Startups

How Fitato Aims to be the Umbrella Brand for All Niche Fitness Facilities in the Country

Fitato

Fitato as an idea was started in October 2014 by two college kids, myself Karan Murada & Aditya Srivastava. It took us 11 months of multiple pivots, understanding of the markets, convincing of parents & 8 interns, one of them who joined us as the co-founder now (Pawani Khandelwal), to launch Fitato.

Fitato lets users access 100s of Gyms & Fitness studios in the city – all through a single membership. It gives one the flexibility to workout anytime and indulge in various activities all around the city, be it near their house or their office. We want you to dance your way to fitness with Zumba, get flexible with Yoga, learn self-defense with Martial Arts, get high on rock climbing, do laps in a pool or pump iron at the Gym of your choice all through ONE single membership.

Operating in Pune for the past 8 months, Fitato has 250 partners onboard and over 1000 paid users and is operationally profitable.

The Market

The fitness market is very vast and the scope of disruption is huge, and they are clear indicators for the same across all industries, right from cooking oil to our very own Prime Minister promoting Yoga.

After the massive success of ClassPass, a global competition in the same space, a lot of Indian startups boom with ideas not very different from each other. Over the course of this year, we saw most of our competition either pivoting or shutting down and a few achieving little success now. We understood that global ideas can be replicated in India but the execution here, especially the fitness industry is an entirely different game, which is where the challenge lies. Exhausting cash is not the solution or mechanism to create a market. Fitato is all set to get deep into those challenges and work out a sustainable and value generating business.

Challenges We Faced

Fitato is in constant process of providing the right value to both the user & the partners and getting the model right, before ramping up expansion to other cities. A lot of aspects have been worked upon in the model such as providing unlimited sessions to a user rather than restricting the number of times he can go to a particular facility, focusing on uplifting niche facilities rather than branded chains, optimizing our customer acquisition strategies and using numerous growth hacks right from a father’s day fitness hamper to a 9,000 member Facebook group, proximity & convenience  playing an important role & at last  ensuring the finances are put to right use to reach operational profitability within 3 months of our launch.

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What We Offer

A single membership to access the best gyms & and fitness studios without having to pay extra for anywhere else.

We have an android mobile app on the consumer side attend he/she has 1000s of fitness activities to choose from everyday after activating the monthly subscription. On the partner side, we have a web & and mobile app for them to keep a track & manage the bookings.

Vision and the Way Forward

Fitato has received a seed round of $80,000 last year and has been recently selected for the FbStart program, an initiative by Facebook for early stage mobile startups to build and grow their apps and access $40,000 worth of credits and services from Facebook and its partners.

Talwalkars, the largest gym chain in the country launched in 1932 and currently has 156 branches across the world. Fitato has 236 fitness access centers in Pune itself. We aim to be the umbrella brand for all niche facilities in the country. If you want to start your own Yoga class on your office terrace tomorrow or any fitness class for that matter, all you have to do is register the class on Fitato and the customer & revenue inflow will begin from day 1. On the consumer’s side, Fitato wants to  have the largest array of fitness activities, providing users with ultimate flexibility through a single membership.

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The Lessons Learnt

Starting up is tough and besides all the media hype, the ups & downs in this journey are tough but there are certain instances that reclaim your faith on why you started. We had a Fitato member with a three-year-old son whose motherhood had lead her to take a backseat in fitness. She joined us as a medium of fun things to do. Within a month, she particularly liked Zumba and now she is a licensed Zumba instructor and has her own class on Fitato.

We are nowhere close to our end goal. The major problem in India, is the people hesitance to fitness. The burger at Burger King or a beer at High Spirits is more tempting and definitely a more fruitful use of their disposable income and people fail to realize that fitness is an activity of joy, it can go hand in hand. You don’t necessarily need to sacrifice. Fitato is here to make fitness fun for you, to make it an activity of the day you look forward to, rather than dragging yourself to.

The day we can make India get out of that rut, just get out, move, run up the stairs, dance a little, explore, take a dip in the pool or live their dream of boxing like Rocky Balboa and experience the same joy you did as a child on the playground, is the day we will feel Fitato is successful. Till then, Let’s be there for each other and make a strong community, because this is a challenge for the nation.

In the end

This is my contact information. If you have any doubts, feedback, suggestions, want to have a brainstorming session or just require a partner for working out. Cheers.

Karan Murada – murada@fitato.fit


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