India's gaming pioneer develops wearable fitness device

Vishal Gondal made a packet for himself and started a revolution with his company Indiagames. Now, he wants to repeat that feat with a wearable fitness product.

What do you do if you have sold your pioneering gaming company in India for $100 million to Walt Disney and are relegated to the role of uber-manager? Why, relive the glory days of building another hot idea out, of course.

GOQii, a wearable fitness device.

That's what Vishal Gondal, one of the pioneers behind gaming in India via his company Indiagames has done, by jumpstarting what could be a hot product company — a rarity here — in the fitness and health space.

This article reported that Gondal has started GOQii (pronounced "go-key"), which makes a fitness band that accumulates data from all of your health-related activities, which a personal coach then digests in order to give you a customized training regimen via real-time text or audio-visual chats. Gondal, a fitness freak, apparently went through his fair share of accessories, which he ended up using primarily for the data they spat out. He would then go to his personal trainer, who would decipher this information and devise a personal training regimen for Gondal.

Vishal Gondal

The idea has apparently caught the imagination of a wide array of luminaries in business and entertainment, from Steve Luczo (Seagate chairman) to Amit Singhal (senior VP, Google), Mike McNamara (CEO, Flextronics), and legendary Indian film actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene. Dixit-Nene's surgeon husband Dr Shriram Nene has also parachuted into the venture as its chief medical officer.

GoQii aspires to be a truly global operation. Its hardware has apparently been designed in California and Mumbai, the software being coded in Mumbai while the manufacturing of the bands is taking place in China.

According to this article, only Indians can currently get their hands on this product for Rs 5,999 ($97, with 6 months of free service from personal trainers) and Rs 9,999 ($161, with 12 months of service). However, it will be rolled out to many other parts of the world, including Singapore, the UK, and the US, by the end of the year.

As the article went on to explain, GoQii will get a run for its money by the leader in the wireless activity tracker universe, Fitbit, which evidently has a similar business plan.