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Interview 2016-05-19

We operate on a strong 30 per cent conversions ratio on trials: Fitternity CEO

Mumbai-based Fitternity has the advantage of being the first mover and biggest player in the segment, which is largely unorganized and fragmented. The startup is present in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune and has the first mover advantage of bagging a gr...

We operate on a strong 30 per cent conversions ratio on trials: Fitternity CEO

The Indian fitness industry is currently pegged at $2.4 Billion and slated to grow at 25 per cent CAGR. Over 60 per cent of the industry is driven by fitness services. The potential for this segment is amplified with the focus on preventive healthcare. With over 65 million diabetics, over 75 million pre-diabetics, 30 per cent of tier I city citizens suffer with heart diseases, over 25 per cent of tier 2 city citizens are at risk of heart disease and blood pressure problems and 1 out of 6 adolescents in the country being overweight.

Mumbai-based Fitternity has the advantage of being the first mover and biggest player in the segment, which is largely unorganized and fragmented. The startup is present in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune and has the first mover advantage of bagging a great set of customers.

“We foresee an inflection point in a couple of years for adopting fitness across the country and we are poised to be the largest player in the segment,” informed Neha Motwani, CEO, Fitternity, in an exclusive conversation with WI Bureau. Here is the edited excerpt of the whole conversation:

A well funded venture

We’ve raised seed funding of $1 million from Exfinity Ventures & Saha Fund, an institutional VC fund that has industry veterans like TV Mohandas Pai and Girish Paranjpe at their helm. Our vision is to become a national name, synonymous to fitness discovery. To meet our objective, we will be looking at expand our selection to all the categories that complement fitness. We are already working with Healthy Tiffin services and Healthy Food manufacturers to give our users choice to remain on healthy diet. We intend to explore other segments like fitness options for frequent travelers, pay-as-you-go models to encourage users to explore fitness on a broader level to find their match, wellness retreats and experiences, adding a broader selection of dietitians and nutritionists.

Challenges faced

Startups are riddled with challenges. Mainly because the good ones try to solve a problem and fill gap that exists in the industry. Our journey wasn’t different. When we launched our beta website early in 2014, there wasn’t a single startup model in the space. While, today there are over 45 startups operating in the same segment. Some decided to follow our business model, while others have brought ClassPass model to India. And, there are 4-5 startups springing up every month, since the environment has become favourable for new entrants in the space.

Hence, competition does seem to be the first challenge. This has been overcome by our continuous efforts to innovate and deliver unique service propositions. We have the largest selection of fitness services in the country and are being able to deliver the best coverage for a customer in the vicinity. This coupled with Fitness Concierge provides tailored solutions to customers, making us the most relevant service available. And, lastly our network of integrated service providers gives the customer the best prices with great offers.

The biggest and perhaps classic challenge we faced as fitness aggregator is balancing demand (fitness consumers seeking fitness) and supply (fitness service providers). We have been able to address this challenge effectively and have been able to find the right balance by giving customers great options in their vicinity and Q connecting suppliers to new customers. We are now moving on to scaling this model effectively across markets.

By virtue of being a dynamic tech startup, some common challenges we faced includes recruiting and building a high performing team across different locations, along with dynamically adding verticals within our business model and constantly running experiments on new business lines while keeping track of current growth and progress. We have been able to attract great talent by virtue of being the biggest player in the segment and the funding received is a great testament to the promise our platform holds.

Visionary category

Our vision is to become a national name and get synonymous to discovering fitness or following a fit lifestyle. To meet this objective, we will be looking at expand our selection to all the categories that complement fitness. We are already working with Healthy Tiffin services and Healthy Food manufacturers to give our users a choice to stay on course with the fitness journey. We intend to explore other segments like fitness options for frequent travelers, pay-as-you-go models, to encourage users to explore fitness on a broader level, to find their match, wellness retreats and experiences and adding a broader selection of dietitians and nutritionists.

Potential competitor in wellness space

The fact that we have the largest selection of fitness services (Over 8500 and counting), the best coverage of gyms and studios in a user’s vicinity, and a fantastic fitness concierge that helps users make their fitness journey easier, takes us towards the first step to a fit lifestyle. A fit lifestyle in turn is the first step for wellness. This makes us a brand that users associate with, both fitness and wellness (inclusive of the other services offered by us).

Revenue

It’s been a great journey so far. Our business has quadrupled in the last 6 months with monthly unique visitors, transactions and sales of fitness memberships growing at 30 per cent every month. Over 100,000 users have booked trials and purchased memberships through Fitternity across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune. We operate on a strong 30 per cent conversions ratio on trials, thereby, generating great value for service providers. Engagement/repeat rate is going strong at 25 per cent, where users access Fitternity to engage with service providers, discover other fitness services like MMA and Kickboxing, functional training, healthy tiffins, kids fitness, healthy snacks and beverages. We are planning to venture into more cities in the next 3-6 months. Currently, our operations are in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune. We are looking to add Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai in the list. Our free mobile app is also available across iOS and Android app stores, which will enable users to book workout sessions in a 'pay-per-use' format where users will now be able to combine different forms of workout in their routine and not miss their workouts if they’re travelling to a city we’re present in.

Online presence

Our free mobile app is also available across iOS and Android app stores, which will enable users to book workout sessions in a 'pay-per-use' format where users will now be able to combine different forms of workout in their routine and not miss their workouts, if they’re travelling to a city we’re present in.

Future expansion plans

We are planning to venture into more cities in the next 3-6 months. Currently our operations are in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune. We are looking to add Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai in the list.

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