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Wireless Fitness- Portable Fitness Studio
by Startacus Admin
At one of our recent Startacus Tech Startup Social Events in Clerkenwell, we had the pleasure of meeting the team behind Wireless Fitness, which styles itself as a ‘portable exercise studio’- nice!
It is an app which allows fitness instructors to run music based classes anywhere, without disturbing people in the local vicinity, by transmitting live from their own phone to those taking part in the class!
We caught up with the team, to find out a bit more about this innovative use of mobile technology, and to pick their brains about some of ins-and-outs of creating and maintaining a tech startup centred on a mobile app.
First up, pitch us Wireless Fitness - what is it and who is it for?
Our FitFones Apps allows fitness instructors to run their classes in any location, without disturbing anyone nearby, as their voice and music is broadcast live and in realtime from their phone, to the phones of their participants. As the Apps work over 3G/4G and wifi, it also means that instructors can now also run their classes remotely, with their class members listening in, and joining in, at home.
The size of the fitness industry is huge, so an obvious question, especially as your App is currently free to download, how are you going to monetise the business?
We’re free now while we’re at MVP stage – the Apps do what we set out to do (stream music and voice from one phone to multiple devices) – while we grow a sympathetic user base (ie. They recognise we’re in our infancy). The next stage is the monetisable features. It costs us every time someone streams their music and voice, so we have a subscription model on the way, based on number of streams each month. Built into these premium Apps will also be a class search function, to drive traffic to the classes; a payment and accounting platform to make running a business easier and messaging facility.
Tell us about you guys - how are you getting on in terms of developing a management team and structure to take the business forward?
Dom and I met when Dom gave me my first job as a personal trainer. I then saw him on the tube and ambushed him, and we’ve been friends ever since. The business grew organically, and in spite of our plans for global domination, we essentially started as a part time business. Over the last three years we’ve raised investment, put a board of advisors together, sourced business mentors and generally continuously whipped the company into shape. We have clearly defined roles which ensures things don’t get missed or overlooked and better still, we like the roles we have and what that means we do, day-to-day.
In terms of taking the idea and making it a reality, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
We always had plans for the Apps when we started the company, but three years ago, smartphone penetration and 3G coverage simply wasn’t good enough for the Apps to makes sense; so we had to patiently wait until we could go for it. The other main challenge has been education. The original Wireless Fitness product (transmitter and wireless headphones) introduced music to the world of outdoor fitness, so while Bootcamps could now have music and Zumba classes could now be run in the park, we had to continually explain and push why this was such a good idea – the Apps are just a continuation of that concept.
Funding? How have you found the process of raising capital to develop Wireless Fitness?
Relatively easy at first, thanks to kind friends and family; this helped us buy stock originally and develop the brand. When it came to the Apps we had a few lean months, but then fortuitously were introduced to an Angel who likes to invest pre-product, so with his money were able to build the MVP we now have on the App store. Our appearance on Dragon’s Den in January certainly helped to raise our profile, however we go through phases of scaling up and down what we need to raise, and this stage, meeting with bigger players, is – as everyone says – the long game.
What's next for the business and where do you want to be in one years time?
An Android version is in the works; this will mean full regular classes can take place, not just special ones for iPhone users only. Within the next year, we need the monetisable features live, with a core base of instructors who use and love the Apps. Our referral scheme will also be in place by then, so we’d be thrilled to be welcoming referred instructors to the Apps. We also have big plans for remote classes – we can now host curated workouts by brands, who can extend their reach into our users homes and daily lives. We also want a set of international users, as we put the Apps lives in different, key markets.
This is your 'Oscars' moment! What three people, places or spaces would you like to thank for their help to date?
Definitely Pearl, our very first investor who gave us the capital to kick-start the company. Without that, we couldn’t have bought our first stock and secured our first customers, who are still with us now… Speaking of which, Swift Fitness need a mention. They saw the potential for adding music to their outdoor Bootcamps and are still running large Wireless Fitness classes in Clapham today. Finally, Hassle.com, the amazing online cleaning company, especially Jules and Alex, two of the founders. We rented space in their first office, and they provided invaluable support, advice and inspiration.
Thanks for the chat and good luck with the project!