In April 2018, Fiit was born. After almost 1 year of dreaming, prototyping, fundraising, hiring, office squatting and interviewing hundreds of customers — myself, Dan and Sammi’s dream of making exercise a habit for everybody started to become a reality. With the launch of a minimum viable product (MVP) in the App Store, we could finally test the waters — and see if customers agreed that interactive fitness classes would shape the future of fitness.
My journey fitness started 20 years ago when I worked as a fitness instructor at my local leisure centre (with the sole purpose of funding a 6 month trip in S.E Asia). What I didn’t realise back then was I was witnessing the failings of ‘the local gym’. They’re expensive. They can be very intimidating for many people. Only a small percentage of members attended regularly (which is just as well given all their members would never fit). And whilst January was peak season, most people lost motivation by 1st Feb!
Later in my career, having spent the majority of my time in technology at Google and my last venture Qubit, I also couldn’t understand why fitness was so far behind other sectors when it came to digital adoption. There must be a better way (I thought) of turning fitness from a “chore” to a “healthy addiction” for the masses; and not just the small minority that love their weekly fitness routine.
Our hypothesis was simple; current solutions in the fitness industry are not serving the consumer. With £500M a year wasted in unused gym memberships, the average gym goer only visiting 12 times a year and 98% of fitness apps being deleted within a month.
The solution; combine the best of fitness and technology — ‘FitTech’— to deliver a consumer experience that is both hyper convenient and super motivating….. In-turn breaking down the two major barriers that make fitness habitual.
Since the launch, our journey hasn’t come without its challenges. Building a fitness brand in a very crowded market, educating our ‘target customer’ on what ‘interactive fitness’ actually is and hiring top talent as a start-up in a very competitive London tech scene, are aspects of our business we continue to wrestle with. But with 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience already under our belts as a founding team at start-ups like Qubit – It’s a bit easier second time round.
On March 23rd the UK went into lockdown and COVID-19 changed the game. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for a seismic shift in consumer behaviour like the one we saw in the fitness sector — where home exercise and running have become the primary forms of exercise. And this will replace the $100BN gym industry for the foreseeable future. As the founder of a business who is very much part of the solution surrounding COVID-19, it’s certainly been a rollercoaster and our team has never felt a bigger sense of purpose and duty to society — which I’m immensely proud of.
Although I fear the worst is yet to come in terms of the impact COVID-19 will have on society, I believe there will be many positives that come out of “a new normal”. I think people will be more health conscious, live more in the present and be open to new technologies. We have taken a quantum leap, which has kick started the fitness industry into change. I’m certain we will see more innovation in the next 2 years than we have in the last 10 years and I’m excited to be part of a brand that will hopefully be shaping this industry in years to come.