Working Out During Quarantine? Here’s How QFit Makes It Easy


By Relena Sei

The pandemic has upended lives and affected work, leisure, and personal health. Of the three, perhaps health took the worst hit. And that’s exactly what Hong Kong-based QFit aims to resolve.

Whenever Donna NguyenPhuoc had close friends quarantining in Hong Kong, she’d send them some wine, chocolate, and cheese. This care pack aimed to cheer them up during their period of isolation. But the accounts of their experiences of being cut off from the world for 21 days made her feel that she needed to do more.

Donna recounts the effects of quarantine on her friends. One continued to sleep with the lights and television on at night even after quarantine because she didn’t want to feel alone. Another refused to see or talk to anyone after a period of isolation.

“Humans are not built to be locked in a room, in a confined space for 21 days,” Donna tells Jumpstart. Donna is Managing Partner at tech investment firm Sparq Capital, and CEO of smart fitness rental platform QFit.

Managing Partner at Sparq Capital and QFit CEO Donna N.

Donna’s friends aren’t alone. One study found that quarantine during COVID-19 led to “increased risk of experiencing mental health burden,” including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and acute stress.

Further, being in quarantine means limited mobility, fewer trips to the grocery story, and sedentary locked-in lifestyles. This leads to severely limited fitness and nutrition options for people.

Based on her friends’ experiences and those of people quarantining in hotel rooms, Donna and her team started QFit. It is a smart fitness rental platform that focuses on people in quarantine. It offers fitness and wellness products from diverse brands.

The company’s aim, Donna says, is, “To be like Amazon but for rental.”

How QFit works

QFit acts as a marketplace for brands offering tech-enabled fitness and wellness solutions. It offers products on rent that include smart gym sets, smart skipping ropes, air purifiers, or smart brewing machines for herbal drinks.

Its most popular product currently is Move It’s Smart 4-in-1 Gym Set. The set comes complete with a smart personal trainer, app assistance, movement sensors and calorie tracking. The set can be rented for HK$1200 (approximately US$154) for a period of 21 days, or purchased for HK$2199 (approximately $282).

QFit is also working on a virtual mental health platform for users to access affordable mental health support.

By functioning as a rental platform that also offers purchase options, QFit gives customers a degree of flexibility to switch between routines. Customers can easily test out routines without committing to purchase equipment outright.

“It’s a highly profitable business. We rent out equipment two or three times, we get back the cost,” she says, adding that reaching break-even so rapidly makes the model sustainable as well. The company is in talks with potential partners outside of Hong Kong, including Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore, to scale.

Onwards and upwards

QFit’s purpose as a company is to expand the range of fitness and wellness options available for those in quarantine. It also enables companies to go to market with the right kind of technology.

Donna notes that her own experience in tech investing at Sparq Capital equips her to make informed decisions on what kinds of products meet both these objectives. It’s why the company is selective of what products make it onto the platform. The company even has an interview process for potential vendors. It’s what Donna believes lends the company its distinct advantage.

“Anyone can jump in and [replicate QFit’s model] very quickly, but as we know tech, we have the capability of assessing what works and what doesn’t,” Donna says.

“We actually have quite big budgets, so any direction we want to expand, we actually have the money to spend,” she says. Being well-funded allows the company to focus on running the business without worrying about its next fundraise, says Donna. “That’s a luxury, in a way,” she says.

While QFit is currently serving market demand arising out of quarantine measures, the company aims to target tourists in the future. The compact size of its products and the tech connectivity they support makes them a perfect fit for a luxury ‘fitness-as-a-service’ model for travelers staying at hotels or Airbnbs.

“[It’s] like a Nespresso machine, or a kettle. The hotels can just leave QFit fitness gears in the room for the guests to use, like an in-room gym,” Donna says.

During the pandemic too, if Hong Kong’s mandatory quarantine period were to reduce from the current 21 days, it would attract more tourists to the region and grow QFit’s market potential, she explains. But as it stands, the necessity for isolation measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be very real.

Worldwide vaccine roll outs arrived to collective relief and anticipation. But Asian countries are still trying to contain the pandemic. India is plunging into its second wave, lockdowns are being extended in the Philippines, and the vaccination rate in Hong Kong has dropped by 35%. 2021 is still only emerging from the shadows of the global pandemic.

Donna and her team will have their hands full for the incoming future, as the pandemic continues to place personal health management at the forefront. For companies such as QFit, that are redesigning the way personal health is approached, this opens up a world of possibilities in the present, as well as in the post-pandemic future.

For more details, please visit

Images courtesy of QFit


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email


Navigating the Growing Crisis of Space Debris

Orbital Fallout: Navigating the Growing Crisis of Space Debris

Ever since we stepped into the space age back in the 1950s, we’ve been busily sending rockets and satellites up, up and away, painting our mark way beyond our planetary borders. But here’s the thing—our ventures have left the cosmos littered with about 2,000 operational satellites and another 3,000 that are just space junk now.

Pryon Secures US$100 Million in Series B to Advance AI in Knowledge Management

Pryon Secures US$100 Million in Series B to Advance AI in Knowledge Management

Pryon Inc., a North Carolina-based company specializing in integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with knowledge management, has completed a Series B investment round, raising US$100 million. The funding was led by Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology Fund (USIT), with contributions from both new and existing investors, including Aperture Venture Capital,

Amazon Launches Upgraded AI Enhanced Fire TV Sticks

Amazon Launches Upgraded AI Enhanced Fire TV Sticks

Amazon has rolled out a series of updates to its Fire TV offerings. The new features include an improved conversational voice search powered by generative AI and Fire TV Ambient Experience advancements. Among the latest hardware releases are the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Fire TV Stick 4K, incorporating the enhanced Fire TV Ambient Experience.

Interactive Learning with Augmented Reality

Interactive Learning with Augmented Reality: Applications, Benefits and Challenges

Ever wondered what it would be like if your textbooks could talk, if the illustrations in your lessons could come to life, or if you could step into history rather than just read about it? Welcome to the world of augmented reality (AR) in education! Like a magic wand, AR can turn the abstract into tangible and the mundane into extraordinary, unfolding boundless educational possibilities.

How AI Threatens Your Password Security

Unlocking the Dangers: How AI Threatens Your Password Security

You may have heard of artificial intelligence (AI) technology’s many cool capabilities, such as assisting doctors or predicting the weather. However, there is something not-so-cool we need to discuss: AI could make our passwords less safe, which is concerning.