Photo: PumpUp co-founders Phil Jacobson (right) and Garrett Gottlieb have raised a $2.4-million seed round to scale their mobile fitness app.

PumpUp has landed $2.4 million in seed financing to help the popular fitness app scale to meet demand from its ever-growing online community.

The company, which is a Communitech HYPERDRIVE and University of Waterloo Velocity graduate, announced today that General Catalyst Partners in Silicon Valley is the lead investor of the round.

“The $2.4 million really gives us the resources we need to expand our team, so that we can advance our product and scale our user acquisition, and really bring our company to the next major stage,” Phil Jacobson, co-founder and President of PumpUp, told Communitech.

Aside from propelling the company forward, Jacobson looks at the round as a strategic move that takes advantage of its investors’ experience and connections.

“[It’s] from amazing investors with deep experience in the consumer-mobile landscape; specifically, with General Catalyst, who have great consumer experience with companies like SnapChat, Airbnb and Warby Parker,” he said.

Other participants in the round include Azure Capital Partners (San Francisco), Relay Ventures (Toronto and Menlo Park, Calif.) Freycinet Investments (Toronto) and several angel investors.

The now Toronto-based PumpUp plans to use the funds to hire top Canadian and Silicon Valley talent, and double its team of five to 10. Its social app combines photo sharing and fitness tracking, allowing users to share content around their personal fitness goals, progress, healthy meals, mental health and more.

Although capital is one of the biggest obstacles for Canadian tech companies, and most of the round was raised stateside, Jacobson was quick to credit the early support PumpUp received at home.

“We had a variety of angel investors from Canada who have all helped to add value to our business, and who we’re really excited to have as partners,” he said, emphasizing that  PumpUp sought backing from Valley-based investors because of their success in consumer-mobile products.

Funding from the Canadian Digital Media Network helped the startup get their foot in the door, Jacobson added.

“We got into the CDMN Soft Landing Program, allowing us to go to the Valley to start a lot of these conversations and start building these relationships, which ended up paying off,” he said.

Since being accepted into HYPERDRIVE’s accelerator program in early 2013, PumpUp has made great strides and tweaks to its business model, and now has 1.7 million users and growing.

“The resources we got, the lessons we learned and the network we built from Waterloo, Velocity and HYPERDRIVE was invaluable to bring us to where we are today, so we are grateful for that 100 per cent,” Jacobson said of his experience in Waterloo Region.

And with angel investors from Waterloo and a new office in Toronto, he looks at the two areas, separated by 100 kilometres of highway, “as one ecosystem.”

“For everybody to succeed together and for the ecosystem to become really strong, powerful and widespread, we need Toronto and Waterloo to work together even nicer than what they already do,” Jacobson said. “And I definitely think that there is a lot of opportunity around that, but we are starting to see those ties being tied tighter, which is really exciting for us.”