How this Indian start-up is bringing fitness closer to the masses

Topics Fitness | health | Exercise

The start-up claims that it has over 500,000 monthly active users
Fitness might be a buzz word these days but working towards it is still a distant dream for many. While outdoor activities are not feasible in most Indian cities given the poor air quality and lack of facilities, the option of gym and fitness centres have their own set of issues — steep membership fees, lack of exercise options, inflexible timings, etc.

But technology is solving these issues to an extent. Several start-ups, in what is now called as the fit-tech sector are working to regularise the sector and make fitness services accessible to all. One such start-up, Fitternity, recently raised $1 million in a funding round led by Sixth Sense Ventures.

The start-up, which allows users to book sessions in gyms and fitness classes through its mobile app and website, was launched in 2013 by Jayam Vora and Neha Motwani. Other major players in this space include Growfitter, Book Your Game, Gympik, FitTicket, Fitraq, and FitPass.

Concept

Fitternity has built a tech-enabled platform combining marketplace and the subscription model for fitness services. The platform helps people discover the best of health-based destinations. It has tied up with gyms and health clubs for the purpose.

The start-up is banking a lot on its latest offering OnePass — an access pass that provides users unlimited access to its partner facilities. Its basic 15-day plan is priced at Rs 2,500.  

Explaining the revenue model, Vora, co-founder and COO, said the company follows the simple "buy and sell" formula. Fitternity buys slots from gyms and fitness centres, and sells them to its customers at a margin.

The co-founder said Fitternity is clocking $10 million in annual revenues and aims to grow 10 times to $100 million in the next 24-36 months.

Further, the company has either entered or is planning to venture into verticals such as gym-related merchandise, nutrition solutions and gym management software to diversify income streams. The company is already working with corporates to implement employee-wellbeing initiatives, by replacing reimbursements and inconvenient annual memberships with pay-per-session. The company recently announced a partnership with Aditya Birla Wellness in this regard.

The start-up claims that it has over 500,000 monthly active users and 9,100 gyms and health clubs registered on the platform.

Opportunity

The fitness marketplace in India lags other major countries as a high entry barrier has restricted a major part of the community from joining any kind of fitness regimen. The rate of fitness penetration has been historically low in India. According to a 2009 report, only 0.37 per cent of people in India had a gym or a fitness membership.

According to Vora, the fitness services market in India is worth $2.5 billion and is growing at an annual rate of 21 per cent. Given the above-said scenario and the unorganised nature of the sector, the start-ups in this sector are staring at the huge market potential.

Moreover, the government is also emphasising fitness. Programmes, such as the recently launched 'Fit India Campaign', is likely to encourage more people to take up physical activities and enrol into gyms and other services like yoga, aerobics and Zumba.

Challenges

Though a greater number of Indians are now enrolling into fitness services, achieving scale would require a lot more effort in raising awareness around health and making services more accessible. Standardisation of delivery, according to Vora, is a crucial aspect of the business. That means ensuring the same quality of service will be key, especially in creating customer stickiness.



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