A start-up in action: Fit for Business & changing the world of fitness
July 9, 2014
What do a group of entrepreneurial Australians, the fitness craze, a $14 billion per annum industry, technology and a great idea all have in common? Two words: start-up idea. Read on....
We have all heard the stories of success when it comes to entrepreneurship such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates or Richard Branson and Michael Dell but we often only unpack the journey at its end not at its beginning or as they have gone through the process of building their businesses – of course, there are wonderful insights and lessons to be learnt from these stories but here at EntreHub (because we like disrupting convention) we wanted to take a different path.
Over the course of the next four weeks we are going to follow a new startup and a group of entrepreneurs as they prepare for one of the biggest pitches of their lives. We will take a look at the journey so far, what the business had been founded on, what have been the challenges to date and what challenges remain, how they see the opportunity unfold, how they have tapped into emerging market trends and (importantly) where to from here.
It is our hope that their experiences will provide insights to other startups as they get going and illicit insights from those who read this series around how they can respond to both challenges and opportunities. You cannot get more “live” than this is the business unfolds. Where will they be making the pitch that could change their lives? The Idea World Fitness Convention being held in Anaheim, California between the 13th – 17th of August and who will be attending? More than 12,000 fitness professionals across 360 sessions, 180 presenters and 300 exhibitors.
So, who are they and what is the back story so far?
First up a couple of simple facts about the business:
Product: smart device App targeted at the health and fitness professional sector
Estimate market value / spend: $14 billion per annum
Co-Founder: Al Teo, software developer and project management specialist
Number of Start-ups so far: three
Business location: Byron Bay, Australia
Market focus: North America, Australia, Europe
You can follow their journey HERE but lets get going with more of the back story shall we?
What is the product and where did you get the idea? we sat down with Founder Al Teo from PT Central Pro (Fit for Business) to get the low down!
“I was up early one morning having a cup of coffee when I looked across to the park and so all of these crazy people running around doing exercises at the command of a pretty angry looking instructor! I just thought they were crazy so I headed off to my early morning meeting. A couple of days go past and I’m out early again and see the same thing happening – crazy people, angry looking instructor. Anyway this was going on for about a week until one morning a lady pretty much quit and came over to order a coffee. I asked her what was going on and she basically told me that instead of going to the gym she opted for the fast fitness track but couldn’t do it anymore because it was just too much. We got to know each other and started chatting about the local gym I go to. A few weeks later we’re at the same place ordering coffee and she says to me “you know that guy over the road isn’t even a certified gym instructor?” She was pretty angry because she wonders if there was any professional scope to the madness fitness regime he was putting everyone through.”
“About a month later I was down in Sydney and I was walking up to a meeting. I had to cross three parks to get there and in each park I saw the same thing going on – people out early trying to get their fitness fix at a park and I wondered how many people had experienced the same sort of thing as my new friend in Byron. So, I did some more research and collected a lot of anecdotal stories of the same thing. That’s when I knew there was a problem so I put my IT hat on and wondered how can I solve it?”
“After a lot of market research and work I came up with the general concept of developing Apps that enable consumers and accredited professionals to all connect in a seamless way – so you can trust that the person who is giving you advice on health and fitness has the credentials to do so – it’s kind of like the need to always get the right financial advice from an accredited professionals because it’s very much about two certainties in life – death and taxes! You want a fitness professional who can help you avoid death for as long as possible and you want a financial advisor who can help you make money!”
Some of the initial take away bites of learning we can take from where Al’s idea came from is the fact that he saw what appeared to be a problem and went about looking at how it could be solved. The problem being, unaccredited fitness people plying a trade outside of the view of accredited and professional standards. The solution, using the fact that a number of us now live a good portion of our lives on smart devices such as iPhones and Samsung Galaxies that we may as well have access to Apps that give us information at the push of a button.
So in a few sentences or less – what does the business do?
“We bring business & technology know-how to industries that are lagging in technology advancement. The health & wellness consumer industry is worth $16b but the investment into professional development is minuscule. We address this problem through enterprise platform apps for that have been ignored by tech developers.”
“Just as we wanted consumers to get on board with being able to identify accredited professionals we also wanted to develop a professional development platform recognising that a large part of the industry are also mini start-ups such as the fitness professionals I see leading groups of people in parks everywhere! They are all start-up businesses in their own right so I wanted to also see how much pain we could remain from their day by allowing them to focus on building the business while still have access to a learning platform.”
How will the product act as a potential game changer?
“Progressing the industry is the focus of our app. The key is addressing industry issues through our platform solutions, encouraging technology adoption by providing affordable management tools & engaging institutions to collaborate. When our partners say "your platform is the best I have seen in my 30yrs in the industry", we know we are taking things up a few notches above everyone else. It all comes down to cost and function - people who are starting their own businesses in this area or consumers who are being attracted them are recognising the old model of a costly gym infrastructure is not the way to go. The cost of operation is way high – so we are not causing the market disruption of people getting fit in their local communities and parks, we are merely saying – we see the market trend as a game changer so here is something that can support you all as a portion of the market transitions.”
What have been your biggest barriers so far to getting things up and running?
“Capital investment. Particularly for under-represented industries that desperately require technological innovation, not another copy-app that does the same thing differently.”
What gaps in the team do you still have?
“Being in scale-up mode, we are looking for people with skills & the drive to continue building innovative solutions in our platform. I want to share ideas and watch the team create & innovate.”
What will be the focus for the new financial year?
“Our immediate focus is the launch of the app at #ideaworld in August, working with our partners to progress the industry, scale up & raise a “Series A” round of funding.”
‘What challenges remain?
“Growing the company through new capital investment, developing worldwide partnerships and taking the industry forward with my crazy ideas.”
Check out the story as it unfolds from July through August HERE
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