How Runtastic Went from Software to Developing Hardware [VIDEO]

In order to create hardware, you need to be able to commit a lot of time and money; before considering going into the hardware business, this is definitely one of the top realities that you have to face. And according to Runtastic cofounder and CEO Florian Gschwandtner, having this realization is the only piece of advice he has to share for those wanting to get into the hardware business. Gschwandtner and his company has been through the experience previously when the health and fitness app company made the decision to create its own wearable device.

“We know doing hardware can be really tough,” says Gschwandtner. “You know – all those legal stuff, you need a lot of working capital, and it takes a while from manufacturing to selling the first product.”

Gschwandtner sat down with us at SXSW to share with us his story about how Runtastic went from developing software to creating a hardware device. According to him, going into hardware is a risky business, but certain conditions allowed them to make the push into hardware. Noticing the trend into wearable devices, the company made a strategic decision to push forth with their own fitness wearable. But he doesn’t think they would have been able to accomplish that without already finding enough success in the software industry. For Runtastic, making enough revenue was essential before going straight into hardware. And once they felt they were in the right place, they were lucky enough to have found a good partner in the hardware industry who already had twenty years of experience in hardware, allowing them to easily navigate the hardware space. On top of their popular fitness apps, Runtastic now offers its own high-quality fitness hardware.

Watch our full interview with Runtastic’s Florian Gschwandtner below. Aside from discussing this transition from software to hardware, he goes into the company’s origin in sailboat tracking, offers some advice on how to enter a foreign market, and gives insight on how startups should approach partnerships.

This video series was made possible through the support of Microsoft BizSpark and TrepLife.

Every entrepreneur has a great story–and Trep Life is here to tell it. We document the grind, hustle, and payoff of building companies.

Every startup is unique and Microsoft has programs to help, no matter what stage of development your startup is in. Get three years of FREE Microsoft Azure cloud services thru BizSpark, plus software, service, and tech support. Scale your cloud with BizSpark Plus and $60k of Azure. Connect with more customers through our Custom Access Program. Sound interesting? Go to:

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Written by:
Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.
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