. 

Our goal is to provide this one-on-one personalised experience, only affordable to some, and make it accessible to everyone. Traditional personal training in London can be costly, ranging from £40 to £100 per hour, limiting accessibility to one person at a time and requiring physical presence.

Our technology changes that by enabling the entire household to train together at a fraction of the cost, around £38 per month. This makes our solution more affordable for one month, than a single hour with a personal trainer.

What attracted investors to your company?

The AI aspect of our company is particularly interesting to investors. We utilise computer vision technologies similar to those found in self-driving cars to understand people’s movements and actions in space. Few companies worldwide are excelling in this intersection of AI, health coaching, and fitness training, making our approach unique and intriguing.

Additionally, the connected fitness market in the UK and Europe is relatively nascent, with only a few strong players like Peloton. Our presence in this space, coupled with the potential for innovative offerings, has attracted interest.

Finally, we have the privilege of working with renowned athletes who are on the platform from cricketing legend Sir Alastair Cook and Strictly’s Katya Jones.
Using AI to make it feel like these athletes are coaching users in their living rooms is a compelling proposition that helped jumpstart interest from investors.

Why did you choose to raise via Angel investment Network?

Firstly I’d had a relationship with AIN from my previous company. Given it was our first round of funding, it was the natural place to go. 

As an aside, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my parents had invested in a few companies through AIN over the years. The reason I found out? They were on the newsletter to receive updates about exciting companies raising. This clearly highlights AIN’s extensive reach and a strong network, exactly what it says on the tin!

The Angel Investment Network has proven to be an excellent platform for raising funds, and I have personally recommended it to at least five other founders who have found it helpful as well.

What would be your top tip for anyone raising for the first time?

Ensure all your assets are prepared and readily available. Have your deck, data room, financial model, market resources, and team neatly organised and accessible. 

This front-loading of assets will impress potential investors and enable you to respond promptly when they reach out. Be prepared and ready to act.

How do you see AI impacting on your business and product offering in the future?

In the future, we see AI continuing to have a significant impact on our business. We’d like to go deeper into becoming a personalised health coach, looking at the granular details of individual health goals and generating tailor-made programs. 

By leveraging data from wearables and other sources, our system would be able to continuously iterate. Then we can start to build a 3D picture of how you’re progressing.

We also see a future where we expand our AI capabilities to cover diverse modalities like yoga, dance, boxing, and pilates, catering to various user preferences and needs. Currently, such AI-based instructions are scarce in these areas, making it a compelling and promising direction to explore.

If you’re looking for an angel investor to help fund your business, then the Angel Investment Network can help. Sign up to pitch your business to investors all over the world